As a freelance writer, I would admit that there are good times- especially when my account gets credited.
But there is no denying the fact that there are bad days as well.
My bad days are often related to giving up credit for work which I have put in so much into a.k.a. ghostwriting. For some books that I ghostwrite, I don’t feel so much pain in letting go of the credit associated with the writing of the book- especially if the subject matter is remotely related to me and I feel no attachment whatsoever to it, but for others, it is hard work, and much more than that, it is PAINFUL.
A friend and I were discussing about the merits and demerits of ghostwriting and it was obvious that he wasn’t having any of it anymore, giving up credit for work done was beginning to get to him.
I’m not left out…there are days when I lie in bed and wonder if I should quit the freelance life, especially when it comes to ghostwriting, but the next morning, I open my laptop and the words keep flowing. I can’t just seem to stop; it certainly feels like an addiction! What happened between the night before when I contemplated ending my ghostwriting career and the next morning is what I want to talk about in this post.
1. Words are my craft
Those are the words that are often whispered into my mind during the course of the night. Sometimes, it feels like I need to hoard those words so that I don’t give them to someone else, but you know what they say about you getting better with practice? In my experience, it is in writing that I find this to be the most true. My brain has so acclimatized to writing that it has become reflexive for me. It is with words that I practice my craft and the more I write, the better I become at it.
2. I plan to write a book- for me.
It also helps when I remember that I will have a book to my name soon enough. I don’t know if this stimulates anyone else to write, but it sure does, for me. For the freelance writer, I think one of the best things you can do for yourself is to write for YOURSELF. Even if you are just journaling your thoughts and feel like it might never end up being published, still pen it down, or type it down as the case may be. Take note of the fact that in the long run, ghost writing is not likely to put you in the limelight (just saying).
3. With each book I ghostwrite, I learn how to write better
Ghostwriting actually improves my writing, because the more you write the beeter you get at it.
While there are days when it feels like you are giving up your best work to another, there is always a best after that one, and your writing can be just like wine that gets sweeter with age.
Words are our craft; we must never forget that as we keep on freelance writing.
4. It’s actually not my idea
Ideas are powerful, and for the person to have come up with ideas on which a book is hinged, I gotta give him/her some credit!
5. Seriously, I can’t get blamed if something goes wrong!
Ehm…I know this sounds a little bit dubious. But really, if something doesn’t sit well with the audience of the article/book who gets all the firebranded speeches and negative comments? Definitely not me, as when someone chooses to use words written for them by someone else, the very act of doing this means they have taken full responsibility for the accuracy of the content, and for their message being authentically aligned with their own values, beliefs and opinions.
6. I won’t do it if it doesn’t sit right with me
I’ve written articles, e-books and books that were completely out of my zone, like I knew nothing about them before getting the contract but somehow I still made it through. I actually consider it a challenge because not only do I learn loads of new stuff from it, I also get the satisfaction of completing something I never knew I could do. This is true, except when the topic/ idea does not sit well with me. Doing such a job would mean that I made a choice between integrity and money- I chose money. Yeah, I could keep this to myself, but I think I’d rather not. It helps me stay sane.
7. Not all of my freelancing involves ghostwriting
Here I’m referring expressly to my other writings, including writing on blogs as well as editing articles for grammar and structural errors. This doesn’t require as much mental energy as the actual conversion of an idea into a book or something of that nature.
To the freelance writer who is about to give up today, this is for you! I can’t ask you not to give up, but at the very least, I can ask that you consider the words of a fellow freelance writer.
For freelancers who’ve been in the game for a while, how do you handle giving up credit in exchange for cash over time? How have you been able to stop it from getting to you? Tell us in the comments section below.