So yesterday I posted a list of the Top 10 things that ghostwriting/work-for-hire has done for me and I pinky-swore to spend the next few posts expanding on those points. Why? I get more questions and hits regarding work-for-hire than about anything else. I realize this part of the industry is really opaque. It’s sort of meant to be, isn’t it? Other writers want to know how they can be a ghostwriter and, if they can get the work, should they do it. In fact, I think even agents sometimes want to know if it’s a good idea for their clients to do write-for-hire. So today, I’ll talk about how I’ve learned to write more, faster.
Stephen King recommends writers aim for 1,000 words a day, six days a week.
Yeah, okay, when I read On Writing many moons ago, I’m not gonna lie, this made me want to gauge out my eyeballs. A thousand words took me for-ev-her. I wrote 150 and thought I’d accomplished some gargantuan feat. I think a lot of writers go through this. Wanting to be a writer is a whole lot more appealing than the actual writing. You know, I gotta get online, chat with my new writer buddies, hear about some awesome books, read those awesome books, then of course I have to tweet some, and oh yeah, the message boards. I can’t neglect the message boards!!!! Damn, well maybe I’ll actually WRITE something tomorrow.
A lot of that mentality isn’t just laziness or ADD. Staring at a blank page and not knowing what the hell to write there is intimidating. No, it’s downright terrifying. So, I like to think of my internet/TV watching/book reading as more a means of self-preservation. Well, guess what? Work-for-hire will beat that fear right out of you.
Deadlines are tight, people. You’re generally writing and revising a book in about 6 weeks. And often with more than one project at once. There is no room for the fear! Or maybe there’s a different fear. The one that you’ll get to the day of the deadline and there will be nothing written on the page. I’d rather turn in something that sucks than turn in a blank Word document.
I went from writing a book in a year, to writing 4 between January and August. That doesn’t even include rewriting my own book! So let’s say I wrote 60,000 words in 2010. This year I’ll have written about 220,000 by September. That’s a huge increase in productivity. And I tend to subscribe to the majority school of thought’s mantra: Practice, practice, practice.
So what has ghostwriting done for me? It’s taught me to get stuff done. I meet deadlines. I write when I’m supposed to. I don’t waste all my precious writing time. I’ve written more which has given me more space to learn. And, best of all, it’s made me appreciate the time I get to work on my own projects.
Happy Writing, People!