Today, my question to you new inexperienced ghostwriters out there is…
Who do you think you are?
Often this question has a negative connotation, usually being aimed at a narcissistic ego-maniac.
But really, who do you think you are, freelance writer?
I came to realize something. If I don’t think my work is the best, then why would someone else? After all, I know my stuff better than anybody else’s. Think about it: when you are looking to hire someone’s services, be it a web designer, editor, or someone to repair your car do you go with the person who “hopes” they can do a good job?
See, when you’re first starting out as a ghost, you may not have the extensive resume/portfolio that looks impressive. Many of us get stuck at what we don’t have yet. It’s a two-sided situation: you need the experience but at the same time you need the chance-that golden opportunity to shine and to show what you’ve got. Three things I recommend to ghostwriters when starting out:
1. Do an internship or unpaid gig. Craigslist has squillions of people looking for free talent. I know, it’s not my favorite thing to do, either, but you need experience. Dean Kootnz isn’t going to hire you and you have absolutely no practice starting and finishing a manuscript before. Have a personal plan for your free work and what you intent to get out of it. Don’t enter into it saddled with insecurities. Instead, why not change your perspective to empower yourself? Say, for example, “I’m writing magazine articles for no pay, yes, but I’m not in this position to make bucks. My goal is to gain experience and build my confidence.”
2. Know yourself. What kind of ghostwriting do you want to do? What inspires you? What are you good at? Don’t focus on linear thinking with this, such as, I like X, but X doesn’t make any money. See, when you follow your heart, you can never fail. It puts you in control of your destiny. I specialize in writing memoirs because that’s what I love and am good at. I have a social work degree and studied psychology, so I have awesome interviewing and people skills. Ghostwriting books takes great people skills. You have to be able to interview people. You have to enjoy people and find them interesting. You have to be non-judgmental as well, for you may come across a client who has committed a crime or lives a lifestyle completely different than yours and they have to be able to trust you won’t taint their story with a biased opinion. Not only that, you can’t give them your creative best if you secretly are repulsed by them. It’s a working relationship-and a personal one, too-especially in my line of work writing memoirs, so keep that in mind.
3. Try different things. If you’re not sure about what kind of ghostwriting you want to do, then try out different things. I did magazine writing for a while and hated it! It wasn’t for me, but for others it is perfect. Another important note: nothing you are currently doing-or have done in the past-even if it isn’t directly related to writing- is preparing you for what you truly want. Nothing, no experience, is in vain. It all has a purpose, so write nothing off as a waste of time-no pun intended.
well, that’s it for now. more on the subject to come!
until next time, keep writing!