Several months ago I was introduced to a woman with both a busy life and a realistic view of her writing abilities. She's simply not going to make the time to learn the craft so she can adequately write the memoir that needs to be written. There are many passionate interests in her life but sitting at a computer for hours is not one of them.
At first she felt her story needed to be written to benefit others but as we've moved forward together on this adventure, she's come to see what a great benefit this will be for herself. Painful episodes have been buried under legal battles and like many who suffer from traumatic events, the aftermath of dealing with them can be worse than the event itself. This aftermath (medical, legal or other) becomes the focus, burying the trauma even deeper in the psyche.
My client has been brilliant at organizing factual data. I've been sent a staggering amount of documentation and have managed (with the help of Scrivener software) to understand it and organize it, keeping track of every nuanced detail. What has been less documented is her reaction to what happened to her and how it's informed the way she moves through the world now. The real stuff of memoir. As her ghostwriter, I encourage her to turn her feelings into words so I can turn her words into text. I'm a neutral, objective party; someone safe and without judgment. A functionary on the road to owning a completed manuscript that reflects her voice, her character and her story.
Ghostwriting requires basic skills we all are capable of: deep listening, compassionate reflection and analytical discernment. But how often do we use those skills with others or have an opportunity to hone them with our clients? Skills as important as great writing, I believe they need to be used just as often to keep them sharp.
A meme came around on social media asking if we didn't need the money, would we get up every day and do what we do? My answer is yes. Writing. I love all facets of it.