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 social media (4)


A Cautionary Comic For Writers (plus one of my New Year's Resolutions)

Almost all of my comics are based on my own experience as a freelancer, as you might have guessed. This one is particularly relevant. One of my constant challenges is that for me, social media is more fun than work....but as a result, it can be way too easy to justify time I spend on social media as work.

This year, one of my work goals is to get my middle grade novel finished. 

While I can't control IF my novel is ever published (and I've become positive that this angst has a lot do with why I've been spending way too much time fussing about the outline and prep), I can focus on getting the book finished.

Which is why I've decided I really need to pull back a wee bit from some social media, especially Facebook. I suspect I'll be on much more than the average person, but I'm going to try being more conscious about when I use social media, and how I use it.

My favourite social media these days: Twitter and Instagram. Some people find Twitter too negative but I find that so much is about what feeds you follow, and how you interact.


Comic: Internet Social Media Addiction Group

I'm gradually going through all my comic archives as I work on my Will Write For Chocolate book compilation, so am posting some of the oldies here in Inkygirl (sometimes revamped).

OHI0086 WRI InternetAddiction 500


Time Management and Social Media: Progress Update #1

OHI0060 EmailCheck 500

A little while ago, I posted about needing to rethink my social media habits. I am still rethinking. :-) I was off-line for much of August because of the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles as well as a 10 day anniversary trip with my husband.

I had originally planned to stay offline the entire time. Because we needed to coordinate with friends in California and because Jeff was relying on Google maps and other online navigation information during the trip, I found it impossible to resist the lure.

Yes, I am weak.

I did manage to stay off line for as much as 48 hours at a time, however. This may not seem like a lot to some of you. For me, though, it was an achievement. :-)What I found: I did not miss being online if I had other distractions to keep me occupied.

When I got home, I started experimenting with longer work sessions during which I stayed completely offline. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought, especially when I realized how much more productive I could be. A surprising challenge: training everyone else to learn that I wasn't as glued to my e-mail as usual. I can't blame them, really. People are so used to me being able to respond to an e-mail within a few minutes.

As I mentioned before, I have no interest in pulling back completely from social media. I use social media for so much more than just business networking, and it's part of who I am. I have always been a fan of online communities.The people and posts I follow on various social networks inspire me, inform and educate.

As a creative freelancer, I'm used to working for long periods in isolation. When I'm working on something that requires a lot of creative concentration, I need to be alone. However, sometimes it's great to take a break and socialize a bit online.

The key, of course, is moderation.

Here are some steps I've been taking in my attempts to get more control over how much time I spend online and my productivity:

1. Learn to say no. Sometimes a fun project or a project for a good cause will come up, or a potential promotional opportunity that's hard to turn down. I'm keeping closer track of how many of these I take on at any one time, and learning how to say no or to postpone the rest.

2. Learn how to focus for longer periods of time. I've grown so used to an interrupt-driven workday. What I have learned, which I'm sure is already obvious to most of you: being able to work for longer periods without interruption makes me more productive. I try to ignore the phone when it rings, and let people leave messages. I tried to check e-mail fewer times during the day, and am also gradually training people I know to not expect immediate responses.

3. When I go online, I try to stick to my original purpose. I find it way too easy to start following links and looking things up online, clicking and clicking until I realize I've totally forgotten the original reason I went online. Now I use Instapaper and Pinboard to record links I want to check out later and tell myself (who gets the following nerdy Star Wars quote ref?) to STAY ON TARGET.

How are the rest of you doing? Have you learned any new tips to share?



Creativity & Productivity: Rethinking my social media and blogging habits

Apologies for the hiatus; I've been away most of this month at a writer's conference and then on an anniversary vacation.

Though fun and (esp. in the case of the SCBWI Summer Conference) inspiring, it's been a hectic month, and I'm REALLY looking forward to getting back to work.

And what is that work, exactly? My main short-term goal:

To rethink my social media and blogging habits.

I'm a social media addict. I've been a huge fan of online communities before the term "online community" even existed. These days, however, I'm feeling spread too thin over too many social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Second Life, various writing and illustration communities, plus all the blogs I either manage or in which I participate as a collaborator.

No, I'm not going to quit cold turkey. Nor do I think social media is inherently a time vampire. It CAN be a time vampire, but in my own experience, it can also be a huge boon to authors and illustrators if properly managed. Most of the publishing opportunities that have come my way have done so because of contacts I've made through social media, or posting and reading blogs.

Recent opportunities, however, have convinced me that I need to better manage my time. There are SO MANY BOOKS I want to write, or illustrate, or write and illustrate. The awards I won at last year's SCBWI Illustration Portfolio Showcase (which resulted in a book contract and heightened interest from publishers) and the Sue Alexander Award nomination I just received for my YA novel in progress have been a much needed kick in the pants.

My long-term goal:


And to do that, I need to finish some projects and get them sent OUT there.

My interim goals:

-- To finish writing my YA novel. Whether or not it wins the Sue Alexander Award, the nomination has convinced me that this novel-in-progress has much more potential than my previous attempts. I've been working on my craft as well as benefiting from the critiques and advice of my MiG Writer group and some of my Torkidlit pals, and I believe that I'm a much better writer now than when I wrote my previous mss.

-- To finish my own picture book projects. Now that I'M BORED (Simon & Schuster, 2012) is nearly finished, I need to have more projects ready to send out: projects that I've written AND illustrated. I've been working hard at improving my illustration craft over the past year. I'm going to continue to work on my craft, of course, but it's time to get some new projects out there.

-- I also have several nonfiction book proposals I need to revamp and send out, such as the compilation of my writer comics.


In order to achieve my long-term goal, I'm going to be taking a hard look at how I spend my time online.

And yes, I do see the irony of blogging about spending too much time online. But I figure I'm not the only one who has this challenge. Some of you have likely found your own solutions.

I'll be posting on my progress (feel free to share yours!)...but not as often as I'd like to. If that makes any sense. :-)

Internet addict