About a week ago, I got an e-mail from my editor. Would I be willing to write a book about a hot button issue?
When I saw the issue, I cringed. Black Lives Matter.
I didn’t cringe because I disagree. Black lives do matter. I cringe because it is necessary to state it. I cringe because the statement is loaded. And I cringe because I am one town over from Ferguson. If you can’t place that place name, Google “Michael Brown.” This isn’t an academic conversation for me. This is happening in my back yard.
Any time that you write about something personal, you have a bias. You have an opinion on the topic.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t write about something, but it can mean that writing about it will be difficult. The first step is in acknowledging your biases. This might be where my political leaning pays off. I’m more liberal than conservative, but I’m not at the far end of liberal. Show me a source and I can tell you where the author falls on the political spectrum. The situation is, at best, muddy.
One of the things that I like most about this editor is that she doesn’t insist on absolutes. Witnesses contradict each other? Say so. Results were inconclusive? Let your reader know. People contradicting each other? Write that down.
But I stilled worried about my biases muddying the waters so I told my editor where I live. She didn’t even blink. Or at least she didn’t type “blink” in her e-mail. “No, I didn’t know that’s where you live. But I imagine this is something that you’ve already given a lot of thought.”
Thinking and reading. Reading and thinking. Then I begin writing, carefully checking to make sure that my approach is balanced.
Six Red Marbles is looking for freelance writers and editors for K-12 Math and Science.
For the positions in math:
- You need to have written and/or edited mathematics instructional in the past.
- You need expertise in Common Core Math Standards, adaptive learning and concept mapping.
- You have to know Microsoft Word and MathType
For the positions in science, in addition to experience, you need to provide writing samples.
- Instruction on a complex science topic.
- Writing for interactive media.
- Inquiry-based lab lab activities.
For addition information, including where to send your, see the entire help wanted listing at Writing for the Education Market.
Several mornings a week, a make a quick pass through various job boards, looking for listings that pique my interest. While some of them fail to do that, they do succeed in cracking me up. My favorite phrases include:
- “Must have full control of the English language.” Absolutely no rogue adverbs allowed.
- “Passionate but witty writers wanted.” Does the author of this phrase assume that if you are passionate your are dim or that you are humorless?
- “Are you a specialist in your field?” Well, I am a writer and I must be a fair hand at it, but I’m guessing you mean some other field altogether.
While I don’t automatically rule out a job just because of an odd turn of phrase, there are others that I pass up without a second glance. I do not register on boards of various kinds that require a credit card number, I do not submit work to sites that offer payment only to the “top three entries as voted on by your peers,” and I do not work for pennies — even 1000 of them.
Still, I do manage to apply for about 3 jobs a month. Of these, I get a response from 20-30%. Not high, but it does keep the lights on which also means the hard drive is whirring as I work on my next project.