Ghostwriting is Your Golden Ticket into the Writing Industry

Gillian Sisley

This will open more doors than you can imagine.

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I have been a professional copywriter for three years now — and I foresee many more years ahead.

I started my business with the intention of focusing solely on social media, but soon discovered that there was a need in my local market for quality writers to write blog posts and draft content.

That is how I began writing as a ghostwriter. Often, I would start a small social media retainer with a client, and after a few rounds of content, clients would say, “I like your writing style — do you also write blog posts/website copy?” And from there, half of my daily business operations included crafting ghostwritten content for clients.

Although ghostwriting wasn’t how I originally envisioned entering my career as a professional writer, it has brought with it incredibly important lessons.

Now, enough small talk — let’s dive into the valuable lessons I’ve learned from ghostwriting:

#1. Ghostwriting helps overcome the fear of rejection.

You learn early on, working as a professional writer, that some people just don’t like your writing style. Generally, this fear of rejection can propel us into inaction, out of fear of not being adequate enough as a writer.

When we’re ghostwriting, we’re crafting work knowing that our names will not be directly on it, and I have to say that alleviates a lot of the pressures which come along with the writer’s equivalent of stage fright.

I also have never suffered writer’s block when writing content for my clients — when I’m ghostwriting, I’m not getting stuck inside my own head, trying to perfect every single word because my “big break” could depend on this particular piece of work.

The truth is that, especially on the business side of things, good writers are hard to come by. I have no doubt that there are some small-to-medium sized businesses in your community, or even people online, who are looking for someone to write regular blog posts. Consider putting feelers out for this type of potential client.

#2. Ghostwriting helps you build a more dynamic writing portfolio.

We’re told as writers that we need to be writing daily. Like an athlete needing to train to compete, as do we, the writer, need to be writing every day to develop our skills.

But there is a clear difference between writing for our own pleasure, and writing for an audience demand. If we are practicing daily writing, we are often writing pieces that are personal, rather than professional. Both styles of writing should be practiced to give us a well-rounded dexterity of writing styles and aptitude.

If Medium is your place to document your life lessons as practice writing, by all means, this is a valuable and important practice. But also consider flexing your business writing muscles through a ghostwriting gig or two. You’ll learn a great deal from this process as far as working with clients, fine-tuning your skills, and learning yourself a little bit more of what being a professional writer could look like on a full-time basis.

It’s a safe way to test the waters to see if writing is a good career fit for you.

#3. Ghostwriting gets credible experience under your belt.

It’s very common for passionate writers to be lacking in professional, credible writing experience to back their query letter to an agent, or simply provide some extra validation to their work. This is where ghostwriting can come in and really change the name of the game.

On the scale of easier to more difficult positions to use to get your foot in the door of the writing industry, this is certainly closer to the easier side of the scale. That’s not to say that it’s easy — I would be doing you a great disservice if I were to tell you that.

No, as you can expect, making it as a professional writer in any capacity will always be a challenging road. However, if your writing is well-practiced, quality in nature and your voice is honed-in, you will be better equipped to start ghostwriting and enter the professional writing industry.

Your career as a professional writer doesn’t have to begin with having your debut novel published — and to be frank, that is rarely ever the order in which it works.

#4. Ghostwriting gives you valuable connections and contacts.

As I said above, in my experience there is a shortage of really quality writers available to freelance for small to medium-sized companies. My current and happy clients were also more than willing to refer me to associates who were looking for a steady content writer to sub-contract into their team.

Beyond this, I learned very quickly that every contact counts, because you never know who knows who. In casual conversation, when clients learned that I’m also an aspiring YA fiction author with a debut novel, they would connect me to their contacts — an employee at a local publishing company, a published author, etc. etc.

Do you know why they connected me with these valuable leads? Because, although they had not read my drafted manuscript for my YA novel, they have read the writing I’ve provided for their company. Good writing is good writing, and they had confidence in the quality that I brought to my written work enough to vouch for me.

As my querying process continues, there’s no way to know if one of these connections will end up connecting me to the right fit for an agent or a publishing company. We’ll just have to see.

Final word.

I never envisioned ghostwriting to be the avenue that would introduce me to the professional writing industry, but here I am. And it astounded me how beneficial this entire process was.

I was at first fearful that I would dislike creating larger pieces of written content, but not being credited for them. On the contrary, I found that I didn’t mind it too much. The biggest reason being that I was still writing my own work (my debut novel), and that was the piece of written work I cared about having my name on.

If you would like to break into the professional writing industry, in any capacity, you must start somewhere. And if you haven’t given ghostwriting a shot, give it a chance.

You’ll never know if it works for you if you don’t try. And who knows? It may open doors of possibility for you as a writer and creative.

Until next time, happy writing!

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