The first draft of anything is shit.

The first draft of anything is shit-Ernest H

This is something I have to constantly tell myself when writing. Why? Because I am a painfully slow, pedantic, crazed perfectionist who can sit and obsess over a single word for hours. I cannot write a paragraph without reading over it at least three times, only then can I move on and write the next one.

I spend ages scanning the Thesaurus, determined to find a better word for almost everything I write. I reread sentences until the words no longer make sense and the sentence sounds like Russian. I read sentences out loud. I read sentences to my husband. I would read sentences to strangers if I didn’t fear being ushered off to a white padded room. I hate the idea that anything I write might be shit, or might not live up to the overly inflated standards I set for myself.

I recall one incident in particular that almost drove me nuts; I had started a new book a week ago. One that had a deadline attached to it. One that needed to find its way onto my agent and publisher’s desk at a certain date and time. But after a solid week of writing I was only 1, 943 words in, because I had probably reread and rewritten those 1, 943 words    1, 943 times. Now you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this is a huge problem, and I may indeed be in trouble if I carry on like this.  But I just can’t seem to help myself.

I’m built to obsess and fiddle. To worry and wake up in the middle of the night because I’ve thought of a better way to start a sentence. But I also know that in the long this is probably going to trip me up. It is going to wear me down and it will certainly drive me mad, not to mention everyone around me.

So to save myself from the inevitability of a straight jacket, I turned to the Internet for help, as one tends to do these days, and found some useful tips to writing your first draft.  They come from various sources and sage’s (but I do have to wonder how many of these wise people are actually authors?)

1.     Don’t edit as you write! This seemed to be the biggest consensus. Some people were even bold enough to suggest that if you aren’t able to articulate your idea properly in the moment, ‘simply put the vague idea in brackets and come back later.’ Brackets I ask you? Of all things holy in this world. (say something witty about the nature of brackets. nb, come back to this later)

2.     Don’t spend forever writing. Another very obvious one that came up often. “Sit, start where you stopped yesterday, and quit when it gets boring. The rest of the day is for the rest of your life.” What life? I thought writing was my life.

3.     “If you think of two different ways of saying something, write them both down and decide on the best one later.” As if! I thought of ten ways to say that better.

4.     “Suspend judgment when writing. Because that freedom opens you to the surprising stuff you never saw coming.” I found this one in a post by Writers Digest who are clearly not writers at all. Because if they were, they would know that it is biologically impossible for a writer to suspect judgment and self-doubt at any stage of their writing process. It just goes against our genetic make-up. A writer without judgment is clearly using strong, happy, mind-altering narcotics. (Can I get some?)

Will I try any of these? Probably not. I might obsess about not trying them though and drive myself a little madder in the process.

Some of this advice was taken directly from http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/12/how-to-write-your-books-first-draft-like-a-professional/

What you should know about dating a writer.

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A writer is a complicated and emotional being. In fact, the reclusive lesser-spotted writer might even be a completely different species. Its natural habitat is most likely a messy, notebook infested, redundant -stationary overrun office. It mainly feeds on coffee, chocolate and other sugary treats it really shouldn’t eat.  Its appearance varies slightly (depending on mood) but you will usually find it in slippers, yoga pants and other unsightly garments. Its only natural predators are itself; crippling self-doubt, insecurity and low-book esteem. It is mainly nocturnal.

So what is the first rule for dating this strange creature?  Maybe don’t date one. Why...because as pointed out above, we writers are not the people that the media portrays us as. The media has created and romanticized some strange version of us that is just downright misleading. These fantasy portrayals usually fall into two (very different I might add) categories.

  1. Hip, sexy, cool and widely glamorous Champagne-sippers. Sex and the City might as well have been a science-fiction movie and Carrie Bradshaw an alien. I haven’t worn a heel since the turn of the millennium.
  2. Dark, mysteriously intriguing and wearing carefully curated black hipster clothes and little berets while sipping expensive Merlot in the smoky corner of the club listening to a live poetry reading.

But if you do decide to date one, if you are that brave, then here are some useful little tips for dating a real writer.

  1. Yup… we’re probably going to write about you at some stage. Because we often draw from the world around us and use our own experiences as inspiration, you might just come across a character that bares a suspiciously, striking resemblance to you.
  2. We need our space. It’s nothing personal. We can be very reclusive and often need to retreat into our own made-up reality.  We write our books from this quite, imaginary place and cannot be disturbed when we’re there.
  3. We have to write that idea down… NOW! Yes, we know we’re in the middle of dinner but an idea has just struck and when one does, we have to go where it takes us. It could be the next amazing idea that catapults our book to super-stardom.
  4. Don’t tell us how hard your day at work was in a manner that implies we sat at home twiddling our thumbs and relaxing on the couch watching Netflix. Writing is real work too, and we would like you to acknowledge how draining and taxing it can be. You try sitting in a chair for 8 hours straight, forcing yourself to move through your writer’s block and figuring out how to resolve that blasted plot issue that has been plaguing you and causing you nightmares. It is emotionally draining work.
  5. We need to spend a lot of time on social media, it’s part of our job. Please know that we are not flirting with some sleazy Latino lover called Juan Pablo. We don’t necessarily like this part of our job, in fact some writers absolutely hate it. But in this day and age, it has to be done.
  6. We will over analyze your words, your tone on the phone and the way you said our name that one time. Writing dialogue all day makes us hyper aware of the way people speak. Often to our detriment.
  7. We are dramatic. WE JUST ARE, OK!?
  8. We are crazily obsessive. I think writing is one of those careers that comes with a certain level of obsession. To write books that are sometimes 100, 000 words long doesn’t just take dedication, it takes a single-minded obsessiveness that is sometimes all-consuming and irritating to others.
  9. We are not always present. We often live in our heads, creating characters, writing our books and running over scenes and dialogue. Sometimes our brains just naturally flick over to that place out of habit.
  10. Sometimes we would rather just be writing. This has nothing to do with you, but writing is not just our job, it’s also our happy place. You can’t compare it to  wanting to hang out at your office over the weekend.

But it’s not all bad. If you do decide to date, or marry a writer your life will never be dull. And I can’t speak for all of us, but when we love, we love with that same crazy obsessiveness that we put into our writing!

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

What’s in a name anyway: Can a title really make or break your book?

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I’m rather bad at coming up with names for my books, so bad in fact, that my publisher renamed two of my three books. I didn’t mind at all, because the worst names they came up with were far better than my best ones. But this got me thinking about names in general. Are book titles really that important?

But apparently they are. Whilst researching this topic I read a few disturbing things, this one in particular shall add to my overall ‘aa’ (author- anxiety). Elv Moody, Publisher at Oxford University Press Children’s Books  says ‘It’s not over-stating the case to say that a title can make or break a book.’  (And here we naive little authors thought it was all about the strength of our story, reliability and lovability of our characters and our unique voice)

So in an industry where we need to worry, and obsess about so many things already, we now have to consider that our titles could make us a bestseller, or plunge our book to the bottom of the sticky-icky slush-pile.

So I decided to investigate names, and this is what I discovered…

Firstly, I hate pretentious wanky titles that endeavor to show me how intellectually superior you are. They imply that when I (mere mortal) read this book, I am going to need to thumb through a dictionary just to understand what you, oh genius master of English words, has written for me, unenlightened barely educated culturally inept underling.

Another hate of mine would be those hipstery-names. They differ ever so slightly from the above in that the authors are not necessarily intellectually superior to their readers, they do however have a bigger Instagram following and wrote the book only to be ironic whilst sipping on Vegan coffee and listening to obscure music on vinyl. Like this pearly little gem of hipsterdom;

Eeeee Eee Eeee”   by Tao Lin”

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https://www.amazon.com/Eeeee-Eee-Eeee-Tao-Lin-ebook/dp/B004CFAZL8?ie=UTF8&keywords=Eeeee%20Eee%20Eeee%3A%20A%20Novel%2C&qid=1462436162&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

This has got to be the most hipster name that has ever been conceived of. I can  imagine the conversation prior to naming the book. “But titles are just too mainstream. Let’s not give it a title at all, let’s just give it sounds….” *author runs his fingers thoughtfully through his beard and then types away on his vintage typewriter.

But in amongst all the horror, I also found some amazing ones. One of my favorite names out there, hands down, is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5899779-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies

And I guess this proves the point. I would buy this book solely based on its title alone. I’ve come to the conclusion that my preference lies in titles that don’t take themselves too seriously. It makes me feel that the authors don’t either, and that is always the best kind of writer, one who isn’t totally up their own arse.

But this is probably my all time fave…. When will Jesus bring back the Pork Chops.

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/93453.When_Will_Jesus_Bring_the_Pork_Chops_

I would definitely read that! But what I would not read (despite its supposed brilliance)  is Love in a time of Cholera. After reading that Cholera is “an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated” I just cannot imagine love being vaguely conducive to it. There are no two things more opposite than a massive dose of diarrhea, and love.

Delving into the world of book covers even more, I also discovered these;

  1. worst-book-covers-titles-58 copyI’ll give this title one thing, you know exactly what you’re going to be reading about. But other than that, there are just so many things wrong with it. a; if you do not know how to avoid huge ships- ships that can be seen from miles away- do NOT get into a boat and sail the seas. b; this book was so important that it made it into a second edition, and finally, c; how often do huge ships collide with smaller ones? Enough that someone felt it necessary to write a book about it.

2.  And perhaps some more thought should have gone into these!

worst-book-titles-8worst-book-covers-titles-17worst-book-covers-titles-12worst-book-covers-titles-15

worst-book-covers-titles-16

3. Anything that has the phrase ‘Anally Yours’ in its title should reconsider even existing. (But more on Chuck Tingle later, I have a whole blog post planned just for him) P.s I was unaware of the unicorn’s nautical proclivities.

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4. Not only are these titles questionable, but their subject matter isn’t far behind either.

 

 

5. This author also wrote, “God Loves me, why can’t I get my locker open.”

worst-book-titles-2

 

So in conclusion, I am happy to report that I am not the only author who is bad at coming up with names.

 

Judge it!

I’m so excited to have my two final covers from my publisher, Grand Central Publishing, for the first 2 books in my series ‘The Destination Love’ Series. It’s a fun, romantic comedy series about finding love in surprising- not to mention warm, tropical and exotic– places. (As the covers suggest)

I loved the covers individually, but now that I see them together, I REALLY love them. It’s super exciting to see the series finally coming together after such a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights (months)

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 10.04.29 PM

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Million times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

 

No seriously, another blog award?

Right now you might be asking yourself 2 things;

  1. What award?

2.  And when is she going to stop using “No Seriously” in her titles?

To answer your first question, I got nominated for a Liebster award by the wonderful https://itsnotjustawritingblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/liebster-award. To be honest, since I only started blogging a week ago, I had no idea this award even existed. I didn’t even know that bloggers gave awards. But it’s all very exciting and fun.

liebster-award-nomination

YAY!

And to answer the second question- I probably should soon, it is getting a tad tedious, right?

There were some things I had to do for the Liebster Award Nomination and here they all are. But first, yesterday I gave myself some awards that I wished I had been given, so today I thought I would show you the awards that I will never be given! Ever! Not!

  1. THE “I SEE YOU” THIGH GAP AWARD- Nope, just not going to happen. The war on genetics cannot be won on a Stairmaster.i see you
  2. THE “HAPPY HOUSEWIFE AWARD”- Hell will freeze over before you catch me with a broom, a pink tank top (I don’t have the upper arms for them) and if I ever smile and jump like this, send me straight to the psych ward and a chiropractor. happy housewife
  3.  CARB FREE FOR ONE YEAR- Yeah right. carb free

So without further ado, my Q&A’s for the Liebster awards and my nominations. I hope my questions for them aren’t too corny.

lieb 1lieb 2lieb 3

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Million times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

Random Author fact #7 and #8

Just some food for thought.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 8.04.02 PM

But….

random author fact 8 0

 

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

No seriously, a blog award?

I started this blog precisely 7 days ago. I started this blog because I was getting sick of hearing about the importance of blogging, the reasons why I should be blogging and quite frankly, I was also sick of seeing other people with blogs getting free stuff! I also want free stuff God dammit!

I’m still an infant in this part of the world, so imagine my surprise when https://daisywillows.wordpress nominated me for an award. This one to be specific.

spirit

So a massive thank- you is in order. It was very unexpected! I would like to nominate The Blonde Writer for this https://blondewritemore.com . Here are my answers.

  • Write a short description about yourself and what your blog means to you. I only started blogging recently, but I love it. I find it such a great way to share your thoughts with the world in a bite-sized manner. I write books, my last one was 93, 000 words long, and I really enjoy writing short, punchy things. It makes for a good break. About me…? Always tricky to answer, but as you know, I’m an author. It’s a weird, crazy job and that’s why I decided to start writing about it. I live in South Africa, love writing on Wattpad, am obsessed with Depeche Mode and really need a holiday.
  • If you were an animal, which animal would you be? A flamingo! 100 percent. They are pink- what’s not to love. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to them. https://za.pinterest.com/JoWatsonWrites/flamingos-because-theyre-pink/

But all this nomination stuff got me thinking about awards in general. It got me thinking about all the awards I would have liked to receive, but didn’t. So I decided I would give these awards to myself and pay recognition to some of my greatest achievements.

  1. THE NO TOMBSTONE AWARD- I’m giving this to myself for making it through my teenage years alive. I was very bad. I was very naughty. I was very rebellious and consequently celebrated my 21st in rehab. Thankfully, I am good now.    tombs
  2. THE WATERMELON AWARD- I’m giving  myself this award for ‘Getting the baby out!” And I’m giving this award to every other woman who did the same. Whether you had a c-section (like me), whether you screamed the hospital down the good old fashioned way, or had an epidural. I don’t give a damn how you did it, but you did, and we all deserve awards! (Not to mention precious jewels and shiny things from our partners)Watermelon3. THE STILL FUCKING SANE AWARD- Because let’s face it, some days this hangs in the balance. still sane

So there you have it, my awards. Please feel free to download these pictures and splash yourself with some awards today too.

And please tell me what awards you would give yourself if you could?

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1