Writing Ethics Matter – JLD Writes

A middle school student wrote me for information for an argumentative research paper on “ethics.” She asked about my ethics as a commercial freelance writer. I wrote back and decided to post it.


Treat every client with respect. Meet their business needs: A person who needs a small job is treated the same as a a person who needs a big job.

Clearly explain the value of what I do: Writing isn’t just sitting down and pounding out words. It includes time needed for research, getting to know the client’s style and expectations, marketing and ongoing consultation. I’m committed to make it “just right” for clients, providing quality end products.

Return phone calls and e-mails, and complete jobs in a timely manner—“say what I’ll do, do what I say.” Communicate, communicate, communicate! Building positive business relationships through clear communication is a must!

Don’t allow ego to be a problem. I offer sound advice to clients, but I must also be willing to “let go” of a perfectly written piece if a client wants something different. It’s the professional thing to do unless what they suggest is just awful. If so, ethically I feel responsible to point out why to them, and make new suggestions that will help their business look good while still making them happy.

Seek their feedback—know there is always room for improvement. I try to apply what I learn from my clients; I tell them so. It’s a team approach we both can appreciate, as we learn from each other.

Fee quotes clients can trust: I quote by the hour, and by the project: I find out budget allowances and strive to stay within it. Sometimes I put in more hours, but I honor my quote to them unless they are asking for more than we first agreed upon—then I communicate why the additional charges and confirm that they are in agreement.

Offer discounts to friends and nonprofit organizations: This is my way to give back; help a friend or nonprofit business get a writing project done.

Contracts: If a client wants a contract signed that states the copy I write is original work, or if they need a project quote in writing, I provide a written contract.

Written quotes in the copy: I give credit where credit is due; to a person, website, magazine, newspaper, etc.

Be a professional, not a doormat: Have the courage to turn down a client that brings more pain than gain.

Be gracious if I get burned: I don’t require money up front in most cases. I have been burned, but seldom—I learn from it and move on.

I love my work, and have fun when I work with clients: I don’t take myself too seriously. This helps clients to relax, too.

Have a great work day! I am…


professional writer, ,