Thursday, 9 June 2011

Transitions - one debut author's inspiring journey. Would you do what Meagan did? Could you?

I came across this inspirational post at fellow Aussie blogger, Amie Kauffman's blog. As I had been planning to do a debut author post (here) I emailed Meagan to get permission to reprint this without any editorial from myself. I'm sure you'll find this story an inspiration and join with me in wishing Meagan Spooner every publishing success.

After you've read Meagan's story, please share yours with us...


Almost exactly one year ago, I got on a plane to fly to Australia. I had about 20,000 words of a new book, a lot of emotional baggage, and a metric ton of doubts. Not much to go on, really, but I knew I had to get moving on my dream of being a writer or I’d be waiting for something to happen to me forever.

I had quit my job the year before in order to attend an amazing six-week writing workshop. I worked part time after that, while struggling to shove my inner editor into a closet long enough for me to get words on a page. I started hating everything I’d ever written. I spent months sitting in my room, telling everyone I was working, while I stared at blank documents and fell asleep every night crying because I couldn’t make myself work. I was putting so much pressure on myself that nothing came out when I tried to write, covering up what was happening so that nobody would realize what a failure I was. Each day I felt more and more like I’d lost the spark that drove me to write when I was younger, like I had no more to offer, that there was nothing left but to give up.

But then in March of 2010 something changed. I got an idea, which wasn’t different in and of itself, except for the fact that this idea lit a fire underneath me like I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. Part of me wanted to shout, “Hang on, slow down, you’re not good enough to write this yet.” The rest of me said, “HELL WITH THAT!” I thank my lucky stars I listened to voice number two.

That idea, of course, was for THE IRON WOOD. I showed the first few chapters to my amazing and long-suffering critique partner, Amie, just praying the reaction would be better than a tactful “Well, at least you’re writing.” Instead, she blew me away by inviting me to Australia to live with her and her husband for a year in order to finish the book because she believed in it that much.

I only allowed myself to take up her offer after promising myself that I would write every day–EVERY DAY–until I finished the book.  I even woke up to write on the flight as I crossed the international date line, just to be sure. I finished the book at the beginning of July, about three and a half months after starting it. I revised. I gave it to friends to critique. I revised again. I tentatively started entering query contests. Suddenly agents wanted to see my manuscript, and I scrambled to get queries out.

In December I got my first offer of representation. By the end of the year, I signed with my wonderful agent, Josh. I revised some more. I went through a period that was difficult for reasons both creative and personal. I dragged myself out of it by rewriting the book yet again. Then Josh went out with THE IRON WOOD, and before I really knew what was going on, publishers in multiple countries wanted to buy my book.

And two weeks ago, I finally got to share with you all that I’d done what I set out to do–that I’d written, revised, queried, and sold my book.

I’m not really used to being proud of myself. But it’s been a very strange year. A wonderful year. A difficult year, too.

And tomorrow I get on the plane to go back to America. I’m going to miss Australia intensely. But I’m also really looking forward to whatever is next.

Want to know more about Meagan? Visit her beautiful blog here. Please leave me a comment then hop on over and tell her you've read about her journey. She'd love to hear from you.

It's just a matter of persistence - and a certain amount of talent. 
You just refuse to give up. 
Then, the game's not over.


  • If you'd like to read my story for Romantic Friday Writers, go here. A bit of a different romance.


Meagan Spooner said...

Thank you again for reprinting this! It seriously makes me so happy that you find it inspiring. I think some people would probably think I was really foolish! But sometimes you wake up and just KNOW something has to change.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Going to Australia for a year was a big leap of faith! Glad it paid off, Meagan.

Nas said...

Hi Denise,

Such an inspirational story. And what a gorgeous person Amie is, she helped Meagan so much.

I loved reading Meagan's story. Thanks for sharing.

Nas said...

And forgot to add...

All the best to Meagan! I would love to bring Meagan under the spotlight one of these days!

Margo Benson said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. When that inner speaks up AND we listen, magic happens. Wishing every success to Meagan.

erica and christy said...

Meagan - it is inspirational!! Yes, a bit foolish in retrospect, but hey, we can't be looking backward all the time, can we??!!

KM Nalle said...

Meagan's story is so inspiring! Thanks for posting this Denise.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Meagan, you are definitely an inspiration, I wish you lots of success with your book!

Denise Covey said...

It is great that you are inspired by Meagan. Do you have a story?


Sarah Tokeley said...

Meagan, I think your story is wonderful. Sometimes we just have to grab opportunities with both hands. It was great that you stayed with Amie and her husband, more incentive to finish the book I bet!

L'Aussie, thanks so much for posting this.

Suze said...

Meagan, sincerest congratulations. You state that you're not used to being proud of yourself but you have a lot to be proud of. I hope you start getting used to it. :)

What is a query contest?

Anonymous said...

That is such an amazing, inspiring and wonderful story - thank you for sharing

Meagan Spooner said...

Thank you everyone!

Suze--some bloggers and agents will offer contests where prizes include agent critiques of your query or even parts of your manuscript. They can be really helpful when you're aaaalmost ready to start sending out queries but not quite sure yet. For example, Miss Snark's First Victim does a regular secret agent contest featuring a broad array of agents.

Kat said...

That's such a great story!

Hope I can stop staring at blank pages

Suze said...

Meagan, thanks for taking the time to respond. I do appreciate it.

notesfromnadir said...

What an unusual story! I like the part about writing when crossing the int'l date line. I also am impressed w/ the level of dedication it took & the kind critique partner who took her in.

Sylvia Ney said...

Thank you for sharing this very moving story!