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Writers Don’t NEED College (Plus 5 Reasons to Love Online Classes)

This post may offend you…

My high school graduation photo.
My high school graduation photo.

After high school, I shuffled off to community college.

I hated it.

I dropped out.

I went to a pretty tough “magnet” high school and I was burnt out with school. In fact, high school pretty much made me hate school. I needed a break.

In my time off, I wrote a screenplay. I had some interest, but, at that point in my life, I wasn’t mentally or emotionally “ready” to take the plunge to be a real writer just yet. Okay, I admit it: I completely freaked out. (I stashed my screenplay in a box, never to be seen again).

It was around time that one of my co-workers at my crappy minimum wage job convinced me to join Bryman College with her. Continue reading “Writers Don’t NEED College (Plus 5 Reasons to Love Online Classes)”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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How to Meet Deadlines While Avoiding Burnout

There are a lot of things that cause freelancers stress, but deadlines are one of the worst. How do you meet them without getting overloaded?

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Would you hire someone to do a job the night before it was due? Of course not. You’re probably thinking, “That would be unreasonable.”

However, as a freelancer, you’re bound to have a client or two who think you have an endless amount of time on your hands.

In my experience, every client thinks they’re your only client.

But, remember, they’re your client, not your boss. YOU are your boss. So YOU get to set the deadlines. Their deadlines are not your deadlines.

No matter how badly you need the money, never feel pressured to take on a “rush job” if you feel you can’t complete it to perfection. Sacrificing quality for speedy delivery can come back and bite you in the butt in the long run. You also don’t want to put yourself in a position with a client where they consider your “rush job” turn-around as your “norm.”

Note: It’s perfectly within your rights as a freelancer to charge an extra “fee” if a client insists on a rushed deadline. Just remember: You do not have to accept the project if you don’t feel right about it.

9 Tips to Meet Deadlines While Avoiding Burnout

Here are nine of the things that I do to meet all of my deadlines without losing my sanity. I have confidence that you can make these tips work for you as well! Continue reading “How to Meet Deadlines While Avoiding Burnout”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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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: Continue reading “How to Set Your Rates as a Freelance Writer”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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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: Continue reading “Learning to Accept Help as a Freelance Writer”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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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.” Continue reading “12 Common Freelance Writer Mistakes”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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5 Tips to Increase Your Productivity as a Freelancer

ontheclockAs a freelancer, it’s up to you to manage your own productivity levels. Time to get good!

You don many hats when you become a freelancer. But the biggest, most important, hat is your “boss” hat.

Although you’re technically working for yourself, you still have to produce good work or you won’t get paid. That means keeping on top of your productivity levels.

Here are five of my favorite techniques to increase productivity. They’ve helped me over the years, and I hope they help you as well.

1. Put Yourself on the Clock

Whether you choose to work in the daytime or at night doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you have a steady work schedule set up for yourself.

Even though freelance writing (or freelance illustration or freelance web design or whatever it is you do) isn’t a “traditional” job, it’s of extreme importance to have personal discipline. Continue reading “5 Tips to Increase Your Productivity as a Freelancer”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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Shady Writing Tactics: Why I WON’T Place Your Articles

I’d like to thank freelance writer Alicia Rades for inspiring me to write this post. You can see her own version of this topic here.

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Hey there!

I’m writing this post because it’s going to end up in my FAQ page. Because I get asked about this a lot, and I’m tired of having to explain it to each person individually. From now on, I’ll just be linking to this.

There’s a trend lately among “potential clients” wherein they want an article written (good!)…about their product (okay under circumstances)…and then pitched/”placed” for them at a particular publication. It’s that last part that’s the problem.

I don’t place articles.

Here’s why: Continue reading “Shady Writing Tactics: Why I WON’T Place Your Articles”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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Writers VS. Editors: We’re All Winners Here!

Without writers, there would be no editing; but without editors, there would be no good writing. 

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

I’m a freelance writerI’m also an editor. This has put me in the unique position of being on bothsides of the pitching, drafting, and publication process.

I consider myself primarily a writer for now (after all, my business is called LittleZotz Writing, not LittleZotz Editing); however, I have a passion for both fields and feel myself more and more divided as time goes on. (LittleZotz Editing may become a real thing at some point!).

Both freelance writing and editing are pretty darn great. There are a lot of pros to both!

There are also a lot of cons though…

Let’s take a look at some of the basic “pros and cons” for each, shall we? Continue reading “Writers VS. Editors: We’re All Winners Here!”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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Blogging VS. Freelance Blogging

There’s only a one-word difference between the two, but it makes all the difference…

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

In my time as the Associate Editor and Community Manager over at Be A Freelance Blogger, I’ve noticed that a great many people don’t know the difference between “blogging” and “freelance blogging.” This has caused some issues behind-the-scenes seeing as bloggers who want to pitch to us at Be A Freelance Blogger need to send in topics related to how to be a freelance blogger. If you pitch to us, your post idea has to cover both freelancing and blogging. It can lean more in one direction than the other (heavy on blogging, light on freelancing; heavy on freelancing, light on blogging), but both elements need to be present in order for your submission to be considered a serious contender.

So what is the difference anyway? Continue reading “Blogging VS. Freelance Blogging”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.

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5 Things to Expect When You Become a Mentor

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

I started mentoring fellow writers looking to go freelance in 2013 and I’ve learned a lot since then! 

Last month I shared five tips for people interested in hiring a mentor. But then I realized that some of you are past that point. Some of you are ready to become mentors yourselves!

Well, I’ve mentored dozens of people at this point, and I’ve boiled down my experiences — just for you! — into five things I think you “must” know before getting started:

1. No matter how clear you are, some people will still be confused.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned at my Associate Editor job, it’s this: An astonishing amount of people — even those who call themselves “writers” — don’t like to read. So no matter how informative you are on your sales pageyou’re still going to get questions. Continue reading “5 Things to Expect When You Become a Mentor”

Lauren Tharp is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers.