Moral Convictions – Are There any Jobs You Won’t Take as a Copywriter?

Posted on August 3, 2011


Photo courtesy of Suhendri Utet @ Dreamstime.comBusinesses that have different morals than you do. Businesses that sell a product you don’t believe in. Businesses that are dishonest. Businesses that try to cover up bad reviews by paying you to “build them up.” Businesses that you know are scamming people…..Where do you draw the line?

I believe it is different for everyone. For me, I wouldn’t want to buy something based on a lie. I wouldn’t want to be sold on a product that doesn’t meet the hype. Therefore, I will never accept jobs that compromise my moral or ethical beliefs.

I learned my lesson during one of my very first jobs. The client didn’t disclose any information about the topic I was going to be writing on. It turned out to be articles that provided instructions on how to pass a drug test – without stopping the drugs.

I was mortified. For years now, I have been drug free. I ran that game. I almost lost everything important to me because of it. I was faced with a huge dilemma: let the client down or write about something that I strongly oppose. In the end, the client was given a complete refund, a sincere apology and a request to please forward all topic information ahead of time. Since then, I have become adamant about knowing the full details before accepting a project.

Besides moral and ethical convictions, I have creative convictions. I won’t ever ghostwrite a fiction novel. Yes, I know. There is often some good money in ghostwriting a novel. I have issues with it though. In most situations, I have no issues handing over copyright for work that I have written and researched extensively but somehow, in my mind, fiction novels are different.

Fiction novels, more so than researched content, take on the personality the writer. Life experiences, morals, feelings, depth and soul of the author can be found in their fiction writing. By ghostwriting a fiction novel, I am taking the soul out of the would-be writer. I am robbing them of an opportunity to explore who they are, what they believe and how much potential they really have buried deep inside.

Also, if the client wants another book written later on and I am not available for the project, the soul of the author is further compromised. No matter how hard you try, you can never duplicate the soul of another author. The first book and the second book would be different – fans would notice. In my opinion, it is a lose-lose situation.

All of this, of course, is just my opinion. For every copywriter, it is different. There is no real wrong or right – just personal boundaries. It can be difficult to set those boundaries sometimes, especially when your clients are your bread and butter. I have found, however, that when you are true to yourself, the right clients will often find you.