3 major skills you need as a ghostwriter
You’re a writer and you’re familiar with the challenges of finding time for your own writing in a normal day. I promised you last week I’d tell you more about how that looks when you’re a ghostwriter. Chaos happens, maybe even more so when you work from home full-time. There are a lot of variables that can keep you from keeping an ideal schedule on any given day.
In fact, it seems the more you plan on having a perfectly scheduled day, the more life works to mix that up. But as a ghostwriter, keeping it all straight is an important part of your job. These are some skills you’ll want to have well-developed before making the leap.
Keeping an income flow
It is possible to keep your schedule limited to just one project at a time – you are the boss after all – but it isn’t very advisable if you want to pay the bills. For that reason, you’ll need to schedule time in your day, every day, to be able to reach out to new clients as well as time to do smaller projects to ensure the checks keep coming in.
It’s important to remember you’re running a business, which means someone needs to take care of all that back office stuff. You’ll be responsible for billing, accounts payable, and you’ll probably want to invest in some kind of ongoing training to keep your skills sharp.
While it may be possible to keep two projects going in your head, that isn’t the best way to do things either. There are all the other little details of your life – family, fitness, friends, hobbies, volunteer work, travel, etc – which will constantly try to distract you.
If you’re already a novelist, you know the importance of a writing schedule. When you’re a ghostwriter, you need to work on a larger scale, juggling two or maybe three novel-sized projects at a time, all in different phases of production, along with smaller projects such as ghost blogging or article writing. That’s where a production schedule comes in handy, enable you to more visibly track all projects, deadlines, and milestones.
There will always be a need to make adjustments to your schedule. Some ghostwriting project authors, your clients, will know exactly what they want to write about, have the story already well outlined, and be regularly accessible and available whenever you need additional information. These are the dream clients but they’re not all perfect. Some will struggle to keep appointments, others will struggle to stick to an idea all the way through, still others will have such specific ideas that you’ll need to go back and forth with each chapter multiple times until it sounds just the way they want it. For each of these types of clients, you’ll need to make different kinds of adjustments to the production schedule, something you can only determine once you’ve worked with them for a few chapters.
Once you’ve got the production schedule figured out, it becomes much easier to work around emergencies, maximize those small moments between duties, and adjusting for your natural lifestyle rhythms.
I’ll talk more about how to create a production schedule next week and why you want it in place before you even take on that first client, but first, tell me some of the techniques you use to schedule your writing projects. Do you map it out on paper/in the computer or is it mostly all in your head?