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6 Major Ways to Kick Butt as a New Freelance Blogger

woman on the beach kicking a laptop, a book, pens, pencils, an eraser, and a peach that kinda looks like a butt
Image(s) via Pixabay

Out of the zillion blogs on the internet, you want yours to succeed. As a new freelance blogger, you want faithful followers who see you as an authority in your industry. So, what do you have to do to be like those amazing bloggers who already get loads of comments on their posts and boatloads of shares?

As a new freelance blogger, you already have a lot on your plate. Not only do you have to set up your workspace and website, you also have to track your projects and finances, create and follow a blogging schedule, send out pitches… WHEW!  

OK, take a deep breath. It’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere. This new journey you’re on right now? This is where you’re starting.

Are you ready to learn the six major ways to kick butt as a new freelance blogger? Let’s get started!

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How to Write Effective Business Emails as a New Freelance Writer

cartoon of a woman praying over a laptop, waiting for a reply to her business email
We’ve all been there… Anxiously waiting for a positive email response from a potential client! This article will help! ♥ | Image by ijmaki from Pixabay

You have all the necessary qualities required to become a successful freelance writer! …And yet paying writing gigs seem elusive and uncertain.

Ever since you made that big decision to start writing full-time, you’ve sent approximately a million emails to thousands of business entities; however, the responses have been demoralizing.

Have you ever thought: “Maybe it’s my initial approach that’s turning clients off?” I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it very well could be!

What if you could introduce yourself in a professional manner — if you could really stand out from the crowd in a way that it’d be impossible for the potential client to ignore your pitch? What if you could write a killer email that leaves the corporate client of your dreams begging to hear more from you?

I know. Sounds tough! But let me tell you: it’s entirely possible (and easy!) to write professional emails that will be well-received by business people. All you need to know are the necessary freelance writer “etiquettes” and use them in your email to make it truly professional.

Below, I’m going to share my tips on how to create an outstanding impression with your very first email. You’ll learn the ins and outs of writing a professional email that will impress even the snobbiest corporate client out there.

And, if that’s not enough, as a reward for reading my entire article, you’ll get a proven email template I’ve used successfully throughout my career. Let’s do this!

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Working from Home: The Ultimate Guide!

stuffed animal working at home

“I don’t need to put pants on today… right?” Working from home provides the ultimate in freedom and comfort — but sometimes, a little too much. Before you know it, you’re three seasons deep into Game of Thrones and you haven’t accomplished a single task. So, how can you maximize your productivity while running your business from home? I’m going to share 10 of my best tips.

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How to Escape the “Single Client” Trap

Being a freelancer or running an agency is an amazing and rewarding experience. You get to set your own hours and work when you want (in an ideal world), and you only take on as much work as you feel you can handle at any given time.

There’s just one problem: what will you do when the work dries up? What if that one big client you have suddenly doesn’t have any work for you, or unexpectedly cuts their budget and has to cancel your contract?

There’s nothing worse for stability and security for an agency or freelancer than falling into the “single client trap”. As the old adage goes, don’t put all of your precious eggs in one basket, which is exactly what happens when you become too reliant on one or even a couple of “main” clients. If you find that 80% or more of your income comes from just one client, then you’ve fallen into what’s often referred to as the “Single Client Trap”.

Let’s look at how to get out of this all too common “trap” and into a regular rotation of clients and work that is consistent, reliable and dependable.

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LittleZotz Writing: The Blog is in YOUR Hands!

Hey, Everyone!

Lauren “LittleZotz” Spear here! I got some messages recently from readers who were afraid I’d, ahem, lost my battle with depression. Given my openness on the subject (and considering my suicide attempt in 2014), I don’t blame folks for fearing the worst…

GOOD NEWS: I’m still alive!! And I’m VERY well!

It feels strange (in the best way) to say this, but… I can’t even remember the last time I felt depressed! My mental health has been thriving and my physical health is following its good example (hehe!). As of this writing, I’ve lost 100lbs and I’m more “fit” now that I’m pushing forty than I was for the bulk of my twenties. Weird!

Now that you know I’m still among the living (whew!), you’re probably wondering: What’s up with the LittleZotz Writing blog?!

LittleZotz Writing Going Forward

This year (2020) marked the first year since its inception that LittleZotz Writing didn’t win any awards or land on any “Best Websites for Writers” lists. At first, I was mildly huffy about it like, “Aw! What?! I’m still bringing it! Why no prizes?!?”

But, after some soul searching, and looking at the blogs belonging to the folks who did win… I realized that I was, in fact, NOT still “bringing it.” My content was poop! I’d lost my passion and I was rightly demoted from my “best” status.

I’d grown bitter and had nothing good to say anymore. And that’s zero fun — for me AND the LittleZotz Writing blog readers.

Going forward, the LittleZotz Writing blog will be SOLELY guest submissions. That’s right. I’m leaving my beloved blog in YOUR hands!

There are already several guest posts featured on the LittleZotz Writing blog and I dig ‘em! The writers are all super gung-ho and have fresh, relevant, tips to help their fellow freelancers succeed. It’s pretty exciting!

If you want to submit a guest post, check out my guest post guidelines and send me your best pitch! Right now, I’m posting about one article per month… but if more folks start writing in, I’ll increase the publication rate. That’s all up to you guys and how many of you send me articles!

One note: I know a lot of people would send me articles solely to see what kind of custom illustration would appear with it. lol. Totally understandable! The custom art was a lot of fun for me too! However, going forward, I’ll be using stock photos with the blog posts. I can only afford to buy custom art for ONE website (it gets pricy, and rightly so — the art is amazing and deserves top dollar!), so I’m only shelling out for my other website.

Which brings me to…

Where’s LAUREN Going to Be?!

I’m still writing and editing, but I’m being VERY selective about the projects I take on now. This is still my “hire me” website… But I’m NOT going to say “yes” to everything anymore.

For the most part, you can find me on my other website: HorrorFam.com

Illustration by Heather Landry/Sandpaperdaisy Art

It’s been a dream of mine for YEARS to run a horror-focused website. I grew up in the horror industry (my folks were both practical special FX artists for horror movies) and the genre means a lot to me.

So… I did it! I now own and operate a horror website! My husband and best gal pals are co-founders!

I’m still utilizing the skills I honed here at LittleZotz Writing — I write articles, I edit guest articles, and I host weekly podcast episodes/interviews! — but I’m having way more fun than I’ve had in YEARS.

If you’re a horror fan, or simply want to check out what I’m doing these days, check it out! I’m also very active on Twitter (@LoveHorrorFam) and Instagram (@LoveHorrorFam).

Oh, and I accept guest posts on HorrorFam.com as well! 😉 So, if you ARE a horror fan, and you need additional writing clips, feel free to pitch articles to me there too!

Take Good Care of My Baby

LittleZotz Writing will always be my “baby,” but it’s up to YOU to take care of it now.

I’m really excited to read what y’all write!

Get those pitches in!!

And feel free to say “hi” to me! I’m SUPER alive. Promise.

–Lauren*
PS: There will be a guest post coming out later this month and another one in May!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy as a Freelance Writer

Yes, there’s more to it than just “stand up!”

Illustration by Sandpaperdaisy Art

You know the usual tips for staying healthy when your job involves a lot of sitting — take breaks, use a standing desk, stretch — but you probably don’t have the tricks to follow through.

Let’s be real, how many of us actually get up and walk around every fifteen minutes or stay vigilant about our posture?

I know I don’t. In fact, I’m currently writing this in an armchair in my living room. (Not the most ergonomic).

So, let’s break down some ways you, as a freelance writer, can stay healthy during your workday. As a bonus, I’ll include an app recommendation for each tip to help you stick with your new habits.

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6 Tips to Develop Your Writerly Resilience

writer heroically facing rejection
Rejection deflection is a superpower! | Illustration by Sandpaperdaisy Art

Every writer — even the most successful ones — has had to face rejection. It goes with the territory. But that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. Here are some practical pointers to help you grow a thicker skin and learn to roll with the punches.

1. Try to see the positive

Rejection is tough. You can’t help but take it personally. So much of yourself goes into what you write, it’s hard not to conclude that it’s you who’s being rejected along with your work. As the rejection letters mount up, you may start to believe that you’re simply not good enough. It’s really important not to let that happen.

A rejection doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Look at it instead as an opportunity. They think you’re not good enough? What better incentive could there be to prove people wrong?

Some successful writers have even viewed their rejection letters as a badge of pride. “I love my rejection slips,” wrote Sylvia Plath. “They show me I try.” The poet Brett Elizabeth Jenkins set herself a goal of getting a hundred rejections in a calendar year, and when she succeeded she found she’d “grown as a writer, met some kickass writers, sprouted relationships with a few editors, developed a thicker skin, and learned to take rejection like a champ.” Often there would be an encouraging note attached to a rejection, and a few, after she had made some changes and resubmitted them, turned into acceptances.

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50+ Freelance Writing Questions: Answered!

Lauren Spear freelance writing AMA
Illustration by Sandpaperdaisy Art.

Last month, I reached out to my readers/followers via social media and my newsletter to invite them to “ASK ME ANYTHING” about freelance writing. You guys readily responded to my “AMA” and I ended up with over 50 questions!

That was far more than I was expecting, to be honest — which is why this became my gigantic START-of-the-year post rather than my enormous END-of-the-year post like I’d originally intended. (Apologies to anyone whose been anxiously waiting!).

In the end, it feels incredibly fitting and, dare-I-say, “right” to have this post go up in 2020. This year marks LittleZotz Writing’s 10th anniversary — and what better way to get my 10th year rolling than to answer a buttload of questions from the folks who’ve stuck with me and made this site everything it is?

Which reminds me! Before I do anything else… THANK YOU!! Yes, you. Thank you — and you and you and YOU — for sticking with me and continuing to read the LittleZotz Writing blog for an entire decade! And extra big sloppy thank you hugs to those of you who wrote in with questions for this extra special post. You rock!

Ready to have your questions answered…? Here we go!

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Research Tips for Writers Who Hate Doing Research

Image via Unsplash

This title might sound like an oxymoron. After all, research is intrinsically tied to writing, especially if you’re unfamiliar with a topic.

It’s precisely this close association with research and writing that may be putting people off writing altogether. Research takes a lot of time, and the proliferation of hashtags and fake news means that the search for credible sources has become that much more taxing — and important.

That said, research can open up a whole new world of information; it can even take your work to exciting places that you never would have thought possible.

The good news is that if you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve already got a good grip when it comes to writing. So, here are some tips to hone your research skills, and to hopefully make you enjoy the process while you’re at it:

Read widely

Research from Emory University shows that reading helps create new neural links, boosting brain function and allowing you to tackle even the most difficult writing assignment. As a freelance writer, sometimes you get assigned to write about something you don’t know much about. One of the best ways to get a feel for the topic is to read similar articles to get a grasp of tone, vocabulary, and the like. Reading up on your chosen topic also gives you an idea of how to structure your argument, which can help if you’re someone who prefers to make outlines before writing.

Keep track of your citations

Depending on the length of your article, you might require anywhere from two or three to a whole handful of sources. Whenever you’re writing an article, it’s best practice to keep track of these links for when it comes time to cite them. Zotero is a great place to store your citations, as it stores everything from the link address to the publication date and author. You should also develop the habit of double checking your sources every once in a while to ensure that the information you use is up to date, which is especially important if you’re writing a longer piece.

Associate research with credibility

Research is just a way to fortify your writing and make it more persuasive with credible information. The fact of the matter is that there are tons of freelance writers out there, with many trying to write articles similar to yours. In fact, Small Biz Trends reports that freelance writing salaries remain low for beginner freelancers, a testament to how saturated the market is. Credibility is what gets your writing ahead, as it shows that you’re a source of information that people can trust. Rather than viewing research as yet another task you have to do, think of it as a way to show that you’ve thought deeply about what you’ve written.

Diversify your sources

Sources like news outlets, publications, and the like are good sources for a reason, as they’ve garnered a reputation for posting trustworthy news. Relying on the same few sources, however, doesn’t add much to the conversation. Google is always a great place to start your research, but looking at specialized websites can help you get the information you actually need. Try as much as possible to switch up your citations every once in a while. For example, online journal databases like JSTOR and Project Muse host a wide range of studies across all disciplines. As mentioned, this adds some welcome variety too.

Dedicate time to research

A lot of writers hate doing extensive research because it makes them feel like they’re back in college. To that end, an article by Special Counsel notes that breaking up your study into smaller chunks and creating a timeline helps you manage your time better. That way, you won’t get overwhelmed, as you will be adequately prepared. The same can be said for research and writing, because the tricky thing about research is that you can quickly get lost in a rabbit hole of endless clicks. Use the timeline trick and work backwards from your deadline, making sure to give yourself an ample amount of research time before you start writing. The important thing is to not go beyond the allotted time frame.

Always keep in mind what the reader wants

Your ideal audience is someone who’s never heard of your topic before. You want to write an article that engages them, so you should look to conduct research accordingly. Author Andy Weir says that it’s easy for an author to write about everything interesting they find — it’s your topic, after all! However, it is important that you to look for the facts that your readership will actually find interesting. When in doubt, always consult someone unfamiliar with your piece. And always make sure the content you are writing about has factual basis.

Researching is a muscle that you can build up through practice, just like writing. Backing up your work makes it more credible, allowing more readers to relate to your story. At the end of the day, we write to share our experiences and stories with people from all over the world. So don’t forget to leave a comment below sharing your research tips, and good luck!