I was reading my tweets and feeds this morning, and it occurred to me I have wondered since I got into this business how professional writers handle the distinction between their professional persona and their religious and political beliefs, for instance. I have been told by some people professionals in every industry, whether freelance or employee, should keep their beliefs to themselves and keep it business. Still others have said their religious beliefs, especially are an integral part of who they are, that it overflows into the workplace. They say this would be true even in a public work environment, should they not be working for themselves.
Since I began my career in freelance writing, I have read the work of others and seen a mixture of both points of view. There are those who put their name and face out there and say what they have to say and that's that. Then there are those who are more diplomatic, you might say, and choose to keep their professional life strictly on a professional level, regardless of whether they work in an office or a home office.
It is one of the ironies of the freedom of freelancing to think we are free to write whatever we choose for the most part, within the limits of the law, yet the views on whether or not to air strong opinions within the guise of your professional life vary from person to person. I supposed your decision would be based largely on the type writing you plan to do, and who your target audience is. If you are shooting for a twice-weekly analyst's seat on Bill O'Reilly, you better start spouting some strong opinion. If you prefer to keep your reputation strictly to that of a non-partisan contract employee, then it is probably best to keep strong personal opinion out of your writing.
Your target audience will determine your best course of action. If you are looking to catch the eye of a certain group, to be sure you should either be completely for them, or completely against them. If your aim is to get paid to write in a non-personal, completely autonomous way, then you should stick to writing facts. I asked the question on several of my blogging groups to find out the general consensus on personal ideologies in writing. What do you think? If you are a freelance writer, do you have a blog or other site where you express your beliefs publickly? Or, do you keep your two personas separate?
Here are the links to the group discussions on LinkedIn the question started...