If you're a new follower, I'm pleased as punch to have you here.
If you're a regular, thanks for reconnecting; I appreciate your loyal support.
I had a pretty nice break. I hesitate to call it a "vacation."
Let's be honest here: real writers are never "really" on vacation.
Take us to the most remote place in the world, and you can bet your bottom dollar you'll still find us crafting ideas in our head at dinner. Or interviewing people we meet for a potential article. Or having "light bulb" moments as we retire in bed.
You know the script. Am I right? :-)
Well, while I was on my Blog "break," I had a situation that surfaced, that actually inspired today's post. I'd love to hear your thoughts...
Like most writers, I welcome the opportunity to take on new clients, build rewarding relationships, perform work that I love, "increase my bottom line," and enhance my quality of life in the process.
Which is why I rarely turn down new business, (unless I'm overwhelmed with commitments).
What I've discovered over the years, though, is that the success of any "partnering" is built upon a "meeting of the minds" and a good "fit" for all parties involved.
Though opposites attract, they're rarely cohesive.
But, I digress a bit here...back to the original story...
When a friend of mine called me to say that he was referring a new client to me, I was initially pleased. The timing was good, and this friend had sent business my way before, with decent results.
My excitement was short-lived once my friend shared the nature of the gig. A college student wanted to hire me to research and "ghost" write a 15-page essay for a class he was taking. Don't get me wrong: I know that there is a legitimate need for term papers to be written, and I'm not opposed totally to providing direction and professional expertise in some areas.
But somehow, I didn't feel right about relieving this student of all his responsibilities and depriving him of a learning experience that he would need later in his academic career.
So, I turned it down.
Ethics. It's a small word with major impact. Many times we think of it as dealing with politics, or business, or positions where a lot of money is exchanged.
But "ethics" are indeed involved in the field of writing too.
Here are some examples of ethical issues for today's writer:
- Bias in reporting
- Making misleading statements or misrepresenting one's qualifications (remember James Frey and the Oprah incident?)
- Providing false testimonials or endorsements
- Selling links to your Blog
- Contributing content to projects that objectify women, or promote racism, sexism, or violence
So, what is a writer to do?
Here are some things to consider:
- Let your conscience be your guide. In other words, what's considered acceptable for someone else may not be for you. If it conflicts with your moral code or sense of peace, it's usually not worth it. In the words of Joel Osteen: "If you don't have peace when you make the decision, you probably won't have it after."
- Does the project harm or slander anyone? (like with gossip sites or some social media blogs)
- Does it mislead, scam, or misinform readers or consumers?
Remember, the reputation you save may be your own.
Curious. What are your thoughts here? Have you ever been faced with an ethical writing issue?