Frequently Asked Questions

What are clips?

“Clips” is writer jargon for writing samples.

How do I start my own blog/website?

I recommend using wordpress.com. They offer free websites to anyone 13 and up.

LittleZotz Teens is a free wordpress.com site. The only major difference is that I paid to have the domain name/URL changed to littlezotzteens.com instead of littlezotzteens.wordpress.com. If you get really, really serious about your freelance writing career, you might consider doing the same thing. It’s pretty cheap to do. 🙂

Is WordPress difficult to use?

Not really.

Sometimes changing the appearance of the site can be tricky; however, that all depends on what “theme” you pick for your site/blog.

As for actually writing blog posts: If you know how to use Microsoft Word, then you already get the gist of how to type up blog posts in WordPress. The buttons are basically the same. The big difference is, you’re saving/publishing a post online instead of saving it to your computer. So be careful what you write about! (Don’t give away any personal information).

No one will pay me — what should I do?

Ouch. Been there. It’s true: Depending on your age, getting paid for your work can be really tricky!

Most modern publications that I’ve dealt with use PayPal to pay their writers. Which means that you’ll likely need to be 18 or over in order to get paid by them. (PayPal only allows users who are 18+ to open an account with them).

If your parents have a PayPal account, you can ask them if you can borrow it in order to get paid. Just make sure that you ask their permission, aren’t violating PayPal’s terms of service, and that the publication you’re writing for is okay with that.

Depending on your situation, you may also need to get a work permit. That’s basically a piece of paper that says that you’re allowed to work as an adult, even though you’re a minor. I got one when I was a teen and it really helped out.

Should I charge classmates to write their homework for them?

No. [laughs].

Okay. I know how tempting this is to do because I used to do it myself. My family was very poor at the time and I was just trying to help out any way I could. If you’re in a similar situation: I get it. Trust me.

However, as an adult, it’s my responsibility to tell you that doing your classmates’ homework is not the way to start your ghostwriting career. It’s unethical and potentially illegal. There are plenty of other ways to get paid — for your writing and in general. (I worked in the school cafeteria! It’s not very glamorous, but the extra dosh makes it worth it).

How do I get over my fear of pitching?

Writing comes with its own set of fears; however, freelance writing takes all those fears, amplifies them to the max, and then adds a new set of fears of its very own. Not only do you have to face the usual fears that no one will like – or even read! – what you write, you now have to worry about that same writing feeding yourself and your family that month.

Forget those fears. They’re only holding you back!

That’s right: Forget your fears about rejection. Forget your fears about clients. And forget your fears about career instability.

The only real thing you need to fear as a freelance writer is burnout – from trying to do too many amazing things at once!

As an Editor, I’ve had to reject literally hundreds of writers. Rejection is definitely a possibility when you pitch your work. But it’s not something you have to let get you down.

Either you pitch and get rejected or you pitch and get accepted. But if you don’t pitch at all, you’re automatically rejected. So why fear trying? By not pitching, you’re already living your worst fears.

A rejection from a publication doesn’t mean banishment forever. It just means “not now” or “not this piece.” Keep trying. And keep learning.

Can I be a freelance writer part time?

Absolutely!

I’d rather write fiction — any suggestions?

Go for it. 🙂

Is LittleZotz Teens just for girls?

Nope. LittleZotz Teens is girls, boys, and anyone else who wants to get started as a freelance writer. Even my definition of “teens” is pretty loose, to be honest.

What does “LittleZotz” mean?

LaurenTharp_LittleZotz“LittleZotz” is my nickname. Hi! I’m Lauren Tharp, the owner of LittleZotz Teens and LittleZotz Writing.

I got my nickname when the man who invented the term “sci-fi” gave me his Zotz coin (from the movie of the same name) and my family suddenly became known as the “Zotz Family.”

I, being the youngest and shortest, was “Little Zotz.”

What did you look like as a teenager?

Here’s what I looked like at age 13, 14, 17, and 18:

TeenLaurenTharp

Who draws the illustrations for this site?

A very talented man by the name of Ramiro Roman. He’s normally a horror artist, so be careful if you try to look up his other work online.

Who’s the cat in all the illustrations?

That’s Robert!

robert the cat

What’s your favorite book?

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It’s a great book for anyone looking to experience the joy of wordplay and a sense of humor with flair for puns similar to that of the Marx Brothers’. It’s a children’s book, but it has timeless lessons for everyone – namely that we should make the most of each “boring” day we’re alive.

And if you’re up for a second book, check out The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa. I have a portrait of Scrooge McDuck on the wall of my office because he’s one of my entrepreneurial heroes. [laughs]. Scrooge believes in the value of hard work and fresh ideas! It made him the richest man (duck) in the world. And Don Rosa’s graphic novel following Scrooge’s rags-to-riches origin story is beautifully illustrated, brilliantly written, and incredibly inspirational.

Help! My question wasn’t answered here!!

Don’t panic. Just write to me and I’ll try to answer your question as soon as I can. 🙂

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