What is Ghostwriting?
A ghostwriter is a person who is hired to write books, manuscripts, screenplays, speeches, articles, blog posts, stories, reports, whitepapers or other texts that are officially credited to another person.
Ghostwriting is above all a matter of trust. Someone, out there, has enough faith in you to trust you with the most intimate part of their life, with their emotions, victories and failures, with their broken heart and their dreams. You have a whole series of events, like lose pieces of a puzzle in a basket, and you have to figure out how to put them together.
How you do that makes the whole difference. You do not just narrate them as they are told, but you have to blow magic into them and turn them into a story everybody would want to hear. There is, in each one of us, the seed of a story, larger than life, that can leave a mark on other people’s consciousness and life and can be listened to by generations to come.
“Why would you do that?” you may ask.
“Why not?” I would answer. The aim is not gaining the glory and the credit for what you write, but allowing another story to come into light, knowing that otherwise it would be left unsaid.
You become a tool for something precious to happen. You collaborate with people who may lack writing skills and background, but whose story is well worth your pen.
Maybe they are celebrities who want to have their stories cast onto paper and thus leave another kind of memory to their audience. Or ordinary people who have an extraordinary experience to share. Ordinary or extraordinary, normal or VIP, these are relative and frivolous definitions. What matters is the story you leave behind and the way people will remember you.
Ghostwriting is about teamwork and collaboration. About confidence and hope.
The ghost writer’s name might get mentioned on the cover of a book and sometimes it may appear only on the flyleaf. You may get a mention in the acknowledgements and you may not appear at all. It is a good thing if your name appears somewhere on the cover of the books you are most proud to be associated with. You may be mentioned as “co-author”, or simply “as told to”. But even if your name is not mentioned at all, it is a big problem.
After all, it is a good exercise of suppressing your own ego completely, which is always a good discipline for any writer.
Perhaps the “glory” of being the sole author is not as important as one might think. Making a great story manifest and giving it life, knowing that you were there to hold the pen for it to happen, that is a different, deeper kind of satisfaction. Imagine you plant a tree and you go back, years later, to see how it is doing. It is the wind in the leaves and the birds building nests on its branches that give you meaning. You do not need to carve your name on the bark.