As befits a ghost, I live on a top floor, under the roof. Actually, until recently, I lived in a very old house. Even better, for my ghostly needs. It had a fabulous attic, creaky stairs, and windy shutters. At least now my current, top floor flat often has someone walk across the roof. Oh, possibly a real-life spectre, I thought, how fitting. But no, it’s my resident heron. (At least, I think it’s a heron… feel free to write me an angry response if I’m wrong.)
[Say hello to Harriet the Heron at the end of this newsletter.]
Now that you know where I live (kind of), let me take you inside my life as a ghostwriter.
I write books but I am not the author. I’m the wordsmith. The author hires me, the one with the knowledge, the interesting life, the experience. The wordsmith (me) turns their ideas, information, their life into sentences and those sentences into a book.
Words are work. There is no mysticism here. That’s where ghostwriters differ from your traditional authors. Authors are like, where’s my muse? Where’s my inspiration? (I know, I’m an author too.) Being a ghostwriter means taking a no nonsense approach to writing.
Being a ghostwriter teaches you that crafting sentences do not wait for any muse.
You have to write that effing sentence and write it in a way that works for your client. Your client has the knowledge (hopefully), and you turn that knowledge into the right kind of sentence.
The thing I love about ghostwriting is that it is pure craft. It is choosing which words work, which sentence goes where, when the chapter starts and ends. It is taking the life of a person, or their work, or their knowledge, and turning it into a story.
So, who are the people who might want a book ghostwritten? Ok, so it’s obvious why a celebrity might want a book written about them. But what about your average neighbour? I mean, you never know what they might be hiding… but seriously, anyone might want a book ghostwritten. That’s the thing. Ghostwriters write for the famous, yes, the semi-famous, also, but most write for the not-really-famous but very interesting. A business expert, for example, who wants a book to add to their reputation and drive sales. An adventurer who wants to document the crazy places they’ve visited. A health coach who wants to impart their knowledge to others.
A new prospective client of mine is a motorcycle-obsessed 80-year-old. How cool is that?
But you know the real secret about ghostwriting? Many people who want a book ghostwritten are very normal, very average people who want their lives turned into a story. They don’t even always want to sell it; they want to own the story of their average life and maybe share it with family and friends. And you know what, the average is just fascinating.
Until next time.
Your friendly resident ghost,
P.S. I don’t hide in the shadows, check me out on insta @caravioola and twitter @caraviolabland.