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 archives, 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

Entries in organization (2)


Work deadline organization: My new book deadline custom cork board 

2013 09 DebProjectBoard

With multiple book projects coming up, I've been looking for a way of listing upcoming deadlines in such a way that I could visually scan everything at a glance from where I sit at my desk. I do have digital tools like CulturedCode's Things and Evernote to help me with day-to-day task organization and looking up project details, but I really wanted a way I could easily see an overview. (Note: I'd love to hear about YOUR project organization system! Please post in the comments section)

Reason I like to get an overall picture in one glance: If I find myself in a quiet period (waiting for feedback, for example), I can be working ahead on another project. Before committing to other events or projects (whether personal or work-related), I can quickly scan my board and check feasibility. I also like being able to look across my office while I'm working and remind myself of the overall picture any time I want.

I spent a lot of time researching Gantt chart solutions, but found all of them either too expensive or too complicated. I knew that if it wasn't super-easy to use, I would end up abandoning the software after the "oo, this is so slick and cool" honeymoon period.

In the end, I opted for an old-fashioned physical solution.

The challenge: my basement office has very, very little free wall space. I started out with a paper chart that I taped onto one side of a supporting pillar. This system was ok, but the paper kept tearing and shifting, so my husband volunteered to cut and install a custom cork board for me (he's a programmer/techtype but also loves building physical stuff as well).

I created a template in Photoshop for each deadline listings, using different colours for different types of project deadlines:

Light blue = manuscript deadline

Yellow = sketch deadlines

Red = final art deadline

Green = publication of the final book

Some issues I still have to work out:

- I'm finding that the deadlines listed in the book contracts get changed around. So do I list the contract deadlines or the modified deadlines? Or both? I'm opting for the latter, but I'd still like to be aware of the contract deadlines as well.

- Right now I'm working with three publishers. What happens when/if I start working with more? I'll probably end up shrinking the size of my listing template. Or maybe find a different place in my office for another cork board? 

Advantage of having a physical project deadlines board:

In addition to other reasons listed above, it's super-easy to move listings around. I can also make quickie temporary changes by adding a small handwritten note that I can "formalize" later on in my Photoshop template.

Disadvantage of having a physical project deadlines board:

I can only use it in my office. The only way I can see it from my mobile devices is to take a photo, make that photo accessible, and then zoom in the see details.


While not perfect, this solution works pretty well for me right now.


p.s. If I could tell my younger self that I'd eventually need a system to help me keep all my book projects organized, I wouldn't have believed me. 

p.p.s. I've blurred out a few of the projects because I'm not allowed to announce them publicly yet. Hopefully soon, though!



Virtual Housekeeping and Resolutions

DebTypingNewYears flat500

Today was the first day in my new work schedule, where I try to stay offline for most of the morning. As I mentioned before, I resigned as Writersmarket.com publishing industry columnist as of Dec. 31st, 2011. After 10 years, it's hard to break the habit of going online first thing in the morning to check publishing industry news sites, blogs and Twitter feeds.

I did check e-mail once for anything urgent but resisted answering or posting. I got a ton of work finished this morning in one uninterrupted block of time.

I spent part of last week doing email housekeeping. Instead of just deleting mailing list emails and newsletter that I never read, I took the time to unsubscribe from as many of them as possible. I revamped my email filter system. I got my email inbox down to ZERO emails.

I feel virtuous, productive.

But I'm also aware that's only the FIRST DAY.