But why would I want to help others write books and not get credit for it?
The short answer is I have a strong desire to help people.
And I like to write.
Ghostwriting is a natural intersection of those two ideals.
The long answer is...well, a little longer.
From a young age, my parents instilled in me a sense of duty to help out. I was to help with chores, cleaning up, and helping out in any other way that I could. Honestly, I think part of it was my parents were so tired from their day jobs and raising three kids that convincing us "helping out" was the way we should act so they'd get a little bit of a break at home.
The damage is done, however. I'm okay with that.
It was this mindset that led me to help out at my church growing up, my extended family, and the kind lady down the street.
The concept of being a servant hit home when I was on a mission trip in college. I was a sophomore when Hurricane's Katrina and Rita devastated the gulf coast. New Orleans was the worst hit and those who were alive at the time recall hearing about the chaos that ensued there.
This mission trip I joined didn't go to New Orleans, but Port Neches, Texas. This little city cat right on the coast and was home to oil refineries. It dodged Katrina but Rita went right next to it, and the small city was struggling to recover when my group showed up a few weeks later.
Being a college student, I was tasked with grunt work- whatever needed to be done, do it!
So we set about clearing out debris.
We joined a local church who would send out work crews to homes. The city had a long list of residences that were destroyed and needed to be cleaned up before people could move back in. So we start the day with a list of addresses and try to reach each one before the end of the day.
One of these houses was a small home.
The homeowner wasn't there, but that wasn't unusual. We just got to work the moment we rolled up.
About halfway through this particular address, the homeowner came home. She drove an old model Volvo that looked like it'd seen better years.
I didn't say anything and just kept working, carting out branches and junk that had landed her yard.
I saw her talk to the leader of our group. I couldn't hear what was said, but she went back to her car, reached under her glove box and pulled out a wad of cash. She offered him some of it, but he wouldn't take it.
At that point, she started crying.
Knowing the simple job of cleaning someone's yard can have a profound impact on someone is why I want to help people; you never know just how bad their situation is, what they're dealing with at the time. A kind gesture can go a long way.
I also like to tell stories. And listen to stories.
I grew up watching a lot of movies and TV shows. I can quote a lot of lines from action movies that were popular growing up.
This skill is excellent for trivia games, but not for making friends.
Anyway, I would love to sit and listen to my grandparents tell stories. In doing so, I'd want to share stories of my own. When I was older and regaled my grandpa with a story once, he smiled at me and told me I should be a writer, because I'm a good story-teller.
It took years for that advice to sink in.
But when I did, I started writing.
My wife also got tired of me constantly complaining about "bad movies." So she bought me a book on writing and told me to write a better story.
A few years later I had two full-length book manuscripts completed.
But no literary agent would represent them.
I self-published them.
No marketing, nothing.
And wouldn't you know it...nothing happened.
I think I earned $30 in royalties from them so far.
Instead of giving up, however, I wanted to know what it would take to make it as a successful author.
When I learned that not everyone likes to write, I decided I could do that for them. It would be helping people and allowing me to do something I enjoy too.
Then I found out about ghostwriting, where you write a book for someone.
And then they'll pay you to do it!
Can it get any better?
I submit that it cannot!
Stephen King mentions in his memoir On Writing that art is a support system for life.
Writing books, reading books, telling stories, it's an art. The type of art that helps people who are struggling. It's worked for me, so why not do it for other people?
And stories have helped launch massive change in history too.
So that's why I ghostwrite.
And here's the Chirp I recorded about this topic.
Now get to writing!