Ep. 125: Jo Whittemore – Writing What’s True To You

Jo Whittemore is the author of numerous middle-grade humor and fantasy novels. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is part of the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels. She writes from her secret lair in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her husband.

“I Can do it—-Watch”:

Why are you afraid to fail? Jo shares some lessons learned through self-teaching and pushing through early mistakes. She says that trying something you’ve never done before means you don’t know that you can fail. It’s when others tell you that you can’t do it that the fear and uncertainty creep in. YOU must decide whether or not to believe them. Sometimes you just need to say, “I CAN do it—watch!”

TWEET: Until someone says you can’t do something, you don’t realize that you may fail. @JoWhittemore

Your Inspiration:

Where does your inspiration come from? Jo says that her inspiration for writing comes mostly from the “what-ifs” that she ponders. Observing the world around you will fill you with some curiosity. Your perspective comes from your assumptions, and often the best creativity is born when things don’t happen like you expect. 

TWEET: Your perspective comes from your assumptions, and often the best #creativity is born when things don’t happen like you expect. @JoWhittemore

Dealing with Expectations:

Do you fall into the trap of trying to please everyone? You know that it’s not possible, and you drive yourself crazy when you try. Jo explains how, as a writer, she balances her creativity with her expectations and the expectations of others. Have YOUR vision of how you want things to go, and move forward from there. 

TWEET: Don’t fall into the trap of trying to please everyone. Have your vision of how you want things to go and move forward. @JoWhittemore

Guest Recommendation: ONE action for a dream-chaser to take—“Don’t set limitations for yourself. You are limitless and can do whatever you want.”


  • [3:41] Jo’s characters and choreography
  • [6:24] Jo’s dreams of writing
  • [9:00] Figuring out the steps to take
  • [14:12] Dealing with rejection as a writer
  • [15:54] Making changes according to the feedback
  • [17:58] Where the inspiration comes from
  • [23:48] How long it takes to write a book
  • [25:54] Balancing expectations from yourself and others
  • [29:34] Overcoming writer’s block
  • [34:39] Jo’s favorite literary character mash-up?
  • [36:52] Jo’s ONE action for a dream chaser


Jo’s Website

Jo on Twitter

Jo on Facebook

Jo on Instagram

The Confidentially Yours series

The Silverskin Legacy fantasy trilogy


TWEET: Don’t set #limitations for yourself because you think you can’t do something. @JoWhittemore

TWEET: Once you’ve been published, you still have problems, but they are better quality problems. @JoWhittemore

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