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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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5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mentor

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Books and blogs are great, but you can’t ask them questions…

So there you are: You’ve read all the books, you’ve skimmed all the blog posts, you’ve subscribed to all of the newsletters, and you’ve had long chats with your peers in the freelancing community. And yet, somehow, you’re still not “ready.”

You feel “stuck” and you fear messing up. You’re paralyzed and you have no one to turn to for answers to your most “stupid” questions. (The ones your peers would scoff at and make snide comments about without truly providing answers…).

Sounds like you need a mentor!

But there are a few key questions to ask before you hire one: Continue reading “5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring 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.

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30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 2)

Celebrating my 30th birthday!
Celebrating my 30th birthday!

This is part two of a two part series answering commonly-asked freelancing/writing/editing questions from my inbox.

Hello again! Welcome back.

Last time, I covered these 15 questions:

  1. “Is it really okay to e-mail someone as an ‘interview?'”
  2. “How do you deal with rejection?”
  3. “What do you do to feel more professional when working from home?”
  4. “What field of writing brings in the most money?”
  5. “Most important skill as a freelance writer?”
  6. “How do I figure out my rates?”
  7. “What’s been your biggest challenge owning your own freelance writing business?”
  8. “What’s a question you’re tired of answering?”
  9. “Do you know a place online anywhere that fellow bloggers/editors hang out? I’m feeling really green and I could use some camaraderie…”
  10. “How do you get rid of an annoying client?”
  11. “I think my rates are too high for the company I’m interviewing for – should I lower them or keep them the same?”
  12. “Do you ever write sponsored guest posts for clients looking to promote their product/service?”
  13. “Why don’t you use ads/affiliate marketing on your site?”
  14. “Why do editors sometimes accept a pitch but then reject the post?”
  15. “How can you tell when a client’s going to be no good?”

This time, I’ll cover 15 more! Sound good? Good. Here we go! (Feel free to scroll to the questions/answers most relevant to you).

16. “How do you get old fogies to respect blog writing?”

Continue reading “30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 2)”

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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30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 1)

Illustration by Michael Cervantes.
Illustration by Michael Cervantes.

Freelancer questions, writer questions, editor questions…

Okay! So here’s what’s up:

I turned 30 this year. That’s a pretty big deal to me. And, even though said event happened in early January, I wanted to keep the “30” thing going for a while longer and answer 30 commonly-asked questions from my mailbag. 🙂

Then I realized I was a couple questions shy due to so many commonly-asked questions being repeats, so I turned to the wonderful community at Be A Freelance Blogger to fill in the gaps. (They’ve got a lot of questions over there!).

Without further ado, here are my answers to some of your freelancing/writing/editing questions! Feel free to scroll through for the questions/answers most relevant to you — it’s a long post! Continue reading “30 Writing + Freelancing Questions from My Mailbag (Part 1)”

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 NOT to Get Your Guest Post Published

Rejection is part of being a professional writer… But, don’t get yourself rejected for any of these reasons.

EditorFacepalm

When you’re a freelance writer looking to get published on blogs or in magazines, the process will generally look like this:

  1. Send in a pitch/query that wows the editor.
  2. Send in your article/guest post.
  3. Get published.
  4. Rejoice.

Or, if things don’t go as well, it might look a bit like this:

  1. Send in a pitch/query that doesn’t wow the editor.
  2. Get rejected.
  3. Think up a better idea.
  4. Try again.

Sure, one scenario is more pleasant than the other; but they’re both perfectly normal outcomes. Getting published is part of being a professional writer, but so is rejection.

Unfortunately a lot of writers get rejected for really, really dumb reasons.

Despite What You Might Think, Editors Aren’t Against You!

If you look at the scenarios I’ve listed above, Step One is always the pitch/query. Pitches are extremely important! They’re also where most writers either excel…or get it so, so wrong. And usually they only have themselves to blame.

I’ve been working as the Associate Editor and Community Manager for Be A Freelance Blogger for just shy of a year now. In that time, I have read hundreds of pitches. And I have rejected most of them.

Honestly, it’s the worst part of a nearly-perfect job. I don’t relish rejecting writers. On the contrary, I get so extremely happy when I get a great pitch, I will often call out to my significant other in the next room to say “Someone wrote a good one!!” It’s exciting because, as a writer myself, I know how elated the writer on the other side is going to be when I write back and say “This is awesome.”

I want you to succeed. In fact, I’ve already written a few articles on the pitching process to try to help you succeed:

But, I feel like I haven’t written enough. I’m still rejecting far too many pitches. And I’d like to change that. Hence this article.

This time around, I’ve gotten permission to share a few of the e-mails I’ve gotten. That’s right: You’re getting a behind-the-scene’s look at a pitching editor’s inbox.

Here are six ways to NOT get published: Continue reading “How NOT to Get Your Guest Post Published”

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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What to Do When Writing Keeps You From Writing

One type of writing can keep you from doing another if you don’t prioritize. So…How badly do you want it?

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Like most writers, I love writing. It’s not just a job, it’s a part of who I am. Pretty much all I do is write! (Just ask my friends and family!).

What I do for work and what I do for fun is the same — the only difference is who I do it for. 

But, the thing is, writing for my clients has always taken priority. Since I started freelancing, I’ve consistently juggled multiple clients, each with a wide range of needs. And it’s friggin’ awesome. But it’s also extremely time-consuming.

Finding the time to work on my own projects can be difficult; and, often, frustrating. In addition to these blog posts, I write fiction novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction books. These unpaid/passion projects have to take a backseat to my “real” work, but they’re still oh-so-important to me. They have to get done, or I’ll go crazy I tells ya!

And I’m not the only writer who struggles with this issue. In order to write this article, I turned to the freelance writing community with a simple question: “How do you find the time to work on your writing projects?”

Here’s what I found out: Continue reading “What to Do When Writing Keeps You From Writing”

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 Myths About Being a Freelance Writer Everyone Thinks are True

Illustration by Ramiro Roman.
Illustration by Ramiro Roman.

Meeting a writer in real life is like meeting a mythical creature!

In order to become a successful, confident freelance writer, you have to suck it up and actually TELL people what it is you do. However, when you say “I’m a freelance writer” you’ll likely be met with some confusion.

There are a few “myths” about freelance writers that have been floating around. 

Below are the 5 most common (misguided) responses I’ve gotten when I’ve shared my career choice with others. Feel free to add some of the ones you’ve heard in the comments section!

1. “You’re a writer? Must be nice. All you do is write.”

Why, yes. That would be nice. There are a lot of times when I wish this were true! Continue reading “5 Myths About Being a Freelance Writer Everyone Thinks are True”

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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10 Facts About Freelance Writing Every Teen Should Know

Most of my readers are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. I also have a nice cluster of forty, fifty, and sixty-year-olds! And I love all of you. <3

However, there’s one segment of my audience that I feel I’ve been neglecting: Teens.

PublicSpeaking

Over the past couple years, I’ve spoken with over one thousand local teenagers about my writing career and how they can follow in my footsteps. I have several young newsletter subscribers, one of whom is a 13-year-old girl who excitedly replies to each issue. And my very first one-on-one online mentoring student was a 17-year-old.

I adore my teen audience–nearly all of my fiction is written for their age group–but  I’ve never written a post specifically for them. And, while most of my articles more-or-less apply to “everyone” in the freelance writing game, there are a few unique challenges that teen writers face.

So, this article is for you, Reader Who is Nineteen or Younger! 🙂

(But, if you’re a little older, feel free to join in). Continue reading “10 Facts About Freelance Writing Every Teen Should Know”

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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Freelance Writing as a Customer Service Position

You are your business now. And as a business you’ll be dealing with customers. Which means you’ll be expected to bring some customer service practices to the table…

Illustration by Ramiro Roman
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

The Customer: Always Right?

We’ve all heard it.

“The customer is always right.”

But is it really true?

Ehhhhhhhhhhh… Sort of.

As a freelancer, you get to choose who you say “yes” to working with. You get to choose your “customer.”

Once you make that choice to work with someone: They’re “always” right.

“Always” being in quotation marks because they’re only “always right” within the parameters of what you two agreed upon in your contract. (You did get a contract, didn’t you??).

Basically what I’m saying is: Once you agree to do something for someone—DO IT!

Pretty simple, right?

But Sometimes Problems Will Come Up

Oh, okay. Maybe it’s not that simple.

Sometimes problems will come up.

Here are a few of the most common problems and how to fix them: Continue reading “Freelance Writing as a Customer Service Position”

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.