Can write, won’t write (that)

It’s now been nearly a month since I decided to become officially self-employed, and I have learnt a lot quite quickly.

I have been spending a lot of time on the website Freelancer, which aims to connect freelancers in various fields with people who have projects that need doing. One important thing I have learnt from this is that the list of things I can write is considerably longer than the list of things I am actually willing to write.

A lot of the writing projects on offer are clearly high school, college, or university students looking to get their essays written for them: some even state in their project description that they will forward the relevant tutorial notes to make things more convincing. Having spent so long working in universities I won’t even bid on these types of projects, mostly because cheating is wrong but also because I would never live it down with my former colleagues if I was found to be doing that sort of thing!

[NB: posting this type of project is against the Freelancer terms and conditions, and such projects are removed by the website moderators when spotted. It doesn’t seem to stop people from posting them, though.]

One potential client wanted to commission me to write a series of fake complaints about a company with which she was in dispute, making myself out to be a victim of fraud at the company’s hands. I politely but firmly refused that commission, libel being very definitely on the list of things I won’t do.

It seems a bit strange to be refusing commissions so early in my life as a freelancer, when work is something I quite desperately need, but if there’s one benefit of being self-employed then it has to be the ability to only do work that is in accordance with my principles.

Not potentially getting hauled into court for committing libel is simply a bonus.

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