Writing requires a lot of discipline. Good work comes out of practice and solid habits. One of the keys to a successful ghostwriting practice is to keep focused on what works.
Sometimes however, this can be easier said than done.
By necessity, ghostwriting assignments come with outside constraints. On your project, it’s easy to take time to imagine and develop. Good ideas come from staring out windows.
In ghostwriting though, someone else is handing you the story. Often all that wondering has already been done for you. It is the nature of the ghostwriter’s role to deliver.
Assignments come with strings attached. Word count benchmarks. Time constraints. I have been hired numerous times over the years, and never once was I handed an assignment based on my ability to daydream. I get hired because I can write and deliver.
Accepting these realities going into ghostwriting assignments is critical to success. It keeps your client’s work squarely on the front burner. It prevents unnecessary marathons. If there are, for example, five thousand words due in a week, it’s best to move forward in digestible chunks. No one wants to be stuck with all that in a single sitting.
It’s tough. And odds are if you’re put in that position, the writing will suffer.
Creating bad habits undermine good writing. They won’t allow you to deliver a good book. Rather than search for the right word and proper turn of phrase, you’re looking at the bottom right of your Word program. You’re doing a dreaded word count down.
You may get by delivering a manuscript that is merely competent. Is that what you want though? Is that what your client hired you for?
Good habits won’t go out the window because you scrambled for the finish line. It happens. But it can be dangerously easy to lose your discipline and break creative momentum.
Bad writing habits can too easily form in a ghostwriting scenario, if you aren’t careful. And if you’re working on your own project side by side, you’re doubly polluting your craft.
Place realistic word benchmarks in your contract. Set mindful time constraints. Create a map and do your best to work forward. Communicate the need for extra time, if necessary. That extra week is nothing compared to undoing lazy, uninspired text.
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