To Slay Dragons or to Dream of It

I never wanted to be a writer. I didn’t. I wanted to be someone exciting. I never wanted to stare at computer screens and think deep thoughts. I wanted to travel the world and slay dragons. So, in my own way, I tried it. I traveled. I worked in exciting jobs, like the Hollywod film industry and international teaching. I never stopped writing all that time but didn’t take my work too seriously. Eventually, I realized all that adventure didn’t suit me. I got exhausted and lonely and lost and didn’t like all the interacting I had to do. I finally came to the conclusion that I’d much rather work alone than with others and I’d rather excercise my intellect than my ass-kissing skills.  So, I started taking my writing more seriously, and gradually, after experimenting with the different types of work out there, for writers, I concluded that I didn’t care for any of it. So, I decided exactly what I wanted to do, hired great editors to teach me along the way, and invented my own job. I combined some unique aspects of my personality with certain skills in which I had been educated, and certain talents that came naturally to me, to come up with the idea of being a memoir ghostwriter. Somehow, the clients came along, and what money I made, I invested back into writer’s conferences, editorial input, and software programs. Over time, as I continued to invent my life and career, I got pretty good at it, and that’s how this memoir ghostwriter was born. 

When I tell people what I do, they often ask, “How did you get into that line of work?” I don’t always have time to describe the process above, so I just tell them I decided what I wanted to do, told the world that’s what I did, and invested in ongoing education to make sure I was good at it. I guess that’s basically what everyone does, to find their career, except usually the order is: first, get a degree; then, hang out a shingle; then, advertise your skills. I think that order of operations might work for people who haven’t already spent half their life trying to be somethign else, but for me, I had to take on these three components all at once. Because I had a lot of experience flying by the seat of my pants, I knew I enjoyed and didn’t fear the process of learning on the job, and that’s the key, I think, to finding a really rewarding profession. No matter what your profession, if you’re not learning new things every day, it’s just a job, not a career or passion.

For me, writing books for others makes me improve as a writer, every year, while it also inspires me to create work of my own. And when I get to that point where I submit a job to an editor, that’s really the sweet spot, because I have to wait for my edits. And in that down time, I come up with all kinds of creative ideas for things I want to work on, just for me. The memoir ghostwriting work really feeds my creativity. And yes, I spend a lot more time in front of a computer than I once fantasized I would, but those old fantasies weren’t based upon who I really am. It took years to figure that out. This introvert, this analyst, this dreamer-of-worlds, this is who I really am. Now, I leave the dragon slaying to others.


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