People have asked me; “Amber, why don't you write your own novel?" or "Why do you ghost write?" While these are reasonable and expected questions, the answer is self evident, at least to me anyway. I enjoy the comfort of other people's ideas. I take solace in the space and time to choose just the right word, to play with meanings and truly craft in a way that is not always available when the ideas are your own, and you are weighed down by your own personal baggage or bias to a piece. I have come across many people who have aspirations of writing who struggle to get ideas down because they are so caught up in the end result that they cannot enjoy the process its self.
The craft of writing has become devalued in a time when anyone can string words together to create a thought. There was a time in the history of our culture when writing was highly valued. Few could read and even fewer could write. You did not waste paper by merely stringing words together to form a thought. The thought had to have meaning and the words had to have elegance and beauty. Ghostwriting for me likens back to a time when writing was valued.
Hiring a ghostwriter shows a level of respect. You have these ideas and thoughts that you value, to the point, that a professional writer is required to lend credibility, value and sophistication in order to realize the full magnitude of the project. When clients come to me they are burning with passion to see their ideas realized. My own excitement for writing is renewed again every time I listen to a new client discuss their vision.
In the Novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, he compares people to the cogs and inner workings of a clock saying that everyone has their place and purpose in making the world function. Much like Hugo’s place was a magician my place is a ghostwriter. I get to have a different voice each time I take on a new client. I get to learn about topics and worlds that few others have the time or dedication to do. I get to breath life into ideas that had lain dormant in someone else’s mind through. Being a ghostwriter is not for someone who enjoys the spotlight or desires recognition, but rather it is for someone who sees the weight and presence of a word well chosen.
In my past life as a teacher, I used to develop lesson after lesson on choosing words wisely. I would discuss connotation versus denotation and the importance of knowing both. These were some of may favorite lessons because English speakers and writers are lucky enough to have a language that allows us room to interpret, play, infer, and mislead in a way that not all languages can boast. I count myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play with words everyday.
And that is why I ghost write. The power and satisfaction of delivering someone’s ideas to the world, to be read and shared, is beyond measure. A colleague of mine used to say, “The purpose of writing is to get what is in my brain into yours.” That is exactly what I try to do for my clients who do not have the time or ability to convey what is in their head accurately enough.