Freelance writing is a great way to make a living if you love to write. You get to spend all day putting words together, and if you’re good, you get paid for it. For word lovers, what’s not to love?
There’s more to freelance writing than words, though. A lot has already been written about the business of being a freelance writer. However, equally important to a writer’s success is the ethics of freelance writing.
Ethical Concerns of Writers
While it’s rarely discussed, freelance writers face a lot of ethical challenges every day. How the deal with these challenges not only determines a freelance writer’s character, but also their future. You see, I’m convinced that a freelance writer who doesn’t adhere to high ethical standards in their writing will ultimately fail.
Here are some of the main ethical issues for freelancers writers:
- Plagiarism–Copying someone else’s work is a huge no-no for a writer. You would think that this would be obvious, but sadly there are many websites that publish other people’s (stolen) work every single day.
- Honesty–Presenting information that is true and correct is another hallmark of an ethical freelance writer. While an editor may catch some misinformation, ultimately it is up to the freelance writer to ensure that their facts are valid.
- Reliability–Doing what you say you’ll do may be a good business practice. It’s also an ethical issue that speaks to the very core of a writer’s character. If a writer can’t deliver as promised, can they be trusted on other fronts?
- Integrity–Sadly, the publication of slanted reviews and biased reviews has become so commonplace that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had to step in. Writers should always disclose relationships.
- Kindness–Time and time again, I read something online, only to scratch my head and wonder why it needed to be said at all. The only purpose seemed to be to garner “shock” traffic. This is NOT professional writing.
My belief is that bad ethics equals bad business. While freelance writers who allow some of these practices to slip into their work may seem to get ahead for a while, I believe that ultimately their writing business will suffer.
What Would You Add?
What do you think about the ethical concerns of freelance writers?
What ethical dilemmas have you faced as a freelance writer?