I nearly landed a life-based rom-com screenplay writing gig the other week, but the potential client was a strange guy. He wanted to hire me, then he changed his mind. Then he did again, then he didn’t. Then he accused me of being “an Indian,” whatever that means. I’m not saying this is my favorite type of client, but such behavior goes with the territory.
Eventually he told me he was bi-polar, so this is just the way he is. And I said fine, let me know when you make up your mind. Then I said, “How!” and also, “Namaste!” You know, like “an Indian.”
Weirdos are Cool
Truth is, I have had a lot of bipolar clients and other clients that were sort of unusual or odd. Machiavelian gamblers, hysterical talkaholics, people who love to be hated, elderly people still secretly questioning their sexuality . . . I mean, the list goes on. I’m not a psychiatrist, but even if I were, I don’t even think there are names in books for the cocktails of kooky traits some of my ex-ghostwriting-clients have managed to swirl up inside themselves.
I love it! I mean, what normal person wants to hire a ghostwriter to write a memoir, anyway? Most people who do it have had pretty outstanding lives, which most “normal” people don’t. My “kooks welcome” philosophy works because I typically only take on one client at a time, and I’ll tell you true: working with one kook full time is a whoooooole lot easier than dealing with an office full of so-called normal people.
“You Should Write a Book”
One common trait among people who hire a ghostwriter is that they have been telling their stories for so long and entertaining people with them so much, that a lot of acquaintances have started saying, “You should write a book.”
People often call, tell me their story in brief, and ask, “Is it a book?” Whether the person is a kook or a normal, they usually do have a story worth telling, but it usually isn’t the story they thought they had.
I’ll tell them where I see the most interesting parts of the story, where I see the most interesting conflicts, and it’s the kooks who usually are able to make the paradigm switch to thinking like me, thinking like a writer, right away.
I just think its more important to see the big picture of kookiness– the out-of-box thinking, the ability to see multiple perspectives, the creativity– rather than to focus on the minor annoyances of kookiness such as inconsistency and over-reactions to things. Plus, it’s always interesting to wonder who my next ghostwriting clients will be. Guaranteed: they won’t be boring!