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Everything runs on content these days.
Everything: every business, every 'cracked' style website, every corporate seminar, every university market programme runs on content. They need it, in fact, to stand out from the crowd and really drive traffic.
Content is a consumable these days; it's not enough to design an eloquent landing page and wait for customers to come to you. You need to update it, remake it, and overhaul it on a regular basis. You need to push advertising campaigns, creates a sales funnel, and you need to communicate with your customers.
To do all of that, you need a stream of fresh, high-quality content on tap. Who produces all of that?
Well, for the most part, people like me—ghostwriters who put in the long hours, do the research, and polish it all (for fucking peanuts I might add) while everyone else makes a song and dance about how it's not a "real job."
Here's an idea then, Susan (or Steven)—go write your own content and see how quickly those comments, likes, and conversions start to fade away. Because what I know, what other writers know, that laymen overlook is that writing is not the same as writing.
Just because you're literate doesn't mean you can write, and when it comes to SEO, marketing, calls to action, idea formulation, and plotting? Well, sometimes even 'Writers' don't do that very well. In fact, I'll be honest when I say that most of the good content out there was probably written by the same minority of skilled people, just as the majority of products are manufactured by the same specialized companies. It all boils down to the dedication, persistence, and no small measure of talent that some people are willing to sell without getting the recognition some might say they deserve.
Ghostwriters come in three breeds; those who produce corporate content, those who produce works of fiction and non-fiction, and those who dabble in both.
Believe it or not, they actually require different, if connected, skill-sets. If you want to make money of any kind, you learn how to do both (like me).
What does a day in the life of a ghostwriter look like?
Well, like this: I get up, I feed the gerbil, I walk the dog, and I make tea.
I sit at my desk and I write. Come hell or high water I write. No, "I just don't have the muse," no "I have writer's block!"
When you work on other peoples dollars you don't get the luxury of writer's block or paid holidays for that matter. In my free time, I read books on technique, I brush up on grammar, I read, read, read, and I practice my craft. And when there's no work?
I graft—I hustle—I apply for 30 jobs per day, sometimes, and still work on the projects I have in the wings.
Life as a ghostwriter is relentless, it's challenging, and it's ultimately the most rewarding and joyous role I have taken on. To be your own boss, your own motivator, and your own jail-keeper is hard, but it's freeing. All the responsibility and all the risk, as well as all of the rewards, are mine to manage.
This is a life less ordinary, and it demands nothing less than dedication, passion, and white-knuckle tenacity, but above all, it requires the harsh realization that writing is a craft rather than an art. A product rather than a treasure.
If you're flighty, picky, sensitive, or prone to 'writer's block' you will not survive as a freelance ghostwriter—you don't get to be precious about your routine or your product.
So the next time you feel the need to say writing isn't a real job, or claim that you could do it easily—come see me, and see if you can do what I do every damn day.