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transition

February 14, 2009

Human beings are constantly in a state of flux. We change jobs, lovers, friends, furniture, technology. In with the new and out with the old. Even those of us who claim to fear change actually thrive on it.

Change gives us hope. It shapes the future in a sufficiently attractive package to encourage our survival. You might not like how things are now—indeed, you might be miserable—but the nature of transition tells us that our current state of being is only temporary. Hunger, thirst, heartache, grief, destitution—these things can disappear at a moment’s notice.

For the last five years, I’ve worn my ghostwriting hat, penning all types of written materials for clients all over the world. My career as a ghostwriter was neither dismal nor extraordinary; I paid the bills with the money I earned, but I haven’t yet purchased a ski chalet in the Swiss alps.

I believe, however, that we are all destined to be extraordinary, and as I collected payments from clients over the years and slapped someone else’s byline on everything I wrote, I lost sight of why I started ghostwriting in the first place.

Five years ago, I got laid off from my job and needed a way to make some money while I looked for a new one. I’d always wanted to be a writer, and I happened across an article online by a ghostwriter: someone who makes money writing manuscripts for others. I was hooked. I figured I could work from home as a ghostwriter while penning my own manuscripts on the side.

My plan had a flaw. When you spend all day in front of the computer hammering out thousands of words for someone else, the last thing you want to do at the end of your work day is write more. Five years passed in the blink of an eye, and I had nothing to show for my efforts other than a solid reputation as a ghost.

Which, in case you didn’t know, is really no reputation at all.

Since I was little, I have dreamed of becoming a best-selling suspense novelist. When I reached the end of my first NANCY DREW mystery, I knew that the written word was my destiny. And I didn’t want to be a second-rate novelist with a few loyal readers; I wanted to change the world with my words.

And so my next transition begins. I’ve removed my ghostwriting hat and tucked it away where it cannot interfere with my goals in life. I want to write for myself, and as much as I have enjoyed writing for my clients, that time is now over.

However, my five years of experience as a ghostwriter has left me with buckets full of knowledge that I don’t believe should go to waste. Therefore, the purpose of this web site is two-fold. The first is to chronicle my journey from unpublished and unafraid to published and unafraid. The second is to share what I have learned about the world of ghostwriting with those who might be trying to earn a living as a ghost.

I know lots of aspiring authors who set definitive goals, like I want to write a 90,000-word novel in three months. I’m giving myself no such boundaries. I’m starting my first novel now, and when I finish it, I’ll begin the submission process. It doesn’t matter how long it takes—what matters is the finished product.

What kinds of transitions are going on in your life? And how do you cope with overwhelming transitions that disrupt your entire existence? I want to know.

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  1. gears « Sam Tamlyn

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