[AUDIO] How to Beat Impostor Syndrome in 3 Easy Steps


In this six-minute episode of LittleZotz Podcasting, you’ll learn:

  • Why having Impostor Syndrome could be fatal to your freelance writing career.
  • What qualifies you to call yourself a writer.
  • Three easy steps to create an elevator speech, so you’re never left feeling unprofessional ever again!

Don’t let your naysaying brain get in the way of your freelancing success. Tune in!


Special thanks to Ramiro Roman for my album art and SIKORA for my theme music.

Posted in Podcast

How to Set Your Rates as a Freelance Writer

Every freelancer has to decide for themselves what they want to charge, but this post is a good place to start your thinking process.

going rates

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we start: Rate setting is going to vary depending on who you are and what you do. What works for me may not work for you. But, that said, here’s what works for me:

How to Figure Out the “Going Rate”

You always want to be fair to your clients as well as yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to figure out the “going rate” for the services you’re providing. I figure out these rates by combining two sources:

  1. I check The Writer’s Market rates guide. (You can also check other sources like The Editorial Freelancers Association’s rate guide).
  2. I ask fellow freelance writers what they charged for a similar project. (Note: It’s important to ask successful freelance writers what they charged… Asking someone who’s plateau’d their career on Fiverr won’t do you much good).

From there, I use the numbers I got back — and combine them mentally with what I’d like to charge to earn a living wage — and come up with a price that I think will be fair for both my client and myself.

Making Adjustments to Your Rates

I’m about to show you something that no one has ever seen before. My rates: Read more ›

Posted in Blogging, Freelance Life, Productivity, Writing

[AUDIO] Freelance Writing as a POSITIVE Career Choice


In this 4 minute episode, I share:

  • The one thing holding you back from enjoying a thriving freelance writing career.
  • Why your “failures” aren’t failures at all.
  • The attitude you need to get over your fear of pitching.
  • Why you will always have job security.

By the end, you’ll learn why freelance writing is one of the most POSITIVE career choices you could make!


Special thanks to Ramiro Roman for my album art and SIKORA for my theme music.

Posted in Podcast

People I Know: Matthew Sikora

Singer/songwriter Matthew Sikora is the man behind the voice of LittleZotz Podcasting‘s awesome theme song! Get to know him, how he got his start, and what’s next for his career in this e-mail interview.

Matthew Sikora

Matthew Sikora

How I Know Matthew

Matthew and I first met in the earliest days of elementary school. And, even then, he had a unique voice.

We remained friends throughout our younger school days, but,  when we went to different high schools, it was hard to keep in touch. Luckily, through the magic of Facebook, we reconnected years later and picked up where we left off. However, in the time that we’d been apart, something had happened: Matthew had become a musician! And a darn good one, too!

Matthew, along with the rest of SIKORA, has been creating amazing tunes for your listening enjoyment for the past few years. And when it came time to choose music for my podcast theme song, I knew it was Matthew’s SIKORA that I wanted.

If you haven’t heard the sassy rhythm of my theme song — taken from the group’s song “Haters” — then I suggest you go listen to it!

In the meantime, get to know Matthew Sikora and how he got his start as a freelance singer/songwriter. Read more ›

Posted in Musician, People I Know Tagged with: , , , , ,

[AUDIO] An Introduction to Lauren Tharp and LittleZotz Podcasting

Episode 1

Welcome to the first episode of LittleZotz Podcasting!

In this 5 minute episode, you’ll discover:

  • Who I am and what I do.
  • How I got started as a freelance writer.
  • Recent writing trends I love — and would love to explore.
  • What LittleZotz Podcasting is all about.

Tune in!

Theme music by SIKORA and album art by Ramiro Roman.

Posted in Podcast

Learning to Accept Help as a Freelance Writer

accepting help

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Last week, I had a transformative experience, both literally and figuratively, that I realized applied to my — and your! — business. It had to do with my hair.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I’ve been struggling with my hair for a few months now. I had a disasterous experience attempting to dye it blue (it was blue for about a day and a half and then turned greenish-blonde), and then trying to “fix” it back to a somewhat normal shade.

Long story short, by the time I was finished dealing with my hair, I looked like this: Read more ›

Posted in Freelance Life

People I Know: Pinar Tarhan

If you can think of something that has to do with writing, Pinar Tarhan has probably done it. She’s a freelance writer, consultant, coach, and teacher. Read on to learn how she got her start!


How I Know Pinar

Pinar Tarhan is a longtime reader of Be A Freelance Blogger — the blog where I work as the Associate Editor. She was always a delight in the comments; however, it wasn’t until she pitched her article “Not Writer’s Block: How to Cope If You Physically Can’t Write” that I really made an effort to get to know her. Pinar’s article caught my interest because, at the time, I was going through some physical issues that made it tough to write as well!

But it wasn’t until we discovered that we both have OCD (heavy on the obsessive) that we really connected as Internet buddies.

Pinar is not only an extremely talented writer, she’s a wonderfully sweet human being. Enjoy this e-mail interview with LittleZotz Writing’s Ms. December. (Oh, and, bonus: December is her birthday month!).

My Interview with Pinar Tarhan

What do you do?

I’m a freelance writer, blogger, screenwriter, social media consultant and writing coach. Oh, and I teach English as a second language. Teaching allows me to socialize, gives me story material, and I can afford to be selective when it comes to choosing writing gigs and clients.

I mostly write about freelancing, writing, blogging, social media, career management, dating, health, entertainment and learning/teaching languages. Read more ›

Posted in People I Know, Writer Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

LittleZotz Writing is (Mostly) Back!

We're all right!

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Hey, Everyone!

Those of you who follow me on social media already know more-or-less what I’m about to say…

Last week, I found out that the hosting service I had been using was going out of business. This required me to switch my sites — LittleZotz.com and LaurenTharp.net — over to a new host.

That shouldn’t have been a problem. But it was.

Both of my sites were down for several days. And then, when they came back, they were a mess.

LaurenTharp.net, my personal site, was completely wrecked. Tabula rasa. I have to start over. I’m deeply saddened because I had recorded a lot of important life events on that site — from coming clean about my mental health issues, to sharing how I stopped self-mutilating, to sharing the pure joy of spending time with friends, family, and classrooms full of young writers-to-be. But I’m trying to remain optimistic that the new LaurenTharp.net will be better than ever.

LittleZotz Writing — this site! — was sort of salvaged.

I had been making back-ups, but I guess I didn’t do it right because out of over 200 blog posts, only 70 of them survived. And, of those 70, only five were finished drafts. Eep.

My writing samples are gone, my FAQ page is gone, my Video Answers are gone… Nearly all of my pages: Gone. (If you click on the tabs in the navigation bar, you’ll be led to blank pages).

So here’s what’s going to happen:

WritingAwardsLZWLittleZotz Writing is a multiple award-winning blog and I will not let it die.

Over the coming weeks, I’m going to do what I can to make LittleZotz Writing just as good — if not better — than it was before.

This is going to take time. (But hopefully not too much time!).

There are a few things that need to happen:

  • I need to rummage through my external harddrives and find the missing 130 blog posts.
  • I need to go through 195 blog posts, put them in the backend, add illustrations, and — in come cases — refinish/rewrite them.
  • I have to try to figure out when the posts were originally written.
  • I need to rewrite all of the missing pages (Writing Services, Writing Samples, F.A.Q, etc.)
  • I need to install all the missing plugins (like Foobar, Social Wiggle, Magic Action Box, etc.)
  • I need to keep my chin up.

It’s going to be difficult to do all that and work for clients; however, I have faith that I can get it done by the start of 2016. Please, be patient, and understand that my site is going to look strange in the coming weeks as I reorganize.

New blog posts will continue to go up on schedule even as old posts are being salvaged. There will be no halt to the regular update schedule.

And, if you loved the posts I wrote this year, and want to show continued support for LittleZotz Writing, I would appreciate it if you nominated LittleZotz.com as one of your favorite blogs for writers over on The Write Life: http://thewritelife.com/favorite-writing-websites-2016/ (And you don’t have to just vote for me — you can nominate as many blogs as you like with a single comment!).

And starting January 7, 2016, I’m going to be hosting a podcast on LittleZotz Writing in addition to writing blog posts. You can listen to the theme song — by the wonderfully talented SIKORA — here: http://littlezotz.com/2015/12/lzp-episode-0/

Good things are coming!

Thanks for being patient in the meantime.

Until next time,


UPDATE (12/21/15)

Hey again!

These pages are working again:

These pages are new:

  • Upcoming Events (Now you can see when the next LZW post goes up and where else I am online and off)
  • LittleZotz Podcasting (The first episode airs on 1/7/16, but you can listen to the theme song HERE in the meantime)

These pages are gone and (probably) not coming back:

  • Video Answers (Very few people watched my videos and they were a pain to film, upload, and transcribe anyway. You can still watch the old videos on my YouTube channel if you really want to.)
  • The secret pages I set up for schools (I can now refer schools to LittleZotz Teens instead)

“So what’s going on with the blog…?”

That’s the question I’ve been getting most often! And here’s the dealio:

Everything pre-2013 is gone. You can see some of the super old (2010-2012) posts in LittleZotz Writing: Adventures in Freelancing. But the rest aren’t coming back.

Posts that were written from 2013-2015 are slowly being uploaded. I’ve been making it a point to upload a few of the “classic” posts each week. It’s going to take a while though because there are a lot of posts and all of them need to be reformatted and have their illustrations inserted.

Brand new posts are going up on schedule. Every other Wednesday, there’s a brand new LZW blog post. So keep coming back for fresh content as well as old favorites! :)

That’s all for now!


Posted in Uncategorized

LittleZotz Podcasting’s Theme Song

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Hey, Everyone!

Before the actual show comes out on January 7, 2016, I wanted to share my awesome theme song!

I hired the amazing SIKORA to turn their song “Haters” off their EP Eye Kandi into my official podcast music.

I recommend listening to the full song on their SoundCloud; however, you can hear a lot of the lyrics that drew me to the song in my theme: Namely the idea of not letting anyone define you.

LittleZotz Podcasting is going to be about living a successful freelance life. And one of the main components of being a freelancer is being your own boss and learning how to define yourself and your business.

I also loved the idea of embracing your haters. Which I firmly believe is one of the key elements to being successful online.

Enjoy the song — show your support for SIKORA! — and come back in January for Episode 1!


Posted in Uncategorized

12 Common Freelance Writer Mistakes

Everyone has to start somewhere, but you don’t have to make the same dumb mistakes everyone else does.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

As a freelance writer, you will make dozens of mistakes throughout your career; however, here are the twelve mistakes you might be making right off the bat:

1. Limiting Yourself

Just because you’ve chosen a niche for yourself doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself. You can still write for other sub-niches under the umbrella of your main niche.

For example, if you’ve chosen parenting as your main focal point, there’s no need for you to forget about your love for fashion, pets, or fitness. You can write articles like:

  • “Get Glam! 15 Make-up Tips for Moms on the Go!” (Parenting/Fashion)
  • “10 Ways Dogs Help Our Children Become Better Human Beings” (Parenting/Pets)
  • “How Having Two Under Two Helped Me Lose 20 Pounds!” (Parenting/Fitness)

Even if you’ve chosen a particular niche, you can still put all of your writing expertise to use! Don’t limit yourself.

2. Disliking Other Writers

Other writers are your friends, yo! In fact: About 60% of my current business comes from fellow writers. Other writers are not “the competition.” Read more ›

Posted in Blogging, Freelance Life, Productivity, Writing
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