Giving Up the Ghostwriting

For years I’ve meant to sit down and write about my experience with the ins and outs of freelancing, what it is like to deal with clients on a daily basis, the pressures of getting out there and finding the next job while you’re writing like mad to keep up with the one you currently have going, the heartbreak of lost contracts (umm…did you just ghost your ghostwriter?), and what it’s like to be down to your last roll of toilet paper.

Just kidding on the last one. It was never that bad, but sometimes I do get down to the last roll because I’m not so great at planning and I keep it in the hall closet outside the bathroom and then I’ll look and it’s like the opposite of Christmas morning. Surprise! No toilet paper. It’s a character flaw.

It’s like the opposite of Christmas morning. Surprise! No toilet paper.
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I never sat down to write what I imagined could be a series about freelancing or, more specifically, ghostwriting. I did have a draft started about how it was easier for me to write 20k words in a day than to get in 20k steps. I love my FitBit, but honestly can they not think of something that gives that kind of feedback to writers? Good for you! You’ve sat in that chair for the past 4 hours and cranked out 2 incredible chapters! You’re ahead of Marisa! I use Marisa as an example because we regularly have a FitBit challenge going on and I have literally been ahead of her ONCE and I think it was because she was trapped under a pile of papers she was grading.

For one thing I was far too busy writing for work to make myself write a blog post, paying the bills, taking all the trips I’d wanted to take for most of my life, getting my life in order after my marriage ended, and just generally trying to survive and figure out what normal life looked like for me and what I wanted out of my future. You know, really light, fluffy things.

One day this summer I’d finally had it. In truth there was probably a build up to it. If you’re familiar with the Four Tendencies I am an Obliger. Sometimes, when the pressure is on and things have been cooking for a long time, obligers do this “obliger rebellion” thing and basically go nuclear, which is my MO 100%. This isn’t working! I’m stopping right now and finding a different thing! It was a long line of things that led to it. Not feeling a lot of support. Having a client who didn’t stick to timelines. It led to a lot of financial pressure and for me that is STRESS. I had been expecting quite a large sum of money over 3 months. At the end of 2 months we were only 1/3 of the way through the project because of delays on the client’s end. I’ll leave specifics out of it, but suffice to say that it became very clear that for the client this was a hobby that made lots of fun money on the side for him, while for me it was a living — and one that I wasn’t making much of.

So I applied for two jobs and I told myself that if I got an offer I would take it. If I didn’t then I would take it as a sign that I needed to stick with what I was doing for a little longer. Getting back into a traditional job wasn’t something that I had ever pictured myself doing again because I love the freedom of freelancing so much. But real talk for a minute? TAXES, Y’ALL. Holy smokes. I needed something a little more stable, needed to know when my paycheck would be in the mail, and be able to plan a little for my future. While I loved the freedom, I was absolutely tired of everything in my life being up in the air at all times.

I got an interview and I walked out with a job. I realize how lucky this makes me and Now I’m up at the crack of dawn and I’m done in the early afternoon. It’s good, fun, never-boring work and I know exactly when I’m going to be paid. The other great thing? I’ve got 26 books under my belt over the past 3 years. I did a ton of writing, got paid well for it, and now I am only writing for myself. Currently I’m too exhausted to get much done, but that’s where I am on everything. It’s possible I might pick it up again in the future, only if I do it will be on my terms with projects that I love and want to do, not things that I take on because I need the money.

(Any questions about ghostwriting? I might still try to put together a post about it.)

8 Comments

  1. I am so excited for you! I can’t wait to read whatever comes from that mind of yours next. I feel like you’re about to be writing all the things you’ve been wanting to…and some you didn’t even know you wanted. I would love for you to write that article. I would love to freelance and/or ghostwrite. The money would be put to good use, but the experience of writing to the point of seeing it come to completion would be training I could totally use. When it comes to the story I’m writing, I take the words so seriously I’m afraid to write them, I think. Writing like it was literally my job might help with that. There isn’t a question in that, is there? LOL

    1. Making it your job — like really, not just saying you are treating it as a job — is such a different experience. I recommend it to anyone who writes. The feel of it is so different. I think you’ll learn quickly how to motivate yourself to get something written when you have no choice but to do it.

  2. To be fair, the only reason I can get such a high step count is because I have a dog that is very needy, and if she doesn’t get her 4 walks a day, she will murder me in my sleep.

    Also, I love how you explained your transition. I’m totally an obliger too. And while I’m excited for your new job, know that I will be making you write very soon…

  3. Elizabeth, I’m happy for your new direction, even if it means changing things up a bit. Obligers of the world unite! (Thanks for the quiz link… I was a tad surprised at the outcome, rebel that I am. 🙂 Things are never as permanent as they seem, and you have an undeniable gift for writing — plus, a good head on your shoulders. Ghost writing may not have panned out, but WRITING will eventually. Keep it up, kiddo!

  4. Elizabeth…I would be the same way…I would want to have a a more reliable income and not be stressed as to when my paycheck would arrive. I am so sorry for the problems you have had to go though….however, I think your future is going to be bright with God by your side! Love you!! Blessings in your new job!!

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