Compartmentalizing Your Freelance Writer’s Life

“I’ve got it made.”

That’s what you should be able to say every morning, just after you gain consciousness and give yourself the liberty to choose what you’re going to do with the next 16 hours.

If you’re a self-employed writer, maybe you’ve felt this privilege: this freedom to spoil yourself into a blessed existence.

Or, maybe you haven’t reached the point where you feel in control of your own schedule. Perhaps deadlines are lording over your life, or all the other things you should be doing, instead of writing, are worming into your brain and taunting you into believing that you’re just a failed artist with no followers, no footprint…no future.

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Photo Credit: Fran Rosa of https://medium.com/@franrosa

I’ve been in both places, and in case you can’t hear me, I’m yelling: “You Can Choose!!”

I have found that by compartmentalizing my life, I can accomplish everything I need to accomplish–and maybe more importantly, all the things I want to accomplish.

Here’s the strategy:

  1. Wake up. That one’s easy when you love what you’re about to do.
  2. Determine your Mood. Ask yourself how you feel today. Goofy? Serious? Intelligent? Artistic? Melancholy? Ecstatic? Now choose an area or a task that will most intensely benefit from that state of mind. There’s no use trying to change the way you feel. Your work will suffer…as will you.
  3. Work Ahead.  This is the KEY component, and the one that will allow you to put point #2 to work. Determine where your focus will fall and do it full-on. Get more done than you have to. This will give you the freedom to make those disposition-based choices, rather than having to do what you’re not ‘feeling’ based on deadlines.
  4. Go All-In.  No matter what task or area you choose for a particular day or block of time, give it every bit of your attention. This should be easy if you’ve made the right choice.

Before I discovered this method, I felt like I was doing all the wrong things on the wrong days. I was cramming for band rehearsal while my mind was busy rolling over the best ways to brand a consulting business, or I was crunching numbers for a statistics blog with a mind distracted by the question “How am I gonna hit that note tonight?” I have even caught myself backspacing over lines of my own fiction because I couldn’t stop thinking about the flow problems erupting in the client’s book I was editing.

The people in my life have come to accept my working in this way. A ghostwriting client will have my undivided attention for a week, and then I might drop off for a few days. Or, my band members might feel pummeled with messages one day, and then think about checking with the morgue the next. The people in your life will learn this about you, too. And when you deliver work of exceptional quality, with a smile in your heart and earlier than expected, they’ll learn to love it.

What are your tips for building a blessed writer’s life? I’d love to hear about them, and learn from them. Comment here.

Have you heard? My Facebook page Jacinda Little, Writer for Hire is now called Jacinda Little. I made the change because I want that space to be for all lovers of books, reading, writing…not just those who wish to hire a copywriter or ghostwriter. So get on over there! We’re talking about stuff that’s gonna light you up (and if we’re not, I want to know what will). See you there.

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Why a Creative Ghostwriter?

A question has been posed to me recently:  “Why would I want a ghostwriter who’s creative?”

I can understand the mentality behind this question. Wouldn’t creativity on the part of the ghostwriter stomp all over the voice of the piece’s author? Wouldn’t it seemed contrived, particularly to those who have read things the author’s written in the past? Or to those who have made stereotypical assumptions about the type of voice the author should have?

I suppose the answer to the question should be something like, “Yes, a professional ghostwriter should be creative-minded.” Why? There are a few reasons:

1) Problem Solving: Roadblocks litter the path to objectives, and often, an author isn’t equipped to hurdle them. That doesn’t mean that he or she in incapable; it simply means that a bit of creative thinking might be necessary for overcoming one or more of these barricades.

2) Perspective Shift:  Because the author has been working as an administrator of some type of service in his or her own respective field, he or she likely has one perspective — the one from inside the lab coat, inside the batter’s box, or at the switch inside the execution room. What’s it like to be on the cold end of the stethoscope? Or on the mound? Or on the outside of the viewing glass? Maybe it won’t be appropriate to include these perspectives in the author’s story, but the creativity necessary for real or imagined empathy (or the ambition for seeking out those points of view) is necessary for delivering a finished product that will appeal to a larger number of viewpoints.

3) Idea Expansion: Every great idea holds the potential to be even better. When you add a creative mind to the mix, what you get might be something you never expected.

4) Willingness: Remember that creative minds are also open minds. In order to experience the satisfaction that comes with successful conceptualization, the creative mind is naturally more willing to allow masses of information to enter without bias. It is also more adept at spitting out a product not unlike a delicious dish that prompts the question, “What’s in this? I’m going to need the recipe.”

5) Professionalism: Finally, I should touch on the implication that I made earlier. A professional (in attitude and experience) ghostwriter will refuse to bastardize the concepts put forth by the author. The creative ghostwriter will distinctively expand upon ideas, make them digestible, use them to inform and/or entertain, and do it all while making the author feel that what’s on paper belongs to him or her…because it does.

Of course, creativity is a relative term, and every human possesses some degree of creativity. Those degrees vary when manifested, due in part to opportunity and to the evaluator’s criteria. No matter how you define creativity, the introduction of another mind to any project, when handled judiciously by the newcomer, can only enhance what you have to offer. Without creativity, a ghostwriter is not a ghostwriter at all — he or she is an editor.

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