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.)

Sunday Morning Coffee

I’m waking up early again, thanks to my new schedule (more on that tomorrow) and thanks to that, sleeping in on the weekends looks more like 7am than 10am these days. Let’s face it, I could never sleep very late. So here I am, coffee in hand — Sprouts Mexican dark roast, listening to a romance novel (When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James), putting together a list. It’s been a little while so I’ve got a few things I think you’ll enjoy.

40 Reasons Why I Write

This morning Marisa shared her own reasons for writing and pointed back to the challenge that Bryan Hutchinson at Positive Writer started. I thought it would be a great exercise for me to sit down and contemplate why I write, so I minimized Marisa’s post and didn’t read any further so I could go into my own list without any other influences and share it here.

Here we go. Forty reasons why I write.

  1. It comes naturally to me.
  2. I love stories.
  3. I believe I was born for it. This is the thing I have to give the world.
  4. It gives me a sense of freedom.
  5. I feel accomplished when a story is done.
  6. I feel frustrated, but inspired to work through it, when I am stuck in a story.
  7. To illuminate truth and beauty.
  8. Honestly? Because I have a deadline.
  9. I see stories everywhere.
  10. The mundane interests me because I feel like there is so much beneath the surface–this is what I want to share. Life and value in people/places/things that so much of the world forgets.
  11. It was one of the first things I realized I could do on my own.
  12. There is history to be recorded.
  13. I believe every voice has value.
  14. I want to be heard.
  15. I want to be appreciated.
  16. I would like to be famous for something and singing the B.C. Clark jingle didn’t work.
  17. I have been writing, or trying to, for as long as I can remember.
  18. As a child I wanted to read and practicing writing improved my reading.
  19. There were stories in my head from a young age and I wanted to put them on paper.
  20. I had a lot of notebooks.
  21. Writing opened the door to more complex, critical thinking.
  22. I communicate better through written words than speaking face to face.
  23. I feel most myself when I am writing.
  24. I like the community that surrounds it.
  25. It is rather solitary, but through writing groups I have learned a lot. Including which writing groups not to join.
  26. I love complex sentences.
  27. I feel like it’s a skill not so many people have anymore, for the most part because they don’t exercise it.
  28. My first kindergarten memory is the inflammation that turned into a callus on my middle finger. My teacher said it would go away when I wrote more. Twenty-seven years later, it’s still a little callused.
  29. I’m paid to write.
  30. I kept an almost daily journal for most of my life.
  31. Writing got me through rough times.
  32. Journaling was a door into more serious writing.
  33. People generally left me alone when I was writing (brothers, annoying boys sitting near me at school).
  34. I’m good at it.
  35. It’s something I own.
  36. I thrived on praise, and probably still do a little, and hearing my teachers compliment this skill was the encouragement I needed.
  37. I “told stories” when I was a kid. Only sometimes I framed them like they were real and wouldn’t say until the end that I had made it up. Writing things down instead of telling them meant I didn’t get in trouble for lying.
  38. My favorite book heroines were writers.
  39. Anne Shirley Blythe. Yes, she gets her own number on this list.
  40. I want to leave a mark.