Ethics in Freelance Writing: A Simple Guide for Freelance Writers
Are there any ethics in writing, or should there be?
Writing is an excellent form to express one’s self. When this is the case, should there be any rules, limitations, ethics?
Specifically, writing online or writing for the internet, has recently gained much popularity. Whether you are a blogger, a hubber, a freelance provider, a web developer, an affiliate marketer, and anything in between, some words will come out of that imaginative brain which will then be typed out by those swift fingers, which in turn will eventually be a written piece!
Given this, are there any ethics in writing one should follow? Is there like an Implementing Rules and Regulations on writing? There being none (or at least there being none that has showed itself to me), I now list my self-imposed ethics in writing. Let me make it straight, though. I, too, am still struggling to find balance between family, work and writing.
You may or may not agree to these, and these may or may not work for you. But for now, here are some ethics in writing:
1. Spend just enough time, don’t take away family or play time
Writing online can be pretty addicting, and before you know it, it’s way past midnight and the kids have all gone to sleep without even saying “goodnight” to you. Or perhaps they did, only you were too busy typing away at the keyboard? Family and play time should always come first, and should never be compromised with the prospect of earning a few hundred dollars from writing online.
2. Segregate work from writing
For people like me who has a full-time day job, it might be tempting to combine the two works and maximize the time. For example, I have people I talk to at work who need some writings done. I don’t volunteer my writing skills, mainly because I don’t want my two worlds to interact.
3. Don’t write on topics related to your professional work
Perhaps there are two schools of thoughts on this one. Some might say that indeed you should write about the things you do at work, anyway, that’s what you are supposedly good at. But personally, I look at online writing (blogging, hubbing) as a wonderful means to do (write) something other than the stuff I do at work. And this is for now. Perhaps in time, I will write about the things I do at work.
4. Don’t write during company hours
Now this is a clear conflict, if I ever see one. It can be very tempting, really, to write during “idle” times in the office. Say, during a particularly lengthy meeting or seminar, where you know everything that’s being discussed, or has been through several similar meetings. You stare at the ceiling and think “hmm… I’d rather be doing some hubs”, but once you start down that road, pretty soon you might find yourself not really working at all for your company, instead you are just writing hubs or participating in forums, all during company time.
5. Don’t sabotage your clients’ website
Well, perhaps “sabotage” is a pretty strong word, but it pretty much sums up my point. Being a freelance writer, I get to write about many things as required by my clients/buyers. Some of which are really very interesting, and it gets me thinking “if they are willing to pay for this, there must be a market out there”. But to be “faithful” to my active buyers, I refrain from writing about their niche while I have an existing contract with them.
6. Always proofread, and check for plagiarism
This is more of a self-preservation rule than anything else. Proofreading ensures that your writing is error-free, while checking for (or against) plagiarism is a must for all writings. Some people might say, “I wrote each and every word of my article, why should I check for plagiarism?”, and there might be some logic to it. However, with the millions and millions of written content published on the internet, there is a big chance that one or two of your sentences may be the same as the one written by someone living on the other side of the world. There are many free online plagiarism sites to use, such as www.plagiarismdetect.com and www.articleschecker.com.
Day 6 HubChallenge
7. Never badmouth your country
My country, the Philippines, is far from ideal but I made a promise never to badmouth my country in any of my writings – be it hubs, blogs, submissions, forums. In fact, I try to promote my country whenever I can. The Philippines is a third-world country but there are many, many reasons to visit here. A lot of people do the same, and many times, it is just too tempting to say your two cents’ about the government and other people but perhaps it does more harm than good.
These are just some self-invented rules. Trying to balance a career, a family and writing online will really require some structure, so this is just a struggling writer’s attempt on putting that structure in place. I am sure you have your very own ethics in writing. Pray, share!
All images used in this hub were taken by mommyfreelancer's husband with Canon DSLR cameras and lenses.