Welcome to Inkygirl: Reading, Writing and Illustrating Children's Books (archive list here) which includes my Creating Picture Books series, Advice For Young Writers and IllustratorsWriter's and Illustrator's Guide To Twitter, interviews, my poetry for young readers, #BookADay, writing/publishing industry surveys, and 250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge. Also see my Inkygirl archives,  and comics for writers (including Keiko and Will Write For Chocolate). Also check out my Print-Ready Archives for Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.

I tweet about the craft and business of writing and illustrating at @inkyelbows. If you're interested in my art or other projects, please do visit DebbieOhi.com. Thanks for visiting! -- Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Tuesday
Jun292010

Writing Contests: Always Read The Fine Print!

I was recently encouraged to promote this "Affordable Insurance Options Essay Contest" to my readers. The website name was already setting off alarm bells in my head, but I decided to check out the rules out of curiosity.

At first glance, it may attract some writers: there's no entry fee, and the site offers cash prizes of $50, $100 and $200. However, if you read ALL the submission guidelines, it becomes clear that even if your entry about the importance of insurance coverage doesn't win, the site can use it without paying you:

All entries become the property of Affordable Insurance Options Online and we reserve the right to publish and/or distribute them as we see fit.

And you're also putting yourself on their mailing list:

Submitting an entry will also allow every applicant access to the AIOO Insurance and Investing online newsletter, which contains valuable information and tips on how to save money on insurance premiums, ensure adequate coverage, make sound investments and help your portfolio grow, and much more.

So I am going to post about their contest...as a warning to writers everywhere to ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT. Yes, there's a small chance that you may win one of the cash prizes. But if you don't, you've just handed over your writing to someone else for free. Even if your essay IS chosen as a winner, the company has to be able to reach you within 5 days, or you lose the prize (but they can still use your writing):

Accurate contact information is required for all prize winners to be notified.  If we are unable to contact any applicant within 5 days of the review process being completed, their entry will be voided and a different entry will be chosen.

It may seem obvious that serious writers should stay away from this contest, but I've already seen it recommended on at least one writing-related site.

Monday
Jun282010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

 

Haven't heard of the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge? The goal of this challenge is to help provide goal-oriented inspiration, with flexibility to avoid giving up in frustration. Please click on any of the buttons above for more info.

Every Monday, I'll post a Wordcount Challenge Check-in to see how you're all doing with your challenges. You don't have to post, of course, but I find that encouraging and receiving encouragement from others is inspiring to me as a writer.

So how did you all do this past week?



Monday
Jun282010

You're never too old to start writing

From Robert McCrum in Guardian.co.uk:

...The ruthless cut-off of 40 does not address the complex trajectory of creative growth: for every novelist or poet who explodes skywards with a first or second book, there are many who only achieve mastery as they reach the shady side of the slope. The onset of middle age, or the approach of oblivion, is perhaps as sharp a spur to literary effort as the intoxicating self-belief of youth.

Thursday
Jun242010

Writers: avoid these clichés like the plague!

(Update: link fixed -- sorry about that!)

If you want to keep your writing from sounding too predictable, read this post by Delia Cabe from Boston.com about over-used pet words, phrases and devices.

Thursday
Jun242010

How do YOU avoid getting distracted by the Internet?

Some writers are able to switch off their computers and stay off e-mail and the Web all day. Freelance writers who rely at least partly on client work for income, however, sometimes don't have this luxury. The Internet can be a wonderful resource for writers but it can also be a major timesuck.

To those who DO have to go online at least a few times a day: How do you manage your time online? Do you limit the amount of time you spend on social networking sites? What tricks and tips can you offer others? What -doesn't- work for you?

 

Wednesday
Jun232010

Cartoon Caption Challenge

Monday
Jun212010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

 

Haven't heard of the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge? The goal of this challenge is to help provide goal-oriented inspiration, with flexibility to avoid giving up in frustration. Please click on any of the buttons above for more info.

Every Monday, I'll post a Wordcount Challenge Check-in to see how you're all doing with your challenges. You don't have to post, of course, but I find that encouraging and receiving encouragement from others is inspiring to me as a writer.

So how did you all do this past week?

Sunday
Jun202010

Cartoon Caption Contest Winner: John Hewitt

Thanks to those who entered my cartoon caption contest. The winner: John Hewitt of Poewar fame. I've been a fan of John's Poewar: Writing Career Center  since its early days.

Saturday
Jun192010

Switching my blogs from Wordpress to Squarespace

Because some of you have been asking, I've started to post about my experience with switching from Wordpress to Squarespace.

Saturday
Jun192010

Still fiddling with Squarespace security settings...

Apologies if some of you encountered odd security warnings when trying to access Inkygirl lately. I'm still learning more about Squarespace settings. :-)

Friday
Jun182010

Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks to Lydia LeRoy-Williams for giving me The Versatile Blogger Award!

Here are the rules:

 

  • Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
  • Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Here are seven of the most random things about myself I could come up with:

1. I have a love-hate relationship with the squirrels in my garden.

2. I painted a tree on my office wall.

3. My first writing mentor: Lee Wardlaw Jaffurs (Lee Wardlaw back then). I will always be grateful to Lee for her encouragement and advice.

4. I don't mind spiders but despise centipedes.

5. I dislike clothes shopping.

6. I attend virtual writing sessions on Second Life (I'm "Inkygirl Omizu" on SL).

7. I have Ray Bradbury's autograph.

Next, here is my list of the fifteen outstanding blogs YOU should visit:

1. Cheryl Rainfield

2. Claudia Osmond

3. Adrienne Kress

4. Nelsa Roberto

5. Megan Crewe

6. Christina Farley

7. Jo Swartz

8. Hélène Boudreau

9. Mahtab Narsimhan

10. Marina Cohen

11. Patricia Storms

12. Author2Author

13. Okay I cheated because #12 actually has

14. five authors contributing to it

15. which is one over my limit. :-)

Friday
Jun182010

Blog Highlight: Ink Gleanings

The subtitle of Ink Gleanings is "Harvesting Tips For The Writer's Life." In each post, Katie writes about what she's reading, writing, and a thought about the writing process. You can also find Katie on Twitter at @katiereads.

Friday
Jun182010

Cartoon Caption Contest

No prizes, sorry. This is just for fun. :-)

Thursday
Jun172010

Inkygirl moved to Squarespace

Hurray, Inkygirl has been successfully moved to Squarespace! If you're reading this post in your old feed, then all is well  - I'd appreciate it if you'd post below to let me know. You can find a list of my updated feeds in the top right corner of this page.

I'm actually going to be displaying two blogs on the Inkygirl page: my regular Inkygirl info plus a separate comics blog. I decided to keep my comics separate to make it easier for people to find the comic they want since I'm tagging/categorizing as I upload my archives.

In addition to Inkygirl, I've moved over Blatherings, Will Write For Chocolate, My Life In A Nutshell, Filking.net and my Filk FAQ, iPadGirl and DebbieOhi.com. I have about half a dozen other blogs to go, but when I have the basic infrastructures in place, I'll go back and do finetuning and link-fixing.

If you notice anything amiss or would like me to fix certain pages sooner than later, please do let me know! And thanks for sticking with me through this transition period. I'm hoping not to have to move again for a very long time.

Monday
Jun142010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

 

Haven't heard of the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge? The goal of this challenge is to help provide goal-oriented inspiration, with flexibility to avoid giving up in frustration. Please click on any of the buttons above for more info.

Every Monday, I'll post a Wordcount Challenge Check-in to see how you're all doing with your challenges. You don't have to post, of course, but I find that encouraging and receiving encouragement from others is inspiring to me as a writer.

Good luck!

Sunday
Jun132010

Please help me test out the revamped Inkygirl

Inkygirl.com is now pointing to my Squarespace account, although it may take a few days for the change to propagate through all the name servers.

I still have a fair amount of tweaking and content moving before I'm ready to start up regular posting again, but would very much appreciate it if some of you could try posting comments.

If you are unable to post, could you please e-mail me?

Thanks so much!

Thursday
Jun102010

Moving To Squarespace...and thank you!

Just letting you all know that I've decided to move Inkygirl to Squarespace. I appreciate all your suggestions, info and feedback. While I'm moving some of my sites to Squarespace, some will be moved to other services some of you have mentioned (still researching the latter). No need to change your bookmarks; I'll just redirect Inkygirl.com to the new site when it's ready. The main reason I'm moving Inkygirl is because I want to cut down on the amount of tweaking, admin and security issues I have to deal with, so I can focus on the content. Wordpress is a great blogging platform, as some of you have pointed out, but I lack the time to keep up with the version updates for all the blogs that I currently have, plus other admin. I want to be able to post more often, including more writing-related comics. I have half a dozen interviews with amazingly talented and knowledgeable authors lined up, but haven't had time to work on editing/posting them because of the Wordpress admin / repairs I've had to do lately. No blogging platform is 100% secure, but on Squarespace I know I'll be able to have someone ELSE deal with fixing the code/admin. I've sent their customer support half a dozen questions so far and each time, I've gotten back a response within a few minutes; I've been really impressed! Many thanks to literary agent Elana Roth for all the info/help. And again, thank you all SO MUCH for sticking with Inkygirl through all this. :-)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun072010

Wordcount Challenge Check-In: 250, 500, 1000 wds/day

For those who encountered the malware warning over the weekend, Inkygirl has now been scrubbed cleaned (HUGE thanks to my hubby). Will post about what happened later today but basically, Inkygirl got hacked late Friday night. Didn't get much writing done over the weekend. :-(

Do you need a wordcount challenge with some leeway? Check out the challenges below: 250 wds/day | 500 wds/day | 1000 wds/day
So how did you all do with your daily wordcount challenges since the last check-in?

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun052010

New comic up on Writer Unboxed

Friday
Jun042010

Time management and focusing on the CONTENT

So it looks as if Inkygirl's been hacked again (if you missed reading about the first one, see this post). This time the hack is more subtle (no malware) and only noticeable in search engines. If you try entering "inkygirl" in Google right now, here's what you get as the top hit: Chris Pearson encountered the same hack and posted a solution, but it didn't work for me. I admit to being frustrated, especially after Jeff spent so long cleaning up after the first hack, and all the time I've been spending on repairs as well. And this has got me thinking more about time management issues. In the early days of the World Wide Web, I was as excited about the tweaking/design of my websites as I was about the content. I've always tried to have good content but I also admit to spending a ton of time tweaking templates, looking for useful plug-ins, playing around with different Wordpress features. As more and more people started using the Web, however, inevitable security and hacking issues have increased. This last incident (or incidents) has prompted me to seek another blogging platform. I would much MUCH rather spend more time writing and creating than tweaking and admin. Yes, I realize that any platform I choose will have its security issues. But whereas I used to want total control over my site's design and features, now I'd rather find a service that will do most of the behind-the-scenes work (including putting out security issue fires) so I can just focus on the content. Some of you have suggested Tumblr and Blogger. I've tried both sites and they're easy to use, but I have to confess I'm hesitant to commit to any free hosted service that doesn't have a clear business model, just in case they decide to start charging (like Ning just did) or worse, shut down without warning. Not as much of a problem if you only have one blog, but I maintain quite a few, not just for myself but for others as well. I plan to consolidate some of my blogs/sites and cut down on the number of domains I use. I'm thinking of reorganizing most of my own blogs under one personal site and one work site rather than have the scattered all over the place. I'm looking for a service that won't roll out new versions unless they're rock solid and thoroughly tested, will let me modify CSS if I want but also have templates so I don't have to do much appearance set-up, has as little downtime and glitches as possible, and good customer service. Right now I'm checking out Squarespace and Typepad. If any of you have had experience using either of these services, I'd love to hear about it.

Click to read more ...