Meagan Spooner
Absolutely brilliant. This is the sci fi I’ve been waiting for! Action, romance, twists and turns–this book has it all!

Beth Revis, New York Times best-selling author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

2017-11-06T11:42:38-05:00

Beth Revis, New York Times best-selling author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Absolutely brilliant. This is the sci fi I’ve been waiting for! Action, romance, twists and turns–this book has it all!
"A literally breathtaking archaeological expedition. Spooner and Kaufman prove once again that no one does high-stakes adventure shenanigans like they do."

E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

2017-11-06T11:44:34-05:00

E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

"A literally breathtaking archaeological expedition. Spooner and Kaufman prove once again that no one does high-stakes adventure shenanigans like they do."
One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Kaufman and Spooner will break your heart with skilled aplomb, and you’ll thank them for it. Absolutely incredible! If I have to, I will come to your house and shove this book into your hands!

Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

2017-11-06T11:48:19-05:00

Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Kaufman and Spooner will break your heart with skilled aplomb, and you’ll thank them for it. Absolutely incredible! If I have to, I will come to your house and shove this book into your hands!
With rich, complex characters and a dynamic—and dangerous—new world, THESE BROKEN STARS completely transported me.

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series

2017-11-06T12:09:41-05:00

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series

With rich, complex characters and a dynamic—and dangerous—new world, THESE BROKEN STARS completely transported me.
Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don’t want to miss.

Veronica Rossi, author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY

2017-11-06T12:13:28-05:00

Veronica Rossi, author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don’t want to miss.
Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world.

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones

2017-11-27T09:17:02-05:00

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones

Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world.
With its blend of dystopian, steampunk, and generally fantastical elements, Spooner's follow up is even stronger and more gripping as the debut and is sure to ensnare further loyal readers.

Booklist (Starred Review)

2017-11-27T10:01:57-05:00

Booklist (Starred Review)

With its blend of dystopian, steampunk, and generally fantastical elements, Spooner's follow up is even stronger and more gripping as the debut and is sure to ensnare further loyal readers.
This intriguing dystopian adventure's depiction of the stand this strong female protagonist takes against the horrors of her world is fast-paced, compelling, and un-put-downable.

VOYA

2017-11-27T10:05:07-05:00

VOYA

This intriguing dystopian adventure's depiction of the stand this strong female protagonist takes against the horrors of her world is fast-paced, compelling, and un-put-downable.
Once again, the worldbuilding is superb, the characters fully fleshed out and intriguing, the battles riveting, and the edge-of-the seat suspense compelling. Teens looking for a well-written dystopian adventure with steampunk elements in the magical machines created by the Architects will enjoy spending time with Lark and her companions.

VOYA Magazine, starred review

2017-11-27T10:27:43-05:00

VOYA Magazine, starred review

Once again, the worldbuilding is superb, the characters fully fleshed out and intriguing, the battles riveting, and the edge-of-the seat suspense compelling. Teens looking for a well-written dystopian adventure with steampunk elements in the magical machines created by the Architects will enjoy spending time with Lark and her companions.
An extremely entertaining tale of past, present and future leaving the question: where does humanity stand when the best laid plans backfire?

Children's Literature

2017-11-27T10:29:04-05:00

Children's Literature

An extremely entertaining tale of past, present and future leaving the question: where does humanity stand when the best laid plans backfire?
A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.


Marie Lu

2017-11-27T15:17:04-05:00

Marie Lu

A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.
Amazing. That one word describes the whole book.

VOYA

2017-11-27T15:18:24-05:00

VOYA

Amazing. That one word describes the whole book.

Wisdomous Wednesday: Goal-setting

Wisdomous Wednesday is a weekly series of posts with advice about writing ranging from craft to navigation through the publishing world. If you have some wisdomous thoughts you’d like to share here, don’t hesitate to contact me. I love advice from other writers!

Dreams are tricky. If you never go after them, they’ll always be there as a nice security blanket, a sort of “what-if” that you can take out and admire whenever you’re feeling low. Going after them, though, means that you’re introducing the possibility of failure. And if you fail, that nice shiny dream might go kerplut, and no one wants to carry around a squashed dream. Not nearly so shiny. Writers who decide to pursue publication risk that kerplut every day, which is a pretty terrifying thing when you want something badly enough. So how do you actually go about pursuing a dream that big?

Setting goals, cheesy though it sounds, can be a helpful way to get started–or to keep yourself on track, or find your way if you get derailed. This is hardly news to anyone. I think that many of us, however, aren’t setting the right kinds of goals. So I’ve got three things that I do when I’m setting goals for myself that have really changed how I go after the things I want.

1. Own Your Goals.

The totally awesome Carrie Vaughn taught me this–the idea being that you should only set goals for yourself that YOU can control. There is so much about the publishing industry that we can’t control, like whether an agent will like your book or whether a distant marketing team thinks you’re a good investment for a publisher. Instead of letting that freak you out, try setting goals that you can accomplish all on your own, and be sure to give yourself a time frame in which to finish them.

No: “I am going to sell a book.”
Yes: “I am going to finish my novel and query thirty agents by the end of the year.”

The first one is an aspiration, not a goal. You actually have no control over whether you sell a book (however much that sucks!). But you can control how much work you put in. Figure out the steps you have to follow yourself between where you are and where you want to be.

2. Break It Down.

I get really easily overwhelmed when I have a big task in front of me. And something like “get published” is so big that for the longest time I just ignored it, vaguely hoping that if I just kept writing stories eventually someone would just show up and be like “Surprise, you’re brilliant! Here’s a book deal!” I’m like this about tasks of any kind–the bigger the task the more I procrastinate, and the more stressed I get about it. So I’ve learned to break tasks into little pieces, so I don’t scare myself.

So let’s look at our previous example, which seems simple enough until you start looking at all of the steps involved in that goal.

No: “I am going to finish my novel and query thirty agents by the end of the year.”
Yes: “Write every day.”
Yes: “Share with critique partners by the end of the month.”
Yes: “Research a dozen agents this summer.”

Don’t hesitate to make each piece as small and bite-sized as you can. If all you can manage right now is to sit down for ten minutes each day and focus on thinking about your new story idea, then do it. Just make sure you really stick to it.

3. Get Specific.

I am a total master at fooling myself. If I allow myself any leeway I’ll just sort of dither around going “Well, I looked up concept art on the internet, so that’s basically like I worked today….” I’m just as good as procrastinating now as I was in school. So when I make goals I have to get very specific, and I have to make them immediate and not give myself long, unscheduled time spans in which I have to try and stay on track.

Again, we’ll narrow down our examples one step further.

No: “Write every day.”
Yes: “Write at least 250 words of my current WIP every day until it’s finished.”
No: “Research a dozen agents this summer.”
Yes: “Research at least one new agent every week.”

 

Make sure these goals are something you can DO with your current schedule. Remember there are only 24 hours in a day. That ties in with another important thing to remember, which is to start small. The easier it is to do something, the more likely it is you’ll do it. Start with an easy task and build up momentum from there. Get a friend who will hold you accountable for your goals, at least at the beginning until you get that momentum going. It’s also important not to kill yourself if you mess up every now and then–if you miss a self-imposed deadline, don’t drown yourself in guilt, or it can overwhelm you. Just start fresh from tomorrow. It’s a new day!

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32 Responses to “Wisdomous Wednesday: Goal-setting”

  1. Great advice! I think I came to all of those over some years of writing. We can only control certain aspects of our journey. But what we can control we should do with determination and our strongest effort!

    • Meagan says:

      That’s exactly it! If only I could be so concise. 😛 Yeah, I do think that this sort of stuff just comes from the accumulated experience of doing this for long enough. And sometimes we get lucky and have someone to help us along (like I did with Carrie, who rocks). 🙂

  2. Beth Gallagher says:

    These are fabulous reminders! I’m a good testimonial to what happens when you don’t set goals and WORK to reach them. Set the goals, life happened, tragedy struck, goals got pushed to the side, now goals lay unattended and lonely in the dusty corner. Now must reinvigorate myself and relight the creative fire. That’s the hard part.

    • Meagan says:

      I think that happens to everyone. You get sidetracked, it aaaaalways happens! For me the key to picking it back up again is starting small. I really admire people who can make big resolutions and stick to them, but I just never can. I have to take baby steps!

  3. Ellen says:

    This is all good advice, and all stuff I had to learn the hard way (though I think often “the hard way” is the best way to really get something to stick with you).

    My only slight difference of opinion is with #2. I also have to break down goals into smaller tasks, but I like to have a (shorter, natch) list of the long-term goals all those short-term goals are going to add up to. When I’m missing the forest for the trees, I’ll open up my list of long-term goals and remind myself of what I’m trying to achieve when I (say) wake up early every morning to get some words down on paper (or, rather, screen).

    • Meagan says:

      I think that’s a really good point. I know when I make smaller goals I always have the bigger ones in mind–but I think you’re probably right, that laying it out concretely is a good way to stay organized about it, as well as stay motivated. So you don’t lose sight of WHY you’re getting up at god awful o’clock every day. 😛

  4. It’t important to be specific about goals. It helps to organize a step wise journey and keeps one accountable.

    • Meagan says:

      I agree. Keeping yourself accountable for your goals is really, really important–and really tough when it’s all coming from within, with no outside consequences!

  5. Amie Kaufman says:

    This is definitely an area I’ve learned from you — I say, at my netbook in Madrid punching out a chapter for you, yay goals.

    I couldn’t agree more about breaking down your goals into steps–I find them so much less intimidating when they’re just little things I know I can do, and it’s so satisfying to check them off the list! The risk of the kerplut is enough to keep you awake at night–having those little steps also makes it a little easier to sneak up on what you’re doing without your brain really noticiing!

    • Meagan says:

      I love that way of putting it. Sneaking up on your goals so your brain doesn’t notice what you’re doing. XD So true.

      Woo chapter! MUST HAVE NOW OMG.

  6. Nas says:

    Great advice. Thanks for sharing such awesome tips and advice with us all!

  7. Every word of this post is so, so wise. I’m bookmarking it to look back on when I’m feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Thanks for the great reminders, Meagan!

    • Meagan says:

      Hah! See, despite mocking myself in the title of this series, I giggle when anyone refers to me (or my advice) as wise. 😛 Still, I’m glad to help even a little!

  8. Really, really good tips, Meagan! Also, I think we’re practically the same person. So eerily similar.

  9. So the key is to make goals specific!

    • Meagan says:

      It’s definitely important for me! Otherwise I give myself too much wiggle room and I manage to fudge my way through without accomplishing what I meant to accomplish. I’m like an eight year old or something!

  10. PK Hrezo says:

    Awesome advice! I’ve found that if I keep focusing on learning more about the craft and keep writing, I don’t get so discouraged when my dream doesn’t happen right away. Like most things in life, if we keep it simple, we won’t get so frustrated. 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      That’s such a wonderful attitude. I really believe that if you can’t find joy and satisfaction in the process of writing, learning about writing, revising, etc.–then it’s just not worth it trying to be a writer, you know? You spend so much time WORKING, and there are so many avenues for disappointment if your only end-goal is a narrowly defined bar of “success.”

      Totally agree!

  11. Beth says:

    I loved this post, and I’m going to bookmark it. There’s a lot of great advice in here for writers of all levels. You’ve made me realize that a lot of what I hope for is out of my control. But I CAN make specific goals for the things I can control. Thanks!

    • Meagan says:

      I’m so glad it was helpful! This sort of thinking totally changed my life when I first learned about it. My goals were always things like “get published!” “become best seller!” but having real, concrete, specific, controllable goals makes all the difference.

  12. Talli Roland says:

    Fantastic advice! A lot of it really is about the journey, as cheesy as that sounds. You need to enjoy the process!

  13. Brendan Cousins says:

    Hey Meg,
    Great to here that you have settled into US life again (0verlord and all). This is actually pretty good advice in general for all us dithers, procrastinators and I’ll just finish this levelers.

    • Meagan says:

      BRENDAN! <3 Haha, I'll just finish this levelers indeed. (How well you know me.)

      I hope Europe is awesome, despite your cold. Sooo jealous of you guys! Miss you terribly. D:

  14. Sylvia says:

    So wonderful to meet a new author willing to share so openly with others still struggling to realize their own dreams. I found you through Denise who shared your story on L’Aussie Writing Blog. I’m now following and I look forward to reading more.

  15. Jemi Fraser says:

    Really good advice. It’s important to change from dreams to goals. They’re much more workable! 🙂

  16. Kari Marie says:

    Seems I’m always setting goals I can’t possibly achieve between work and family life. This is great advice.

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