Monday, February 11, 2008

What Won't You Write About?

Normally I hate it when people ask questions in blog posts in an attempt to get comments, but hey- I'm curious. I think that most freelance writers have topics that they won't write about. Usually this happens after they're faced with topics that make them uncomfortable. That's certainly the case for one of my Topics I Won't Write About. I'll write about a lot of weird stuff- I actually welcome it. But there are a few things just aren't going to come flying out of my fingertips.

1. Questionable nutritional supplements: I got roped into writing a series of articles about some very questionable supplements once, and it won't happen again. I accepted a project to write about the health benefits of various types of teas. Tea is high in antioxidants and I'm a big believer in these types of natural foods for overall health. Great! After I accepted the project and the money was escrowed I was told that the topic had changed to a type of health supplement. At that point, there wasn't much that I could do about it- I accepted, the money was escrowed and I didn't want to risk bad feedback by backing out. So, I wrote the stupid things. I gave it my all and people are probably out there buying those things right now because of what I wrote. Never again.

2. Male enhancement: Over the past year, it seems like everyone has become interested in male enhancement content. It's everywhere- all over Elance, RAC, Craigslist and anywhere else that freelancers gather. I'm frankly tired of hearing about it. I don't think there are any magic pills or lotions or whatever that can do what they claim. And with all of the hype and the millions spent on these products, shouldn't they be big enough at this point? Exactly how big do they really need to be?

3. Work at home scams: I haven't personally been faced with this one, but I know of several freelance writers who have. I don't care what the pay is, I would never write anything that is likely to scam people who are looking for work at home. Anyone who wants that can look elsewhere or jump off a cliff. Either one.

4. Programming: Programming is obviously not unethical, it's just too complex to be written by someone who doesn't know how to do it. I can research most topics and have a reasonable level of knowledge in order to create items that convey the appropriate information. I can cross reference it, fact check it, and end up with something that is accurate and insightful. I can not, however, do that about programming. It takes a lot more than a few hours of reading to understand the nuances that those types of articles would require.

5. How to "score" with women: Um, no thanks. Women have enough to contend with without this kind of crap. Unfortunately, this has become a cottage industry online. I can't count how many times I've seen people looking for articles and ebooks on this topic. There is a possibility of this kind of content being done tastefully, but the door is open far enough that a few changes could make it harmful. I'm not having any part of it.

So, that's it. Anything else is fair game. As long as it isn't one of these topics, I literally will write about pretty much anything. I would like to hear what other people consider taboo in their own work, if anyone cares to mention it.

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