Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My goal to be a paid ghostwriter for a book – I did it!

Not too long ago, I started hunting for a new job. I spent weeks on the job-hunt, checking the classifieds, scanning job sites and asking friends if they knew anyone who was hiring.

After some time of no luck finding a new job, I spent some time trying to think of how I could more effectively find the kind of work that I wanted to do.

At first, I tried to find a job that was outside of home, since I really didn’t need to work from home anymore because I wasn’t needed at home anymore all day long. My son was going to school full-time now. And our senior dog, who often had seizures, passed away. So I really didn’t NEED to be at home while the kids were at school. Even so, I realized that maybe it was time to rethink this approach. Shunning all work-from-home jobs was, apparently, not a good idea. I just couldn’t FIND one that was not a work-at-home gig and which fit my abilities or training. So I decided to include the at-home jobs in my search.

Next, I asked myself, what do I REALLY want to do? And, what CAN I do? What are my strengths?

Writing is, of course, my strength. So I decided to focus on a writing job. I knew I did not want to go back to working as a freelance writer. I have pretty much accepted that I won’t reach that one goal of getting published in one of the glossies. Hey, I only tried for 10 years to do it! I tried. That didn’t happen. So it was time to move on.

But then I thought, what about ghostwriting? Specifically, getting paid to ghostwrite a book?

This has been one goal I have REALLY wanted to cross off my list. I am not new to ghostwriting; I have ghostwritten articles, blog posts and even a book. Those first two were paying gigs. The third one was a freebie because I always, always never charge a first client when I am trying something new. So I ghostwrote a book for free (a children’s book) and I was ready to be paid to ghostwrite a book. This is definitely something I wanted to do. Haven’t managed to land that yet, so why not try again? I had almost gotten there, but my contact disappeared. I pretty much gave up trying. But then a writer friend landed just such a gig and she told me where she found the work. I joined the site and started hunting for a ghostwriting gig there. Eventually, after applying for many jobs, I landed a client. Yay! I was thrilled!

But I also had to get busy, because this client had an immediate need for writers, and he had work ready for me to tackle. And he also wanted the book to be written up and ready for submission by the end of the following week.

First, I had to choose a topic to write about from a list of titles. Then I had to get writing!

And I really got writing. The first day alone, I wrote over 3,000 words. Wow! It was like a switch had been activated, because soon I was writing like the wind. I lived, breathed and thought about the book’s topic 24/7. When I wasn’t writing it, I was thinking about it. It’s like I was all about that book’s topic all week long.

It was quite an experience. I wrote like I have never written before. I wrote while the kids were in school, while they were busy doing other things and while they were sleeping. I even made notes for chapters while I was at my son’s soccer practice! I usually take a day off every week to enjoy some me-time while the kids are in school, but not that week! I was writing, writing and WRITING!

And as I wrote, I had to go over everything several times to correct typos and make changes. This was going to be my first and only draft. I did not have the luxury of writing a poorly-written first draft only to go back to it weeks or months later to revise. Nope, I had to make it perfect on the first go!

So my two challenges as I wrote this book were:

1: To write a book in 5 days. (Monday-Friday.)
2: To write a book that would be a first and final draft.

I am happy to report that I met both goals. It was really exhausting and I fell behind on some other things. I also had to be at the computer to write A LOT. But I did it. I got it done. Yay!

When I landed this ghostwriting gig, I was so grateful that, at long last, my dream of being paid to ghostwrite a book has finally come true. At long last, it happened! I just had to hang in there and never give up on wanting to make that dream a reality. I had to believe it would happen. And it did.

But now I am also grateful for the challenges it brought me. Challenges I was able to meet. I never knew I could write so much in such a short time, but that’s only because I never challenged myself to do so. In this case, I HAD to. I didn’t want to lose this assignment or have the client look elsewhere for a writer. So I am glad for it because it showed exactly what I am capable of as a writer. I CAN write a first and only draft of a book in 5 days. I CAN make that book something I am happy with and confident about even though I had to revise it as I wrote it. And I CAN write about a topic like an expert even though I’m not an expert and have very little experience with the topic.

It was quite an eye-opener for me. I am glad I had this experience because it has helped make me a better writer. It has also helped me to see what exactly I can do as a writer.

Now that this goal has been accomplished, I hope to accomplish my next goal sometime in the next year.

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