My first freelance writing experience. A bitter-sweet one.

India
April 14, 2007 12:47pm CST
I have for long wanted to be a freelance writer. I had even posted a discussion topic here about how rewarding a career as a freelance writer would be, and got enthusiastic responses from many mylotters. Today, I satisfied at least a part of that dream. I had signed up onto a site for jobs, picked one that interested me and went about writing it. It was a movie review with a difference and it was fun doing it, but upon finishing it, I was plagued with self doubt. As a fellow mylotter (nishdan01) had pointed out on my other discussion, I was helping someone cheat through college. I was earning a speedy buck no doubt, but was I not encouraging somebody to be lazy? At the same time, I felt that if not me, someone else would take it up, so why not me???? I'm really confused about the ethical aspect of taking on freelance work that consists of academic assignments, though they form the bulk of the jobs that one can find. What do you feel about this topic? If you were to be in my shoes, what would you do? Thanks for reading through this long post. I do hope you can help me make up my mind.
10 people like this
11 responses
• United States
14 Apr 07
Helping someone to cheat is not helping them. You have to ask yourself which is more important-the money or your conscience. I wouldn't do it. There are plenty of other paying markets. I have a blog for writers and list several resources as well as paying markets. You'll find the link on my profile page. Best of luck.
• India
15 Apr 07
I would definitely be giving your profile page a visit. I wouldn't want to continue helping students cheat if I had other ways of earning by writing online. Thanks for your wishes.
• United States
14 Apr 07
Hmmmmmmm - as a witer I would take it because it is not you that is not ethical but the person who is using your material in his or her name! I am glad you got out there and started living your dream - good for you and good luck!
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
23 Apr 07
If the person cheating were to be a Dr. would you want that person to care for you knowing that they took what you wrote to pass a class assignment?
@zuri25 (2127)
• United States
15 Apr 07
I'm a writer and a collegiate writing consultant. From a personal as well as professional point of view, what you did was knowingly partcipate in plagerism. That's wrong. Money or no money. If you want to get into freelancing as a possible career, this is not the way to go about it. Potential future employers will want to know what kind of freelance work you've done in the past and any good employer won't want to hire someone who purposefully helped a student plagarize. There are freelance opportunities out there that are legitamite and morally sound. You just have to do a lot of looking and have a lot of patience. Good luck in the future.
@zuri25 (2127)
• United States
15 Apr 07
I just read your response to Unusualsuspect and I must say that I am even more disappointed, not to mention confused, now knowing that you not only had a plagarism experience but became a teacher to boot. You're basically condoning plagarism by your students by giving them ammo. Shame on you.
• India
22 Apr 07
I think you missed the point that I was trying to make. I became a teacher because I was qualified for it, adequately. As for the act of plagiarism on my part, that was something I really regretted and I still have regrets for it. What I meant to convey was that when I was a teacher and got a chance to help students with a project similar to the one I was supposed to work on, I took it on as a chance to redeem myself. I really worked hard on it and created an example for the students to work on. I helped them with examples and a working model, but insisted that they do their own coding for it. I at no point just gave them out code, my own or somebody else's. The students were very enthused by my work. They took it upon themselves to out-do me and most of them did, which was a compliment to me. I managed to bring out the best in them. Maybe I would have not indulged in the only act of plagiarism in my entire life had I received any sort of help, but that was not a luxury that I had at that time. Anyway, many thanks for your opinion. God bless!
@Denmarkguy (1845)
• United States
15 Apr 07
The freelance writing path is not easy. In my opinion, a large part of that is due to the fact that freelance writers typically end up as glorified "writers for hire;" that is, the vast majority of freelancing is "writing to an assignment," rather than creating your own articles and finding places to submit them. Granted, I view this through the lens of perception that goes with being a technical writer; I typically write to "a set of instructions" and it involves very little in the way of creative input. The ethics of the situation you describe are interesting. To me there are "shades of gray" there-- if you are writing an article DIRECTLY to someone who's going to use it in college, it seems to me that you're a knowing participant in plagiarism. However, if you are writing content for a web site that sells prefab papers it becomes more like you are just "doing a job." In that case the ethical issue rests more with the web site owner, and with those who end up buying the papers. In the end, I find that I have to balance (not always easy!) my conscience with my desire to EAT, as I depend on the income, and it can't always come from a glamorous source.
• India
22 Apr 07
I guess you are the closest to the anguish and confusion that I'm going through! The last statement of yours best sums up the scenario. The conscience Vs the desire to eat. I will however be on the lookout for something better and more ethical to do, to fill my wallet! Many thanks and God bless!
@susieq223 (3742)
• United States
15 Apr 07
I'm not sure I really understand your dilemma here. I'm confused about the part about helping someone cheat through college. If you wrote an article containing some information and/or your opinion, how is that helping someone to cheat? Was it an abstract? I think anything that is written and published--either in print or on the net--can be used incorrectly for cheating or plagarizing. We are supposed to give credit if we use or refer to someone else's work. If someone uses your info to cheat that is their problem, not yours. You can't control how others may use your work. Perhaps I am not answering your question. I may need more clarification about what you wrote.
• United States
14 Apr 07
I'm surprised and somewhat, yes, disappointed that you decided to take that job. Schools fight that kind of thing all the time, and the sites that sell term papers and other types of pre-written material to students are helping to perpetuate the idea that it's alright to cheat your way through school. I'm glad that you're having second thoughts about it, though, and hope that you eventually make the right decision. A couple of thoughts that might help: would you want your child taught by someone who cheated to get their grades and their degree? If you're ever in a position to present a resume to a possible employer, would you want material written for such a site to be part of it? Finally, considering that there are other ways to make a career as a freelancer, is this really necessary?
• India
15 Apr 07
You have certainly brought out some very much valid points, even in your earlier comment.I certainly had not thought about the possibility of a person cheating through college only to land up with a teaching position. But then, let me tell you of an interesting personal experience of mine. I have always been a hard working and conscientious person who has never tried to pass off others work as my own. I was studying for my bachelors in computer science and was bogged down with the prospect of working on two projects, that too all alone, as nobody else was assigned along with me. The syllabus was so designed that if you were to honestly do both the projects, it would require something of a miracle to pass the other theory subjects and most of my friends were actively copying projects and using stuff downloaded right off the net. All except me. On the day before the exam, I had one project ready, but the other was not even started. An old friend of mine who got to know my predicament rushed over to my place with his project which was of a similar nature, made the required changes to it, prepared the documentation for it and literally thrust it onto me. I was touched by his affection, but I told him that I couldn't cheat. He told me that the consequences were that I would have to lose an entire year. A penalty for being honest? Could I not make up for that dishonesty by putting in effort elsewhere? I finally took his word and his work and cleared my exams. I went on to be a teacher part time, and wonder of wonders, it was project time for the students and I was assigned to help students with projects which were almost identical to the one that I had 'stolen'. I considered this to be an opportunity to redeem myself and worked twice as hard, helping out all the teams of students with all their work. You see, I cheated my way out of college, actually went on to be a teacher and a very good one at that, according to most of the feedback that I received. Well, I guess my case is an exception to the rule. I just felt you must know. Many thanks anyway.
@oyenkai (4398)
• Philippines
2 Dec 08
do you actually need the job? Can't you find a different job? Like freelance over the net where you don't have to cheat? Just the mere fact that you're not confident about your decision already means that your conscience is bothering you and that in turn means that something's not right and that you don't really want to do it. that's like a government official saying, if I don't steal the tax payers' money, somebody else will, so why not me?? How do you feel about that? thanks for the comment on my discussion!
@Rosepetal (352)
• United States
15 Apr 07
Go with what you feel comfortable with. If you go to www.passiontosuccess you'll find many writing jobs. Just look for the link under Debs Daily leads. Go to Legit Jobs first. Good Luck.
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
15 Apr 07
I would have written those papers also, encouraging the fellow to do some of his own. You know more about him that we do. You allowed for doubt to come into your life and yet you are now climbing up to a higher plateau. Who did you sign up with, if I am there, I will support you. Make up your own mind and do what works for you. Again you know the client better than we and you will always meet a dissenter and that should not cloud your own judgement. You pretty much know in your gut when something is wrong and it pays to listen to that not some nay-sayer. Good luck and keep us posted to your successes.
@easy888 (10405)
• Australia
15 Apr 07
Good on you, you can now earn money by writing. SO does it mean that you have to write for that website when they assign a job for you or you can choose something you like and write it? In the ethical point of view, it may be wrong to do homework or assignment for someone, but even those students do not find you to write and help, they will still have someone to help them just because they are lazy,and you are just doing your job responsibilities as a writer and earn extra money for living. It is just someone pay you in return for service.
• Canada
14 Apr 07
I've come to discover that any experience is good experience. Best of luck to you on your projects now and in the future.