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 email (6)


Why you should always proofread your email one last time.


Comic: Why you should always proofread your email one last time before hitting SEND


A comic for parents who work from home


Comic: Why You Should Always Proofread Your Email Before Hitting 'SEND'


Productivity tip: Use AwayFind to stop checking email so often

I mentioned earlier that I'd be sharing any tips and tools I've been using to help me focus. One of the biggest discoveries I made last year is a service called AwayFind.

I used to check email obsessively throughout the day. At first it was because I didn't want to miss anything important that came in, but then I realized that even if I wasn't expecting anything super-urgent, I'd STILL regularly (as in at least a few times an hour, sometimes more often) check my email, no matter what else I was doing.

It was only after I started timing myself, seeing how long I could work before I checked email, that I had to admit I had a real problem. The action of frequent email-checking was so automatic that it happened without conscious effort, making it impossible for me to sustain focus for more than a very short time. Gah.

The brilliance of Awayfind: You can set up a list of email addresses and get alerts when mail arrives from any of them. You can even customize these alerts, to avoid getting alerted for groupmails, etc. I added agent's address, for example, as well as other important work-related contacts.

There are different pricing plans, but you can try out the Personal and Pro for 30 days for free. I ended up opting for the Pro account.

End result? I no longer feel compelled to check email so often, giving me more distraction-free time to focus.

You can check out Awayfind yourself: http://www.awayfind.com

(and no, I'm not getting any affiliate fee for this recommendation)

Do you have another productivity tool to recommend? Feel free to post below!



Writer Productivity Tip: unsubscribe to as many mailing lists as you can

So far, I've managed to easily meet my goal of 500 words a day. I'm even thinking of upgrading to 1000 words a day, but am going to wait a couple of weeks to make sure I'm not just experience a burst of "beginning of the year resolution" enthusiasm.

How are the rest of you doing?

One thing I'm doing to help minimize wasted time: UNSUBSCRIBING TO UNNECESSARY MAILING LISTS. I've mentioned this a while back, but since then I've let a number of services put me on their mailing lists without doing anything about it. Instead, I just delete the messages as they come in, without reading them.


From now on, if I find myself about to delete a mailing list message, I'll think very hard about whether I should be on the mailing list at all. And instead of being lazy and just hitting the delete key, I'm going to take the time to scroll to the bottom of the message and figure out how to unsubscribe myself.

A related tip: never EVER put people on your promotional mailing list without asking their permission first. It drives me crazy when I start getting promo e-mails from an author with an accompanying message like, "Hey, I thought you'd be interested in my work. If you want to be taken off the list, just let me know." It immediately makes me want to NOT buy the author's book. Ok, rant over.