The Ghost Materializes

I haven’t been sick and I haven’t forgotten to write my posts, but yes, it’s been more than two weeks since my last post. There are a few small reasons I’ve been paralyzed and unmotivated to post and one really big reason.

There are about 15 ghostwriting-specific topics I can write about. After that, the topics spread out into writing craft concerns that are general in nature and apply to all kinds of writing, not just ghostwriting. Truth is, I’m pretty much out of ghostwriting topics, so coming up with a new one every week is darn near impossible for me, let along one new one every month. If people asked questions, I’d write a response every week, but I’ve answered all the questions I’ve ever received about ghostwriting. Now what?

I don’t get work from the Internet. Not a single job has come to me through the Internet. Not from my website or from Twitter. Not from Facebook. Since 1990, writing work has been coming to me from word of mouth, personal recommendations,  or because I met someone in person. My personal website is needed, but only as a portfolio to point people to who’ve already heard about me.

It’s not very personal. As much as I like connecting with other ghostwriters – and I really do – I’d much rather sit down over a cup of coffee and have a chat,  exchange emails or talk on the phone. There are a couple people who’ve posted comments in my posts that I’d like to do that with, but that’s about it.

It doesn’t pay. No matter how easy a post flows, it still takes me about two hours to write a post. I don’t make any money for that time and remember, I’ve never gotten work from the Internet. When I want to write for fun, I work on my novel. Writing posts is not what I’d call “fun”. It’s work. It connects me to other ghostwriters, which I like, but that’s all.


I’m a Ghost, but I’m Starting to Materialize.

I’m burning out on my role as a behind-the-scenes ghost. I’ve realized that I have important things to say about this world and my perspectives about it and the people that populate it. I’m working on a novel to express that. I’m expanding a successful art exhibit to express it. I’m stepping up as a better man and husband to express it. Expressing those things through the voice of another – in the context of a book – is getting harder for me to do as I become more aware of who I am as a person.

Can I do all those things as a ghost? Sure. Other people do them. I could. I have. but here’s a bit of background about how I got into ghostwriting that might help you understand my challenge.

I fell into ghostwriting.

In 2002, I wrote my first novel, ‘die reading’. A woman asked me to coach her to write a kids book. I said okay. When we met four months later, she announced she’d just learned she had terminal spinal cancer. I coached her to write her autobiography until her chemo visits prevented her from writing. That’s when I stepped in to write her book, as if I were her.

I’d spent my whole life to that point role-playing other people. Mimicking someone was second nature for me. It took a year to write her book. Only afterward did I learn that what I’d done was called ‘ghostwriting’ and that one could make a nice living doing it.

It’s nearly 10 years later. I know who I am now. I don’t mimic another person unless I’m pretending to be that person when I’m writing in their voice. I can do that on a small scale and still enjoy it – letters, websites, that sort of thing – but an entire book in someone else’s voice? Unless it’s a fiction novel, I’m pretty much over it.

So now what?

I really hesitated writing this post today. It’s more personal than any previous post of mine on It’s the first my ghostwriting colleagues, Jake and Ed, will have heard of it.  It probably sounds like I’m getting out of ghostwriting all together.

Truth is, I don’t know that that’s the case. I only know that I’ve been a ghost most of my life, long before I ever started writing as one. Now that I’m beginning to materialize and take solid form, I like what I see. I like it better than I thought I would. It’s not as easy to hide in public, or sneak up on people when they least expect it, or slip effortlessly through walls, but it does have it’s perks.