Category: Productivity

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.

Continue reading “5 Ways to Stay Healthy as a Freelance Writer”

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.

Continue reading “6 Tips to Develop Your Writerly Resilience”

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!

Continue reading “50+ Freelance Writing Questions: Answered!”

Top 3 Productivity Boosting Books for Freelancers


Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Sometimes, we need motivation from outside of ourselves to be as productive as possible.

We live in a world which is designed to distract us endlessly.

From never-ending emails to ceaseless app notifications, everything is set up to rob our attention away from us.

This conflicts with our desire to be as productive as possible and produce the best work we can.

So how can we regain control of our productivity and do our best work?

I’ve found that books are the best way to regain my focus and drive to work on the things that matter to me.


Today, I’d like to share three of the books that have helped me the most, along with some takeaway tips you can use to make more of your time.

Let’s get to it!

Continue reading “Top 3 Productivity Boosting Books for Freelancers”

7 Things You’ll Need to Know Before Becoming a Managing Editor

meditating editor
Illustration by Ramiro Roman

After just over five years of being the Managing Editor of Sophie Lizard’s Be a Freelance Blogger, I finally said “so long” to the job.

Why? Well, long story short, it’s because I’m now a full-time content editor for Syed Balkhi’s Awesome Motive, and I simply didn’t have time for BAFB anymore.

However, five years as a Managing Editor is a long time. Especially in the fast-paced online world. Five years can feel like a decade, especially where learning and experience comes into play.

There‘re so many things I wish I’d known before starting my career as a professional Editor. I learned, of course; but fumbling around using “trial and error” tactics was brutal at times. I desperately wanted someone “in the know” to tell me “THIS is what you should expect, and what you should do…”

But, hey! Now I’M that “in the know” person. And I have the power to tell YOU what you should expect, and what you can do.

So, without further ado, here’s a list of seven things you’ll need to keep in mind if you plan on becoming a Managing Editor: Continue reading “7 Things You’ll Need to Know Before Becoming a Managing Editor”

3 Powerful Productivity Tips to Become a Better Freelance Blogger

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Becoming an efficient blogger with a productive way of working is crucial to success.

It’s unlikely that your blog will fail from a lack of love for your topic. After all, you took the time to get started. That’s more than most people with an idea will ever do.

It’s more likely that life will throw curveballs that make it difficult to stick to your original vision. Unless you treat your blog as a priority, a ‘must’ rather than a ‘should’, it’s easy to let it stagnate and die.

If you want to give your blog every advantage, read on to discover:

  • How tech can help you stay focused while blogging
  • How mapping out your creative process can help you stay productive
  • How a strict schedule can make your blog resilient to life’s challenges

Continue reading “3 Powerful Productivity Tips to Become a Better Freelance Blogger”

Six Tips to Keep You Productive When Working from Home

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Staying productive and on task when you work from home can be super challenging, but, if you’re a freelancer and your home is also your office you absolutely need to nail this if you want to succeed.

Getting everything done just as you want it and on time can be one of the hardest things to get right when transitioning from office life to working for yourself at home.

When I first started working from home I’d get up just before I needed to be at my desk and then spend the morning working in my pyjamas.

I’d make regular trips to the kettle, potter around the kitchen, and, before I knew it, it was 11am which meant time for a break. I’d eat biscuits, stick on Netflix then sit at my PC to work without focusing on anything in particular.

Soon enough it’d be 3pm and I’d done pretty much nothing.

I did this for two weeks before realising I was getting nowhere and would be back in a ludicrous 9-5 office job in no time if I didn’t get my act together, pronto!

Now I successfully work from home as a freelancer and here I share my top tips for how to stay on task and be sure the job gets done when your office is also your living space. Continue reading “Six Tips to Keep You Productive When Working from Home”

EXACTLY What It Takes to Be a Managing Editor

Illustration by Ramiro Roman

Last week, I asked you, the readers, what you’d like me to write about next. The response I got most often was “What are the duties of a Managing Editor?”

That’s a great choice! But, boy – this is going to be a LONG post.

I’m the Managing Editor of both a news site and Be a Freelance Blogger. So I have some personal experience in this particular area. I’ve also seen the Managing Editors of the publications I’ve written for in action.

The basic duties of a Managing Editor in today’s online world boil down to this:

Accepting and rejecting pitches. Some publications hire a separate Pitching Editor for these duties but, most of the time, they fall onto the shoulders of the ME.

Editing writers’ posts. As a Managing Editor, you’ll not only be looking for typos and grammatical errors in the posts you intend to publish, you’ll also be making minor rewrites to get the “tone” of the overall article correct, and you’ll also be keeping an eye out for a Call to Action (CTA) at the end so that the post’s final goal is fulfilled (getting shared/getting comments/selling something/whatever).

Uploading and formatting posts. It’s your job to make the posts look pretty before they’re published. This means adding in headers, enhancing certain sentences, adding in a photo or video, etc.

Writing posts yourself. As a Managing Editor you’ll often be called upon to write certain posts yourself. Generally, when something needs to be done RIGHT – and is “too hard” for your stable of writers – you’ll have to take on the task of writing the post yourself. Or, if you’re a publication that accepts guest posts and your buffer has run dry, it could be up to you to fill in the gap in the schedule. So don’t think your writing skills are going to go to waste just because you’re an editor now!

Maintaining a uniform social media presence. Again, some publications hire a separate person to take on the duties of updating the publication’s social media accounts. But, as the Managing Editor, it’ll be your duty – if not to write the updates yourself – to at least take a peek at what’s being written to make sure it’s “on target” with the publication’s overall branding/message. You may also have to edit copy before it’s sent out.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the “basics” out of the way, I’m going to share some helpful tips to get all you aspiring Managing Editors out there on the path to success! 🙂 Continue reading “EXACTLY What It Takes to Be a Managing Editor”