Recommended Resources

TeensPencilA few things to know before you look through this list of resources:

  • None of these resources are specifically “for” teens. However, when I last checked, they were appropriate for teens 16+. Meaning: Some of the language may be “difficult” to grasp (big words!), but there’s no excessive swearing or nudity involved.
  • Any link with an asterisk * symbol is an affiliate link. That means, if you buy whatever I’m linking to, I will get a small percentage of the profit. This is at no extra cost to you — and it’s a great way to support LittleZotz Teens!
  • Not every resource on here is a freelance writing resource. Some of the items listed are just things that I thought were useful/cool.
  • If you’re 13 or younger, ask your parents first before you buy anything.

So, without further ado…

BOOKS

WritersMarket2016Writer’s Market*

When I first started my writing career as a teenager, my aunt bought me a copy of that year’s edition of Writer’s Market. It was invaluable then and it still is today! I purchase a new copy every other year.

The Writer’s Market books are a wealth of information. The front of the book contains around 200 pages of info on how to find, manage, and promote your work. It also contains a rates chart — which I use as a reference to create my own rates as a freelance writer, even now!

But the most valuable aspect of this book is the back half. It contains literally thousands of paying markets for writers: From magazines, to trade publications, to contests.

writers-digest-magazineWriter’s Digest Magazine

Confession: I gave up the bulk of my magazine subscriptions long ago. Except this one.

Writer’s Digest magazine still provides good value for the cost.

They’re run by the same company that publishes the Writer’s Market books, and they’re written in a way that isn’t too stuffy. The “Reject a Hit” letter at the end of each issue — in which a reader writes a rejection letter to the author of a classic novel — is especially humorous.

Each issue also contains a list of markets and contests that you can try writing into for pay.

SecretsOfAFreelanceWriterSecrets of a Freelance Writer*

I’ll be honest: I almost didn’t include this book. Robert Bly, the author, can be a bit of an intimidating presence — especially if you’re new. And, if you’re a younger reader, this definitely isn’t the book for you.

However, if you’re an older teen or an adult, then this is a great one to check out. I keep it in my desk to refer to, even now that I’m an established freelance writer.

Bly covers the basics in an exceedingly thorough way, and his no nonsense approach to receiving payment for the work you provide is an inspirational kick in the pants. If your interest lies in the making money aspect of freelance writing, then this is the book that will tell you how to do just that.

CopywritersHandbookThe Copywriter’s Handbook*

This is another one by Robert Bly. And, again, if you’re younger or if you’re easily intimidated: Do not get this book right away!

The reason I’m including it on this list of resources is because I honestly believe that every great/successful freelance writer has some knowledge of copywriting, even if they choose to work primarily in other fields.

Copywriting is writing that sells something. It could be a product, a service…or even you! And that last word is important: “You.”

When you write, whether you’re a blogger or a billboard writer, you want to keep the audience/readers in mind. You want to use “you” language rather than “I.” (AKA: Talk about the readers rather than yourself — avoid coming down with a case of the “me, me, me”s!).

That said, a free resource on this subject that I actually prefer to the book mentioned above are the works of copywriter Amy Harrison. I think you’ll especially enjoy watching episodes of AmyTV. You’ll learn the same copywriting techniques, but from an adorable redhead instead of from a self-described “grumpy old man.”

OnWritingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft*

Stephen King’s On Writing isn’t specifically “for” freelance writers, but it’s a book that should be on every writer’s shelf regardless. You don’t even have to be a fan of Stephen King’s other works to get immense value out of this book — it’s amazing.

King shares his experiences and growth as a writer, starting from his early childhood and teen years. He talks about his life and his writing in a way that’s accessible to everyone — casual and filled with humor — and teaches the reader valuable writing techniques along the way. There’s a reason this book has been quoted by writers since it came out, and undoubtedly will continue to be for years to come.

TOOLS

Contently_LogoContently

Contently is a free-to-use portfolio-building site for writers. You can create one as soon as you have your first clip!

The best part? They let any writer of any age use their site! 😀

For an example of what a finished portfolio looks like, you can look at mine: http://littlezotz.contently.com

wordpress-logoWordPress

I recommend using wordpress.com to set up your website/blog. 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.

MailChimpMonkeyMailChimp*

MailChimp is the program I use to send out my e-newsletters. It’s simple to use and not scary at all!

Plus, MailChimp is FREE if you have 2,000 subscribers or less. (And by the time you get 2,000 subscribers, you’ll probably be making so much money that you can easily afford their paid accounts).

The only downside is you have to be 18+ to sign up. Boo…

paypal_logoPayPal

This is another service you have to be 18 or older to sign up for. (Sorry!). However, it’s a wonderful tool once you start really earning money for your freelance writing services.

Most of the publications I’ve written for — as well as most of my clients! — use PayPal when making payments.

You can also use PayPal to do other things: Like send out invoices!

sucuriSUCURI Website Monitoring and Malware Clean-up*

Sucuri is AMAZING! I probably wouldn’t be in business right now if Sucuri hadn’t completely saved my butt when my  business website got pharma hacked! I love this company. SO MUCH LOVE!

For less than $90/year, you can get your website — your business! — fully-protected by a team of trained malware assassins. Every interaction I’ve ever had with this company has been professional, helpful, and exceptionally sweet (they are so patient with my lack of tech speak knowledge!). Their customer service is beyond compare!

A few things to keep in mind though: This is another company that needs you to be 18+ in order to sign up (Sorry again!), and they’re a bit expensive for someone who is just starting out. They are well worth the investment if you’re serious about your freelance writing website; however, if you’re on the fence, then I’d recommend waiting. I don’t want you spending your (or your parent’s!) money if you’re not really super-duper serious about your freelance writing career.

PlanAheadPlanAhead Dayplanners*

When it comes to keeping track of deadlines, I still prefer to use pen and paper. And PlanAhead dayplanners have been my favorite for years now.

However, I highly recommend checking out dayplanners in person at a store. (I like to get mine at Target or CVS). It’s a lot easier to tell if a planner is “right” for you if you see it in person, and feel it with your own hands.

The only reason I know that the planners I’ve linked to here are “right” for me is because they’re the same planners I’ve been buying for the past five years or so. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. (And if you’re unsure of what type of planner to get, then this one is a good place to start!).

OTHER STUFF

ProActive3piecekitProactiv

Death, taxes, and acne, amirite? It comes for us all!

In the winter, my skin gets super gross. Check it out:

SummerWinterLauren

Those are no-makeup selfies of me in the summer (left) versus the winter (right). And Proactiv is great for clearing up those zitty pustules!

However, one of the best things my dermatologist ever told me was this: “If it itches, it isn’t acne.”

I also have rosacea, which also flares up worse in the wintertime. But I keep it under control by using Palmer’s cocoa butter oil. It really helps! (Note: I am not a doctor nor any type of skin expert — these are just things that have helped me personally and might help you as well).

SuicidePreventionHotlineNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Medication and therapy have done wonders for me and I highly recommend it. However, I also know what it’s like to live without insurance. It wasn’t until last year that I had any (in my entire life!!). So I know that “get help” sometimes isn’t advice that’s easily followed.

However, there are plenty of free resources that can help you in the meantime. I used to chat with the folks at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline when I was feeling really badly. It’s free and you don’t have to be actually suicidal to talk to them. They’re trained to help self-harmers – and even just super-duper lonely people! – as well.

And there is NO AGE LIMIT to use this resource.

Life isn’t always easy — no matter how old you are! — but there are people out there who care and want to help. Don’t be afraid to use the resources available!