Why do I love being a ghostwriter? Let me count the ways…actually, here's 7 reasons why I love being a ghostwriter.
If you don't know what a ghostwriter is, then pop over and read this post to bring yourself up-to-date. Don't worry, I'll wait...
...Good, you're back.
1. I Get To Work From Home
This is not so unusual in these pandemic times, and I’m sure most who work from home would agree that not having to dress to impress is very liberating.
A lot of my interviews are on Zoom, as my clients can be all over the world, so I wear a decent shirt for the camera over pyjama pants or gym tights.
Help! What Do I Wear?
If the client lives in my area, I meet with them in person if they prefer it, which they normally do.
This entails frantic rifling through my wardrobe to find an outfit that says, ‘casual but professional,’ and swearing because I kept that tailored blouse for years and finally got rid of it yesterday.
Being my own boss also means I can work my own hours. So I can give myself permission to slack off because it’s Friday/my birthday/someone else’s birthday/take your dog to work day (I don’t have a dog but if I did, I’d get no work done).
Which then means I am up all night on Sunday finishing my project for a Monday deadline.
But it’s all part of the excitement and living on the edge.
And...because I'm my own boss, I can write my own stuff, like my own breast cancer memoir.
2. I Use My Creativity To Help Others
As a ghostwriter, I write stories for people who don’t have the time, energy or ability to do it themselves.
I specialise in life stories and memoirs, using my creative talents and sometimes my own research to write a story based on information from my client and relevant others about their life.
People who want their life story written have a particular purpose for doing so.
Sometimes it’s just for the family, a legacy for their descendants; other times they want to publish it to inspire and motivate others, especially if they have overcome specific obstacles in their lives.
It's A Real Book
Whatever the reason, my clients are always thrilled to see their story transform from just an idea to a tangible product; a book they can hold and read and sell or give to others.
Sometimes publishing their story can be life-changing – one client, Bob, who was 96, had been wanting to write his life story for over 20 years before I came along and agreed to do it.
You're Never Too Old
Bob’s wife of 70 years had recently died and the process of getting me to write the book gave him a sense of purpose and something to fill in the long, lonely hours.
After he published his book The Ambo – from Field Ambulance to Civil Ambulance and More, he received a lot of local media attention because of his age and his achievements in life.
This gave him even more of a thrill, and he never stopped being excited about finally having his story written for posterity. He passed away recently, but I’m so glad I was able to help make his dream come true in his final years.
Job satisfaction doesn’t get much better than that!
3. I'm Working In My Zone Of Genius
The term zone of genius comes from a book by Gay Hendricks called The Big Leap, which I highly recommend if you haven’t already read it.
He divides your work into four zones - Zone of Incompetence, Zone of Competence, Zone of Excellence and Zone of Genius.
Your zone of genius is your own particular superpower. It’s work that capitalizes on your natural abilities, that gets you ‘in the flow.’
Although it’s work that you love doing and you’re good at, it’s not necessarily always easy.
Often you are pushing the boundaries of what you think you can do – but this is where the growth and learning occurs to make you even more brilliant.
A Comfort Zone Is A Beautiful Place, But Nothing Ever Grows There
I’ve been a professional writer for almost thirty years, but of all the different types of writing I’ve done, ghostwriting is definitely my zone of genius.
I love writing peoples’ stories, and each project I do pushes me out of my comfort zone into new territory and improves my skills.
I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to earn my living working in my zone of genius, as that is where true fulfilment lies.
4. It's A Great Conversation Starter At Parties
I’m not a great party person – I avoid them when I can, but I still find myself at the odd social occasion where I’m meeting people for the first time and they ask me what I do.
‘I’m a ghostwriter’ never fails to elicit a raised eyebrow and often a puzzled look.
But I’m happy to explain what a ghostwriter is and talk about my projects (where I haven’t signed a non-disclosure clause), because telling as many people as I can what I do is the best promotion for my business.
Pstt! Do You Know A Good Ghostwriter?
I never know where my next referral is going to come from – a person I met at a party knows someone who has a cousin who wants someone to writer his memoir…
And if you lose sight of why you're writing it, read this post to remind you of the reasons why you started writing in the first place.
5. I'm Always Learning New Things
The process of interviewing people about their lives and the accompanying research I do means that I am constantly learning new things that I had no idea I was interested in.
Here are some of the topics I have become an ‘expert’ on:
- The workings of an Austin 7 car
- The operations of the Civil Affairs Unit of the Australian Army in the Vietnam War
- The growth and development of the ambulance service in my home state of Queensland, Australia
- The Jenolan Caves, one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions
- Driving road trains in outback Australia.
Down The Rabbit Hole
Of course, while researching various historical events and people, I have often been led astray down the research rabbit hole, finding out all sorts of interesting facts that have no relevance at all to the story I’m writing.
But you never know when a history of female snipers in WW 11 or a working knowledge of hydronic central heating will come in handy.
6. I Can Expand My Repetoire Of Skills
Even though I specialise in life stories and memoirs, I’m willing and able to write any story in the non-fiction space – for example, true crime, historical biography, or business books.
I recently completed a story about a group of individuals whose livelihoods were ruined by the greed and corruption of their state government – a fascinating and challenging topic to write about.
Want To See My Muscles?
Any story that’s based on fact gives me the opportunity to flex my creative muscles, expand my skills and ensure I’m never bored.
7. I Don't Have To Retire
You might not think this is a plus, but when you derive a lot of fulfilment and satisfaction from your work, why would you want to retire?
I Write Therefore I Am
Being a writer is part of who I am and to give that up would mean giving up a part of my identity.
And luckily, sitting at a computer and typing is something I can do as long as I’m able to sit in a chair, and as long as there are people in the world whose stories need telling.
8. Bonus Reason - It's A Whole Lot Of Fun
While there are times that I feel like pulling my hair out when I ask a client a very specific question and they ramble on for 20 minutes about anything BUT the question, being a ghostwriter is just a whole bunch of fun.
I realise I am showing a high degree of nerdiness here but reason 8 really does cap off the 7 reasons why I love being a ghostwriter.
It's simply a really fun thing to do.
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