Created on: January 08, 2013
Sensitivity is something that can affect a freelance writer’s work in more than one way. It is a good thing for a writer to consider the sensitivity of others, but being over-sensitive can cause loss of income and can be a serious impairment to writing success.
Before examining how personal sensitivity can have a negative impact on a freelance writer's work it is worthwhile taking a look at how sensitivity affects a freelance writer’s work in a positive way.
The most important aspect of sensitivity for a writer is awareness of sensitive issues, and for writing in a way that will not cause offence or undue concern. A freelance writer who is sensitive to these issues is more likely to achieve success, and has a better chance of being offered regular assignments by clients who require sensitive pieces of writing.
How sensitivity affects other people
It is important for a freelance writer to be mindful of sensitive information, in particular when writing about something that has been revealed in a private interview, about which the Evaluation Trust offers guidance. A freelance writer should always take care to safeguard confidentiality, maintain trust and, when required, protect anonymity.
Sensitivity is also a concern when writing articles on health, fitness, diet or lifestyle choices. Articles on these topics should never be written in a way that will make a sensitive reader feel ashamed, guilty or afraid.
When writing an article that sets out to explain how to do something, safely and easily, a freelance writer should be sensitive to the needs of any reader who has been searching for that information online. The opening paragraph of a “how-to” article should assure a reader that the article will help in achieving whatever it is they wish to do, rather than confirming someone's fear that it is difficult, daunting or mystifying.
A sensitive freelance writer does not want to alienate any reader, so will avoid the use of generalities and absolute statements, such as “We all know someone who...” or “Everyone at some time has....”
The same applies when it comes to use of gender-sensitive language as highlighted by The Writing Center. In order to avoid excluding readers on account of their gender a sensitive freelancer will avoid the use of gendered nouns and masculine pronouns when referring to a body of people. A piece written about leadership or management, for example, should not
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