The Responsible Freelance Writer
When I first started writing articles and blogs as a Freelance Writer, I thought it was mostly just fun and games. I have a writing talent. People want to pay me to write things for them.
What could be better?
As time went on, however, and I received more assignments, I began to realize that a Freelancer has certain responsibilities – to the client, to the public and to themselves. I have also noticed that, for some writers, these “responsibilities” are being completely ignored.
One of the things I discovered is that some employers are willing to pay for just about any kind of “content”, so long as they have something to fill up space on their site.
I’ve had potential employers who have demanded to know, “Why can’t you just write something? Can’t you write 200 words in twenty minutes?”
Well – no. I can’t. Not without research. Not without verifying that the information I am putting out there is correct and verifiable.
As a responsible Freelancer, you do not want to deal with employers who will pay you to “write anything”. They may actually be businesses or resellers who employ writers at rock-bottom prices and the work – your work – at a higher rate. They don’t care if what you write is good or correct – they want a product they can resell.
Something that I found that startled the heck out of me was – ME. I was doing research on a subject, and my own articles and blogs started showing up on the net. It was an eye-opening moment.
Suddenly, I was an expert. I could be quoted. I could be used as a reference. Once I got over the shock, I breathed a big sigh of relief.
As a responsible Freelancer, I have done my due diligence. I did research and made sure that my facts were correct. I also investigated to make sure my content was going to a reputable site (like this one).
Plagiarism is, unfortunately, rampant in the Freelancer’s world. It’s easy to just “copy and paste” and call that “writing”. As a Freelancer, there are legal, ethical and moral issues that need to be honored.
When I accept a writing assignment, a legal contract has been created – a contract for me to deliver original content. My employer is not paying me to simply copy work done by someone else.
Copying someone else’s work can lead to a civil lawsuit
A Freelancer should also consider the reputation and the business needs of their client. If you have been hired to create a new webpage, and you produce something that is not compatible with your client’s needs (or system) then you have cost them money and time. This is not what a responsible and successful writer does.
That is neither professional nor ethical.
If you do a “cut and paste” job that ends up on their site, you may damage your employer’s reputation and credibility. If you have not done your research correctly, and your misinformation is posted by your client, you may end up harming people.
Let’s say, for example, that you wrote an article about the benefits of starting charcoal with gasoline. This is, of course, very dangerous and should never be done. But if your client posted it, and people read it and relied on it, they could get seriously burned – all because, as a Freelance Writer, you did not even attempt to do proper research.
Freelancers have a particular responsibility when dealing with clients who seek out “native speakers.” Foreign companies often rely on native speakers for web-design, or when they are trying to sell their products or services to a local market. If you are engaged to design an English web page or French product descriptions, you have an obligation to do a professional job.
Your product description may literally make or break a company’s international campaign.
Writing a product description that describes “wasted and broken ramen noodles” in the soup will not help your client place their product in an English-speaking market.
In the end, there is plenty of garbage, bad writing and misinformation out on the web and in the market today. A Freelancer can be part of the problem. A responsible Freelancer can help clean up the mess that non-professionals have created.