Posted in Nanowrimo

Jobe’s Final Pre-Nano Tips

Today is the last day of October. Happy Halloween, everybody, and happy last-day-before-Nano. I’ve made sure the house is stocked with coffee and I’m caught up on homework and ahead on laundry. At the end of the day, I’ll be deleting the Facebook app off my phone for the month. What will you be doing to prepare?

In a previous post I mentioned some options, such as:
writing by hand
I’d also like to add to that list:
Tablo is having a contest where 5 nano writers can win a publishing gig. It requires sharing to the site, which I think means other people can read your words (*cue scary music!*) but I haven’t tried it yet, so you’ll have to check out the details and see what you think.

If you find yourself at a loss during November, you can always check back here at the Inklings Blog for all kinds of great tips, tricks, thoughts, encouragement, and commiseration. If that’s not enough, check out some of these great books.

Finally, I think every one of you should have the power to generate your own encouragement memes. Go on, click it, I’ll wait. See that thing where it says “upload your own images”? With a google image search and your boundless imagination brain, possibilities are sure to get interesting.

Until next time, sweet darlings.


For the Harry Potter fans.
For the MLP:FiM crowd.
For me, since I’m a big geek for Damien Echols.
Posted in Darby

Still a Virgin

Oh my gosh! It’s my first time, and it is so scary. I’m not sure if I can take on something so substantial. I’m taking about NANOWRIMO. Get your mind out of the gutter!

National Novel Writing Month is upon us, and I have never taken part before. I have, in fact, written a novel. That was over a semester, of course. This time…things are very different. Obviously, I have no tips to give as of yet. Jobe has written an amazing post filled with treasures for you all. I suggest you check it out.

As of now, I do not have a title for my new novel. I do have some notes and a general direction in which to go. There are dozens of write-ins scattered throughout the month all around LA. If you sign up at, you can see what gatherings are going to take place in your area. If you want to follow my progress, you can buddy up to me. Username: Darby Riales. I’m so creative.

I have written about how to guard against writer’s block in the past. Perhaps it might help a bit.

Taylor Hicks, Elizabeth Furrey, Darby Riales, Allison Brass, and Sarah F. Wilson at a Vortex event Winter 2013.
Taylor Hicks, Elizabeth Furrey, Darby Riales, Allison Brass, and Sarah F. Wilson at a Vortex event Winter 2013.

So, this is my first time. That doesn’t mean that it has to be painful. Let’s all try to have fun and make it as memorable as possible. If you wish to share your own personal experiences with NANOWRIMO, feel free to put that comment box to good use.

From the City of Angels…


Posted in Nanowrimo

Jobe’s Monster-Long Ultra-Helpful List of Pointers for Nano!!!


What you’re allowed to do before November 1: Title your book. Read. Jot notes. Name your characters. Think of ideas. Outline. Brainstorm. Check out the nano website. Read Chris Baty’s hilarious and helpful book, No Plot? No Problem!

What you’re not allowed to do before November 1: Generate word count. The actual writing of the 50,000 words must take place between the dates November 1 and November 30.

What you’re allowed to do during the month of November: Write, write, and write some more. Excuse yourself from normal activities like hanging out with friends and family, laundry, cooking, and bathing.

What you’re not allowed to do during the month of November: Edit. There is no crying in baseball. There is no editing in November.

So here’s the rundown.



Write. Keep writing. Never stop writing. “Write shit.” “Bad writing is better than no writing.” Quantity > Quality! Prompts and Pointers says “Start on November 1.” Write every day. Catch up on weekends if you get behind. Write more if you have extra time so you can get ahead. Galleycat suggests you try WriteorDie (my favorite!), Q10, WrittenKitten, or writing by hand. Try saving your work in one huge document or a new smaller document for each day. Every time you say yes to doing the work, you’re proving to yourself that you can.



November is an edit-free zone. Writing is an act of flowing creation. Editing is an act of cutting containment. They’re both good, but only one of them is going to get you to your word count. You have another eleven months out of the year to edit your novel. Don’t you want to have that novel written first? “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Better good today than perfect later (or never).



Form your writing habit. Same amount of time, same time each day. (Require a daily minimum of yourself but never set a maximum: one hour every day, but it’s okay to do three hours that Saturday your lunch plans get cancelled.) Try one hour every day day at 7am. Try one hour every day at 9pm. Tell yourself that it’s okay to go over the daily goal but not okay to go under. Find what works for you, then hold fast! “Put your brain in work mode.” You are honing your ability to write simply by doing the same thing at the same time every day.



When people ask you if you’re busy, you say yes! Many people don’t take writing seriously, so if you don’t feel comfortable telling them that you’re writing a novel, you have my permission to lie. You have an appointment. You already promised someone that time. You wish you could go do such-and-such with so-and-so, but you’ve got something else you’ve really got to do and you just can’t get out of it, Sorry! Because guess what. Those things are actually true–you made an appointment with yourself, a promise to yourself, and you really do have to write your novel! You owe it to you and every awesome idea you’ve ever had but never given life to. Now guess what else. If you don’t prioritize your writing, no one will. A year from now you’re not going to remember that you missed out on Girls Night. You will remember that you wrote a novel.



Choose your writing space. Make it sacred. Use this space for writing only. Don’t do anything else there. This is an internet free zone! You are training your brain to know that as soon as you’re in that space, it’s business time. Find a lamp. Find a comfortable chair. Put motivational quotes and posters all over your walls and use them as your computer backgrounds. If you have a writing totem, put that little guy on your desk. (I like to use a baby pumpkin. It’s seasonal, and cheery-bright!)



Defend your space from yourself and others. Don’t let anybody bully you out of your favorite desk or chair or couch. Don’t let your roommate pile trash there or your kids scatter lego caltrops there. Don’t let anybody, including you, clutter your writing space with nonwriting nonessentials. If you need a cup of joe, by all means, keep your favorite coffee cup on standby. But you don’t need six dirty mugs and three stinky socks. So clean it up and keep it clean. Clear surface, clear mind.



Post about it constantly on Facebook. Prompts and Pointers says: tell your parents, your friends, your cousins, your boss, your teachers, your church, your clubs, your dog. Tell your everybody! You get the idea! Tell them: Yes! Ask me how it’s going! Constantly! If you know that everybody knows that you said you’re writing a novel, chances are that peer pressure is going to help keep you on track. If you know someone else who is doing Nano too, you can be partners and encourage each other. These are all forms of accountability, and accountability is awesome! If you have $10 to spare, become a donor on Nano. You get a cool halo on your picture and you’ve just invested in yourself. That’s ten more reasons not to quit.


Focus on your Big Goal by meeting your Little Goals. The way to eat a whale is one bite at a time. Set a daily goal. Set a weekly goal. Get yourself excited about word count! Remember, you have eleven other months to edit. We are not going for quality in a first draft! We are going for ideas on the page. We are going for kernels of excellence that we can sift out of the muck later. 50,000 words in 30 days means 1666 (or 1667) words per day. Awesome happens when we least expect it and crud is part of the process, so go-go-go and keep go-go-going!


Use inexpensive treats to reward yourself for meeting smaller goals. Candy, stickers, pens, notebooks, chapstick, and so on! Different things work for different people. If you normally buy yourself a Starbuck’s coffee every day, why not tell yourself you can’t have that coffee until the daily writing is done? Trick yourself into being even more awesome. But Galleycat gives us warning from a pro: “Never reward writing with not writing. That’d be like rewarding yourself for quitting smoking by having a cigarette.” (That’s from Paul J. Sylvia! He has a PhD!) Don’t break good habits once you got ’em. If you have an extra $10, $20, or $30, check out the Nano gift shop. I like to pick out a tee shirt or poster that’s gonna be my Grand Prize if/when I win.

More Galleycat: “When you feel unmotivated, have contact with other forms of art. Draw something. Take silly pictures.  When you go back to your desk, just write.” You’ll have times throughout the month that it feels easier or harder to write. Remind yourself how far you’ve come. The Nano forums are great for distraction and motivation. You can link up with your region or genre, sign up for the emails, read pep talks from authors. Also be sure to check out tumblr. And don’t forget to stay tuned to this kickass blog.


The purpose of Nano is to prove to yourself that you can do it. That you are capable of finishing a project. That you are capable of generating words. You can put words to paper! There is no “prize” to win because the accomplishment is the prize. “If you write 50,000 words in 30 days, you have permission to feel like a winner. If you don’t, you do not have permission to feel like a loser.” (That’s from Chuck Wendig, a real live author who gets paid! To Write!) Because guess what. If you wrote 10,000 words? That’s 10,000 more than you had before you started. Nano is just the beginning.

Sources: Galleycat, Galleycat Nano-specificPrompts and Pointers, Prompts and Pointers Nano-specific here and here; WikiHow; terribleminds and terribleminds Nano-specific; Chris Baty’s awesome book NP?NP!; and yours truly.

compiling the internet, so you don’t have to           

Posted in Nanowrimo

Jobe Gears Up for November with a Nanowrimo Survival Kit List!

Hello my Lovelies, Jobe here. November is right around the corner and the countdown until November 1 and nanowrimo begins will run out before you know it. What is nanowrimo, you ask? Why, only the most exciting worldwide novel writing challenge on the planet! Learn all about it and get ready to write:

For all you locals out there, I’m teaching a totally free nanowrimo 101 workshop this Saturday 10/18/14 from 10am-12pm at the Cox Creative Center. Totally Free! No RSVP needed! Prizes! Here’s the text from the poster:

Saturday, October 18, 2014
10:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m. noon
Main Library Campus
Cox Creative Center, third floor
120 River Market Avenue
Brought to you by the Main Library Adult Nonfiction Department
• Main Library • 100 Rock Street • Little Rock, AR 72201 • 501.918.3020 •
with special guest JOBE

In the meantime, I’ll give you a little teaser, in the form of a very handy list. That’s right. I’ve scoured the internet so you don’t have to (and added my own two cents, of course) to bring you the best nanowrimo survival kit list on the planet.

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit
water, coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda
fruit, veggies, granola bars, trail mix
sweetarts, popcorn, gum, chocolate covered coffee beans
tylenol, ibuprofen, chapstick, hand lotion, hair ties
writing playlists, inspirational music, mood music
favorite notebooks, favorite pens
USB drive to back up your files
sweater, sweatshirt, blanket, comfy pants, warm socks
inspirational pictures and quotes
novelty mug
dictionary, thesaurus, baby name book
craft books, bulletin board, note cards, sticky notes
clean space
something for your hands like silly putty or slinky

Because you’re a writer. And everyone should know it.

And if you have a little time and money, don’t forget to check out the nano store.

NaNo Poster2.47 NaNoWriMoFINAL


Posted in Taylor

Echoes and Timelines

This will be a short post because I just got a new kitten that I want to go cuddle with. Her name is Echo, she can’t meow, and she’s absolutely adorable. 🙂

So, when I started thinking about what I wanted to write, I realized that I could kind of track my life by what and how often I write. For example, from the time I was like 7 to my early teen years, it was mostly poetry (rhyming), with the occasional short-story. From my early teens to around 19, I didn’t really write at all. From my time in undergrad at 19 to about four years later, I wrote a ton of poetry and short stories.

Now, though? Honestly, I’m not writing much. Sure, I’ll pen the occasional poem or come up with a cool character (I currently have one in my mind that I’m trying to develop a story for), but overall, compared to other periods of my writing, there hasn’t been much.

And I think that’s okay.

Right now, I’m focused on getting my Master’s in Counseling. But just because I’m focused more on that certainly doesn’t mean that writing isn’t still apart of my life.

As I mentioned, I currently have a new character in mind. It’s brewing in my mind, and right now, that’s all it’s doing, brewing. Maybe one day I’ll tell his story. Hey, maybe I’ll even relate it to counseling in some way, who knows? Either way, I know that writing will always be a part of my life, whether it’s center-stage, or in a quieter way.

Words are apart of me, apart of who I am.

Words have always been there for me, and they always will be.

Until next time,


Posted in Darby

It’s a Love-Hate Kinda Thing

It’s no secret that some of our greatest works of literature come from deeply felt tragedy. Everyone, no matter what walk of life s/he comes from, experiences loss, betrayal, pain, anger, and even hatred. These things make us human, but they do not define us. What defines us is how we cope with life’s obstacles. Some people paint. Some people play sports. Some people meditate. I write.

In this article, I will give my tips on how to convey personal experience into your writing without falling into a pit of despair.

Emotions are raw and powerful things. They can easily spiral out of control when you are trying to recall an intense memory for your writing. When I am about to write a tragic scene, I first recall a pleasant memory. (For Harry Potter fans, it would be like the memory you would choose for your patronus.) I keep this memory in the back of my mind while I dig up the sad one. (The sad memories are like Dementors. They can suck out your soul if you are not careful.) If I feel myself becoming too emotionally compromised, I will simply think about that pleasant memory.  It pulls back from the edge, and I am able to finish my work.

If it sounds too simple, that’s because it is. Our emotions are what make us so great at art and literature. All of our emotions, not just the tragic ones. Love, joy, companionship, just to name a few. So, when you want to go deep into the psychological realm of your character, just keep in mind that s/he should be experiencing all of the human emotions. Even if the story is centered around tragedy, there should be something uplifting in it because life isn’t all tragic. Life is what you are giving to your characters when you choose to put them on paper. The best writers cover all aspects of it.

From the City of Angels

Yours Truly,