This week, we’ll hear from freelance writer, Ashley Wagner with her experiences as a ghostwriter. 

A generation of information offers no shortage of opportunities to grow as a writer. From lengthy passages on Instagram (you have those friends, too!), to more concisely written tweets, to Facebook updates and blog posting – you can create and post in seconds!

But.

What if you want to grow as a writer without exposing all to the world? Maybe you question if writing is a true fit for you. You enjoy writing, but wonder if you can carry the weight of producing solid content each week. Maybe you lack the confidence to use your voice. Maybe you have no idea where to start. Ghostwriting could be your unique transition to becoming a writer. 

First, let’s define ghostwriting. Ghostwriting is “to write for another who is the presumed or credited author.” Your work is explicitly written for another to receive the credit. Essentially you are borrowing the mission, platform, goals, and audience of another. Ghostwriters can stand in as expert, write full books, or create for an experienced writer or blogger who wishes to shift their energy elsewhere. Ghostwriting provides excellent opportunities to explore your abilities and grow as a writer by focusing solely on writing. Focus is a greenhouse. Letting go of other considerations allows you to write, and love being a writer, simply for the sake of writing.

Before floating into the ghostwriting world, you have much to consider. With all the opportunity ghostwriting offers, you will also experience some missed opportunities. Take time to consider the following and decide whether the upside or downside wins out. The following considerations fall under a central theme, ultimately the definition of ghostwriting: The writing isn’t yours. 

Anonymity

When you produce as a ghostwriter, you have ultimate identity protection. I consider anonymity to be one the greatest pros of ghostwriting – you get to write freely! The writing isn’t yours. You get to learn and grow without pressure getting it perfect from the start. As bonus, you get to hear experiences and pick the mind of someone with a successful writing platform. You have opportunity to share and sharpen your ideas with them. Additionally, you will have another set of eyes to provide feedback on your work every week.

On the flip side, you’ve been laboring with a topic. You write, edit, rewrite, edit, and write some more, to go about your day like Elf – on a full 40 minutes of sleep, but mission accomplished. The next step is to release your prized possession to the world, remembering now no one will know you as the producer. Your name won’t be attached. The writing isn’t yours. Can you release something you created and celebrate on this side of anonymity?

Changing Voice

As a Northern who spent time living in the South, I fully understand the influence of culture and accents. Even if you try your hardest keep your roots, whomever you spend time around affects you. This fact can be a negative around negative influences, but a positive in relation to ghostwriting. Using another’s voice can give ground to stand on. You filter your writing ideas through the lens of an already established voice and platform. This narrowed focus makes a world of endless writing possibilities less daunting. Your limited focus also limits your barriers to write.

It may be difficult to produce your own work while under the influence of another. Borrowing a voice means you cannot speak of your personal experiences or events. It means you cannot insert your opinion without considering the opinions of the named author. Your writing will always carry your voice, but it needs to be your voice with an accent. Specifically, the accent of the writer whose name you borrow.

Altered Words

Your finished product is perfect, remember? You labored with the topic, put your sweat into every sentence, occasionally added some humor, possibly a seasonal reference and hit send. Once published, you follow up with your work and realize your Sandy Patterson edited some content from the original.

Before you go down the mental paths of wondering what could-have or should-have been, return to your role as a ghostwriter. Your role is to write. Your role is not to publish. Your position is not to make the executive decisions. You are not to worry if the final product is 100% yours because it isn’t anymore, but it is theirs. Keep yourself focused and simply write. When you write, you gain perspective. When you write, you filter your thoughts. When you write, you increase experience; and when you write, you grow.

If you have further questions related to ghostwriting, please comment below. I would love to hear your struggles, and help you plow through any hold ups that may keep you from growth through ghostwriting.

 

About Ashley Wagner

Delaware-born and lover of unique experiences. I recently spent a year living in Washington D.C. without a driver’s license or a permanent address. Thanks @housesitting and @wmata!

I am a virtual assistant for solo-preneurs, teacher-preneurs and online businesses. This dream job allows me to travel, utilize past work experiences (ranging from collegiate coach to preschool teacher to financial counselor to name a few), and own being a life-long learner without being a life-long student.

I specialize in content creation for bloggers and teachers and customer retention marketing. If you are looking for business support in these areas or others, I can help! Send all business inquiries to aelisabeth.wagner@gmail.com.