15 Problems that Ghostwriters will probably relate to
You have a plan, it’s to write for the rest of your life. For money! Day in, day out, that’s all you’re going to do. But those bills need paying, so you write for others. It’s writing, right? But is it fun?
Those who hide their talents behind a mask go through a lot. All of the work, very little glory and quite a bit of hassle. Yes, it’s now time for a list of 15 GHOSTWRITER PROBLEMS.
#1 Time is Money — Yes, you’re the best thing ever because you’re writing their beautiful and truly fascinating story. That is until you dare to put a price on your time. Yes, it takes a LONG time!
#2 The Gamble — If the deal is that you get a percentage of sales, it could all come to nothing. Your inner dreamer whispers that it could be a bestseller. Your bills just sigh and look at you. What to do?
#3 To Note or Not to Note — When you meet them, they WILL talk and talk and talk (and talk). They’re expecting you to literally take notes like a journalist throughout. No. For me it’s dictaphone all the way.
#4 Playback is a Bitch — Hearing your own voice asking them question after question, prompting them with thoughtful grunts, all recorded on the Dictaphone for hours on end is torture. Do you REALLY sound like that?
#5 Time Served — You’ve already listened to the stories once. Now you have to do it all over again, and again, and again as you try to decipher what they’re saying and turn it into something readable. What did he just say?
#6 Wanderlust/Wanderhate — You have to meet them, as it just isn’t the same on the phone. Of course, they’re never round the corner and who’s paying for this train, by the way?
#7 There’s Nowt Queer as Folk — Of course, they may turn out to be a complete asshole, but it’s a gig, right? Grin and bear it, sunshine, especially if they’re paying. You don’t actually have to like them, just their Benjamin Franklins!
#8 It Takes all Types — They can be has-beens and never-beens and can be egomaniacs, yet the people who have actually made it are the nice ones. It’s like a lucky dip of human beings that we hope you get to win at.
#9 Bullshit Deflector Engaged — You listen to their ‘memories’ agog, trying not to laugh at their tale of fighting a bear or seducing a supermodel. At least they believe what they’re telling you even if you don’t.
#10 Grasshopper Stories — Their stories intersect and their concentration falters and they wax lyrically for hours. Threading them altogether into something coherent is so much fun.
#11 SSSSH! Off The Record — They confide EVERYTHING in you and you’re recording it. You know too much that you can’t tell anyone BUT YOU REALLY WANT TO. One day, you’ll bury them all with the information. Maybe.
#12 Constant Chasing — Whether they’ve paid you or not, they’re pretty sure they own you and every minute of your time. Cue 100 calls a week asking “how’s it going”. You bite your tongue.
#13 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. — There isn’t any. They don’t understand off days creative flow, as they are the sun in their own little universe and all else revolves around them. Turn that phone off and have a break (from them)!
#14 Your Story Vs Their Story — Writing someone else’s words just isn’t as fun. It takes ages, and you answer to someone else. Why do you do it? Oh yes, cash. Please oh please, let there be some cash.
#15 The Crunch — When you’re spent, wrung out, bored of them but you’ve delivered. It seemed like forever and then they move the goalposts and won’t pay. Praise be for laws! And Lawyers. Sic him, boy!
We had an ‘almost ran’. Just missing the list was “#16 Is It Spelled Ghostwriter or Ghost Writer?”
Article by Prose Partner Paul who is a ghostwriter who is currently experiencing #15 and trying to get someone to pay up for fifty-eight thousand sweat-stained words.
Interact with him on Prose where he is @PaulDChambers and on Twitter as @MannersCost.
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Originally published at blog.theprose.com on February 24, 2016.