Ghostwriting

I briefly considered ghostwriting. I needed to get a job and so far, life experience has shown me that I hate working for other people. The ass-kissing required to move up, the stress of disappointing someone you may not even respect, the lack of autonomy you have pertaining to your day-to-day schedule.

I’ll come clean, I got the idea from Bojack Horseman. In case you haven’t seen the show, Allison Brie’s character, Diane Nguyen, is a ghost writer for the horseman equivalent of Bob Saget (with many more dark traits). Anyways, she gets to live in this ridiculous world of Hollywood, chasing around crazy celebrities, getting caught up in scandals and ultimately kind of making a name for herself.

Did I think I was going to be on remotely the same playing field as fictional ghostwriter Diane Nguyen? Not even a little bit. Though the prospect of being a ghostwriter did sound intriguing. I could start out with something that if I mess up on, nobody would know. More importantly, I could be paid to write. In case it wasn’t obvious from reading my blog, that is the sort of thing I’m dedicated to.

Anyhow, I went online and found a couple of different companies that had job openings. I did not apply for every one (I have yet to try my hand in writing romantic fiction), but I did find one that offered payment for someone willing to write nonfiction in a variety of genres. Needless to say, at first I was smitten. I didn’t think I was in the least bit qualified to be an author of a nonfiction book (that would soon change after some hundred visits to Barnes and Noble and a thousand visits to my college library), but if the people hiring thought I could do it, why not?

I applied and submitted two of my most recent essays from school (sadly, neither one of these have made it to this site just yet) and I got a response fairly quickly, in maybe less than two days. I was to be interviewed by the owner of the company online. I won’t disclose who this was or what company took interest in me because #1, I’m not a dick, and #2, there could potentially be legal action.

He taught me how to use Google chats and the interview process began. I told him a little information about my relationship with writing, the fact that I’m a college student, yada yada, yada…

He said that I’d been accepted already after his editor read and was “impressed” with my work. That thrilled me. Oh! Here I am, just a lowly unemployed college student with no job experience in my desired field of work basking in the compliments of my superiors!

Then we got down to basics… I would be payed something like $13 for every 1,000 words with a minimum word count of 15,000 words a week. Sweet, right? If you are looking at this with no context, like I was, then it would certainly seem so. Oh boy was I wrong.

I was gung ho about joining and making at minimum, $195 a week. This would have been my first official job and I was doing something that I wanted to do! I left the interview feeling good and prideful when I went to tell my mom and girlfriend about it. Their first questions were, “15,000 words a week? Doesn’t that seem like a bit much?”

Well, sure. I mean, yeah, you’ve got to give before you can take. Especially if it’s for doing something you love. Right?

I went forth and read the contracts that I had to fill out. The lines that popped out to me were “no royalties, no knowledge of the book’s title or ‘author’, and a constant communication between the writer and the client.” No… royalties? Yeah, I know, that’s kind of a no-brainer right? No knowledge of the book’s title or author? Damn. I wouldn’t even know if my book would be shit or a New York Times best seller.

This is finally when my critical thinking side of my brain (the side that ruins everything) kicked in. Just how much would I have to write to accomplish the 15,000 word minimum a day? If I wrote every day, and I mean every single day, I’d have to write about 2,143 words in a given day. To give you some context, Stephen King writes about 2,000 words a day. If I wrote 2,000 words a day, I’d still only be at 14,000 by the end of the week. I’m not one for acronyms but WTF?!

Then the second cold splash of reality came down over me like the rock I dropped on a kangaroo-rat when I was nine: I couldn’t put my work down on my resume. I could put down the company and the owner as a reference, but who would be to say whether or not my writing was good? Then, the second question an employer looking at this resume might ask, why not just write the book yourself? And it was that idea that pushed me over the edge. I couldn’t work for them, I just couldn’t.

I never did turn in those documents they wanted me to fill out. I gave up and politely declined.

Epilogue

So did I end up becoming that badass writer that I wanted to be? Nope, I can’t say that I have. I can write some cheesy thing about how I gained the power of self respect and that I’m a real Scott Pilgrim for sticking up for myself, but I’ll save you the cringes. I’m not unemployed, but I am still just a writer of this blog, and for me, that’s good enough for now.

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