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Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions

Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions

by Jake on September 13, 2010

Post image for Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions

I’m still digesting Joey’s post from last week, “The Ghost Materializes“. Thankfully, on Friday morning, I was able to get together to hang out with both Joey and Ed over a cup of coffee. It was a great time to catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives and work, and to discuss writing and ghostwriting.

Joey’s post, as I told the guys, was poignant for me as I’ve been feeling the itch to begin writing a novel of my own. I was great to talk about how we might balance careers as ghostwriters and vocations as writers. For Joey, it means creating some revenue streams through some great projects he’s been working on like 26Blocks. I encourage you to check out Joey’s project, which Ed was a contributor for. It’s very cool.

For me, it’s meant taking advantage of my success as a ghostwriter to expand my company from just me to others working under my company to service clients. I now have a project with a great client, which I’ve brought a sub-contractor under Elevate to do the majority of the writing. I’m doing project management and reviewing work as it is produced, giving input as needed. This has worked well for me, and has freed me up to focus on some things that I’m passionate about while allowing me to keep my core business moving forward. I’m thankful for that opportunity.

Over the next year or two, I’m going to be working on my own novel. I’ve been lucky enough to build up some great relationships with editors and agents, and I think it’s time to produce something of my own that might be of interest to them. I’ll still be ghostwriting, working on projects with client’s whom I love and whose work I’m passionate about, and I’ll be working with new clients with my model of sub-contracting and project management.

Very few of us woke up and decided our life’s call was to be a ghostwriter. I mused on that a couple weeks back in my post, “The Plight of the Ghostwriter“. I know for me, I fell into it. It was good money and enjoyable work that kept me on task to write every day. Very few aspiring writers could ever dream of being so lucky.

Thankfully, we don’t have to create a dichotomy between being writers and being ghostwriters. It just takes a little creativity—and maybe a little sacrifice, either on the client/income side or on the time/opportunity side. But the beauty of pursuing passions is that you rarely feel the full brunt of your sacrifices. They’re most often blunted by the thrill of doing something that burns deep within you.

I’ve been thankful for getting to know Joey and Ed over the years. I’ve learned much from them and gained much inspiration. I’m also thankful for the community we’re building here at GhostWritePro.com. Please, do engage. As writers and ghostwriters, we need each other. It’s a lonely profession and one that benefits from robust dialogue.

Coming to the end of this post, I want you to think about your passions. Have you put them on the sidelines to pursue other people’s passions for them? If so, how do you plan on balancing both the demands of writer-for-hire and your own personal ambitions? For those of you who’ve found the balance, what’s the secret?

Till next week, happy writing!

[Photo by Kacey]

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily September 13, 2010 at 4:59 pm

While I wouldn’t say my life’s call is to be a ghostwriter, I would say it is something that I thought about doing before the opportunity came along. It was my last semester of college when I started developing the idea of working as a ghostwriter. At the time, I was helping a woman write her term papers, and since she didn’t have much writing skill at all, most of the time she simply gave me her ideas, and I put them in a readable format. It felt a lot like ghost writing, and I kind of liked it. A week after the term “ghostwriting” popped into my head, a gentleman had posted an ad on my school’s career website looking for a ghostwriter to help him write his memoirs for publication. So I jumped on the chance.

I’ve got to say, I often feel like I’m out of my league and as if I have no idea what I’m doing. I mean, sure, I like to write. It’s something I’m supposedly good at. But really the only experience I’ve had with writing is for school papers, creative writing classes, and what I do on my own time. I’ve never had anything published, so as I work with this man on the memoirs that he plans to publish, sometimes I question if I’m the right person for the job. I jumped at this chance with excitement because it seemed like a sign, an immediate answer to my desires. But once I really started getting into the meat of this project, it felt a lot like jumping off a ledge and not knowing how far down the bottom was.

I really do appreciate the site you guys have set up. It’s been an encouragement and a resource that I like to come to when I’m feeling in over my head. I can’t say that I’m a professional or anything. But like you said, ghostwriting is sort of just something I fell into.

Jake September 14, 2010 at 7:38 am


Thanks for the comment. I’ve got to say, what you’re experiencing is something probably all writers experience no matter how successful they’ve been. It’s that feeling of can I pull this project off. It seems no matter how well you’ve done before, that new project just might be the one you fail on. The only advice I can give is to simply get up every morning and continue writing. After a while you’ll become comfortable with the insecurities and neurosis that come with being a writer—it’s what makes us unique!

ben snedeker September 14, 2010 at 7:42 am

I guess ghost writing is the kind of thing a person has to fall into, to some extent; especially a person with an ego and a sense of aesthetic. I’m working on my very first ghostwriting job right now, and I’m still forming an opinion about the business. It’s difficult writing as someone else. But you know what? It’s liberating, too. Under my belt are a MFA from Emerson College and some great compliments from a handful of very talented fiction writers. But to date my work goes unpublished. What’s my hang up as a fiction writer? Boiled down, it’s the age-old inner critic. I have a hard time telling myself that what I’ve written is finished. As a ghost writer, the inner critic has taken a back seat, partly because of deadlines, but largely because as I’ve delved deeper into this project I’ve enjoyed that I’ve discovered the author, and *he’s not me*.

I’m no stranger to falling into things. While I moonlight as a ghostwriter, I work full time as a Financial Officer at MIT. Now that’s a job you fall into! My department has me running the ship of finance, and I walked in with no research/non-profit experience apart from what I could learn on the job. Despite there being no direct relationship between higher ed administration and ghost writing, there is a general connection, and that is: people who are successful in both industries need to be able to be comfortable working in jobs they’ve fallen into. There are myriad jobs like this out there – jobs that you never thought of when you answered your high school guidance counselor’s question, “what do you want to for a living?” The exceptional people do two things: 1. They retain their ability to dream, reminding themselves that there is something greater that they will achieve. 2. They acknowledge that what they “fell into” is experience that helps make them exactly who they are; it’s not retractable. By embracing it, they find a way to engage their dream.

I think this is precisely what is cool about ghost writing. It has become part of my writing life. True, when I bump into fellow MFA grads around Boston, I tell them that I’m whoring myself out, but they have all said, “yeah, but you’re getting paid to write. So what’s the problem?” Good call. I’ll get the next round.

Jake September 14, 2010 at 8:22 am

Great thoughts, Ben. Oh…and I’ll take you up on that next round :)

Andrew September 15, 2010 at 6:07 am

Wanted to echo the sentiments of Emily (above); I’ve found the Ghostwrite Pro posts really helpful and interesting over the last few months. Hope you guys aren’t running out of steam… (always difficult, as Joey’s post mentioned, to think of something new to blog about).

Agreed with Joey on the usefulness of the web when touting for work; I’ve yet to pick anything up despite the hours spent networking, blogging, tweeting etc. That seems to be the big issue for me, finding the next job. Just finished ghosting a book for an entrepreneur here in the UK (I got into ghosting via journalism), but as ever, totally poor at marketing myself for the next opportunity, and so falling back on less creative projects: proofing, editing and wotnot. Any tips?

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