Top 5 Ghostwrite Pro Posts for September

Often, I’m asked my advice for people who are just starting out as writers. My response is always the same. Conjuring my inner-Hemingway (and paraphrasing him), I say, “Just write one true sentence. Then write another. When you have no more true sentences for the day, stop.” What I mean by that is write something simple without flourish that gets your ideas out of your head and onto the paper.

I then follow up that advice with another great piece of advice I picked up from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Write shitty first drafts. Great writing, I tell people, comes in the editing, not the actual writing. If you’ve been writing for a while, this is nothing new to you. But I find for many people, this is unsatisfying. For some reason, people never want to hear that writing is hard work that takes years to get good at—if you get good at it at all.

Those thoughts lead us into our top-5 posts for the month of September. And while they may or may not be “good” (I leave that up to you dear reader), they are certainly read. Enjoy some posts you may have missed, and while you’re at it, post up your advice for beginning writers in the comments.

**As a side note, apologies for missing my post last week. I was in Seattle at a conference. I took only my iPad and was able to get much work done well and efficiently, with the exception of my scheduled post, which is a good follow-up to our most-read post for last month.**

How My iPad (Maybe) Makes Me a Better Writer

Building Your Platform: Tips from a Top Publicist

How to Impress a Potential Client Before First Contact (Part II)

Five Must Have Productivity Tools for Writers

Dealing with Sickness

[Photo by ilike]

How My iPad (Maybe) Makes Me a Better Writer

So, I bought an iPad last week. To be honest I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good idea. Unlike most blogs I’ve seen examining the iPad for a writer, I’m not writing this post on my iPad. In fact, I can think of nothing more maddening than writing long form documents on an iPad.

Though the iPad will never replace my laptop as my primary writing instrument, I’ve been finding some pretty useful ways to use it to make me a better writer. Here are a few I’ve discovered over the last couple days. Continue reading “How My iPad (Maybe) Makes Me a Better Writer”

Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions

I’m still digesting Joey’s post from last week, “The Ghost Materializes“. Thankfully, on Friday morning, I was able to get together to hang out with both Joey and Ed over a cup of coffee. It was a great time to catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives and work, and to discuss writing and ghostwriting.

Joey’s post, as I told the guys, was poignant for me as I’ve been feeling the itch to begin writing a novel of my own. I was great to talk about how we might balance careers as ghostwriters and vocations as writers. Continue reading “Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions”

Dealing with Sickness

It was quite a morning at the Johnson house this morning. First, my four-year old son, Liam, woke up with a tummy ache and proceeded to throw up at 5 a.m. Then my wife told me she had a raging headache and asked me to take our seven-month old, Dylan, for the morning so that she could rest. And finally, while I was hanging on the couch with Liam and Dylan, Dylan had a monster blowout in his diaper. Long story short, it leaked onto the couch and I didn’t notice until I looked over and saw him running his hands through it.

Gross. I know. But that’s part and parcel of being a parent.

The reason I share all this with you is because it got me thinking about being a writer…and a family man. I usually keep a pretty tight schedule. I’m up early to write and work steadily and (hopefully) without interruption until around 5 p.m. I then shut down everything for the night and don’t look back. But obviously I wasn’t able to work this morning. And it threw my whole day into whack. Not good for someone borderline OCD.

Inevitably, you’re going to run into a similar scenario at some point in your writing/freelancing career. With deadlines hovering over your head like a vulture, you or someone in your family (or in my case your whole family!) will get sick. How will you respond?

In my more ambitious (and stupider) days, I would plow through. I’d try to get work done while juggling my family responsibilities, probably getting more and more frustrated by the minute. Now, I just try to roll with the punches. The reality is that when you’re sick or someone in your family is sick and needing your care, you’re not going to get much quality work done. Instead, take the time and rest. And do so guilt-free. Consider it God telling you to take a time out. When you come back to work, you’ll be refreshed.

If you have a deadline looming that day, send a quick email to your client letting them know what’s up. Nine times out of ten, they’ll understand. If they don’t, it might be time to rethink your clients.

Fortuitously, today is the time I list out the top 5 posts for the month of August. So, without further ado!

The Process vs. the Agreement

The Cult of Simple Writing

Building Your Platform: Tips from a Top Publicist

Taking the Mystery Out of Pricing

Should I List My Fees On My Website?

Thanks for being part of the GhostwritePro community! Happy writing, and I’ll see you next week.

The Importance of Outlining

The process of ghostwriting a book is a long and complicated one. Even for a veteran writer, each new project begins with trepidation. In our business and preparation, it’s easy to forget that for many of our clients, this is their first time working on a book project. If the feeling of being overwhelmed affects us as writers, imagine how it makes our clients feel!

I’ve found that one of the best things you can do to center both you and your client throughout the book writing period is to put in the right effort, time, and energy into the book outline. Continue reading “The Importance of Outlining”

Taking the Mystery Out of Pricing

When I first started out as a freelance ghostwriter I was terrified of quoting pricing. The field was new to me, I had no track record to back up my desired pay, and I had no clue what other writers were charging. So, after I’d put in the hard work to find a potential client and then got the opportunity to pitch him or her, when asked how much I charged, I’d freeze, hem and haw, and then say I’ll get back to you.

By then, the client could smell blood and the battle was essentially lost.

We’ve spent some time talking about pricing here at over the last couple months. For instance, I mentioned that I only do flat fee pricing in my post “A Modest Proposal…On Crafting Winning Proposals“, and Joey wrote a great post entitled “Should I List My Fees on My Website“. Both arguments made the assumption that you would know exactly what you’d charge—within a range—for a particular type of project.

But what if you have no idea what you’d charge? And if so, how do you figure it out? Continue reading “Taking the Mystery Out of Pricing”

Writer, Retreat!

So you may have noticed that I missed my post last Monday…or maybe I’m just dreaming you pay that much attention! First off, apologies for missing my post. I was on a retreat with some fellow pastors in Payson, Arizona, a beautiful wooded, highland part of Arizona that would make you question if you were really in a state famous for deserts. When we took off north from Phoenix into the highlands, I was confident I’d be able to use the downtime to write my post in the evening. But to my surprise the cabin didn’t have Internet access. In fact it didn’t even have phone reception! So, I couldn’t even type out my post on the infinitely frustrating touch keyboard of my iPhone.

In the end, it turns out the forced fast from technology was a blessing in disguise. It’s been a long time since I’ve been completely disconnected, and I’d almost completely forgot what it felt like.

So, what I’m not going to do here is belabor a simple point, which is this: Get away from technology. Take a day or two to refocus. Reconnect with your soul.

You’ll thank me for it. It will make you a better writer.


See you next week.

Ghost Productivity

I’m a big fan of productivity. I’m just not naturally very good at it. Mostly because I have the curse of the writer’s mindset. That means I’m usually staring out windows when I should be working and I’m always forgetting what I was working on (or should be working on) because an exciting new idea has come along.

So, I need a little help in the productivity department. Luckily there are tons of tools out there to help us helpless writers with better time management and productivity. I’ve already featured some tools in my post “5 Must-Have Productivity Tools for Writers“, but I thought I’d add a couple more here that I’ve lately fallen in love with. Continue reading “Ghost Productivity”