Working hard, not really!

I’ve been working a lot lately, but the problem is that I haven’t found much time to work on my own projects, instead I’m working on other people’s. While I’m grateful for the work, money’s been really tight lately, I know that I need to get to work on my own project. On one note I’ve sent an email to a publishing company. I’m hoping that they like my idea enough to give me an advance on my novel. Cross your fingers and wish me luck, but I’m expecting rejection (after all isn’t that what always happens the first time?)

Confessions of a Thirty year old Ghostwriter

A lot of the writing community looks down on Ghostwriters. Let’s be honest, we are often regarded as the telemarketers of the literary world. We work for crap pay (if we’re lucky we can get one cent per word), we write the cheesy romances that are available on ebook, and no one really loves us. Our employers have no real respect for us, this is evidenced by the pay, the fact that we can work seventy hours a week for about two hundred dollars, the literary community frowns on us, and nobody really understands that you have to do what you have to do to make ends meet.

Let me share with you some of my experiences in the ghostwriting world. I feel like a whore sometimes, an underpaid whore who doesn’t even get to see people enjoy my work. I hate the fact that people have no respect for me or what I do. I love to write, but I don’t like being told what I’m supposed to write. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy.

My bosses dictate what I write, giving me advice about plot, typically it is some overdone plot device that has been overused and isn’t fun to write about. I write a lot of trashy romances, writing twenty thousand words in a little over a week for these people. They don’t have my name on them, and I’m kind of glad about that, because what I write for these people is crap. It’s crappy and I don’t like it, but the public seems to eat it up, so they keep hiring me, and it almost keeps food on the table.

You see, as an aspiring writer, there aren’t a lot of jobs that you’re qualified for. With other problems going on, two rambunctious girls, a husband with PTSD and fighting with VA, college classes, it’s almost impossible to have a regular job. Caring for the mentally ill is a full time job by itself, so I ghostwrite for slave wages so that others can make money. Before you knock ghostwriters please think about the people actually doing the writing, these people don’t get any respect, they’re mostly college students or single parents just trying to make ends meet and getting screwed over for it.

Let’s be honest however, it isn’t all bad. I have learned quite a few things from this job. I’ve developed the ability to take criticism and use it in the manner that it’s been given instead of taking it personally. I understand changing things that requiring changing. I’m getting better with discipline as well. It’s important to be able to force yourself to write and that’s what I have to do in order for my family to eat. These things have helped me out, they’ve helped my process to improve. To be honest I’ve logged onto Amazon.com where I’ve gotten some stories published and found my books, eager to find out what people are writing about me. I’ve taken the constructive criticism and used the advice to improve my other work. I love the fact that I am able to develop the thick skin required to be an artist. Some people are just insulting for the sake of being insulting, and that’s the truth of things, but occasionally someone actually gives some good advice and I use those tips to improve myself.

I am working on my own story as I get the time, but the work for me moves slowly, because I have bosses that are breathing down my neck, eager for my crap to post online.

What we do when the words won’t come.

I love my family. I really do, but for the past five days, every time I’ve tried to write I’ve gotten like one sentence written and then someone in my house has started yelling or screaming. It’s driving me crazy. I love the children and the husband, but I’m not sure that I can take this much longer.

In fact, as I write this, there is a cacophony of random monkey noises and shouts. This is the time that someone chooses to brush the baby’s mass of curly tangled hair. This is the moment that the seven year old absolutely has to pull something gigantic out of her room to show everyone, banging said item against walls and sliding it loudly across the floor. 

This is my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but sometimes you just need some quiet time. When you work from home it’s even more important. 

Living on a writer’s budget.

When writing supports your family it becomes crucial to save money whenever you can. Sometimes a couple of extra hours can save you a bundle. My desk chair broke yesterday, but I didn’t freak out. You see I’ve got a particular set of skills. In fact my husband believes that I can psychically sense sales, but I’m not sure if it’s a psychic ability or just finely tuned instincts. 

Instead of going to the local office store, where I know that I can get a new desk chair super cheap, I left the house at nine in the morning and it wasn’t until noon that I found what I was after. It’s a strange thing to dig through ratty old furniture in order to find a new desk chair, but I did it, and I not only scored one, but two, at five dollars each. 

Get to know the thrift stores in your town. Digging through dusty shelves and hidden treasures might save you some money, but it might also give you some inspiration as you look at the neat things that other people have collected and gotten rid of. 

 

Aside

The devil is in the details…

Writing is hard work, crazy and sometimes fulfilling.Na, let’s just ponder for a moment. This might be a poem, but I’m not so sure.  It might just be the rambling of a crazy lady… We may never know.

Descriptive writing, descriptive dying, brain don’t fail me now.

Pajama’d legs, I’m working, no I’m actually playing Farmville.

Need to function, the next few lines is my ticket to the big time.

Write, write, write, never quite enough, strive for more and fight the block.

Death from above, sleep never comes.

 

Maya, oh Maya, how could you leave?

We all have heard why the caged bird sings. We’ve read the stories, the poems, the life changing bits of wisdom. When this woman came into the world no one expected what a Phenomenal Woman she would become, what Phenomenal Women we would all become. We know something in her stirred our imaginations. It was a special relationship, she opened her soul to us, for the world to see. It was from her that I felt the inspiration, the drive to write. Through her words she fostered two generations of women who became writers, she inspired the rich and the famous alongside the poor and downtrodden. She changed our world and will be loved for it.

She came from nothing and became more than she ever imagined. R.I.P. Dr. Maya Angelou, you will be missed more than you will ever know.

A journey of a thousand steps…

I’ve always been a person who fights with ideas, wrestling them into submission in order to make them work. The words are no different. I fight with them while they swim around in my head, and make them come out, and place themselves on the paper in front of me. Something always feels like it’s in the way, and it drives me just a little bit crazier than I was before. I’ve committed a little over eight thousand words on paper, and it just doesn’t feel like enough. It doesn’t feel good enough, it never does.

The art tortures people, brings out their best and their worst qualities, and what comes out is just never good enough in the eyes of its creator. This is what we suffer with. The struggle, the journey, the fight is all part of the process. Everyone is an artist, but it requires a disciplined mind, something that I am slowly developing while creating what I will always consider my masterpiece. You have to write, but that fight is the easy part. The challenge is finishing what you start. That is where it can all go horribly wrong. It takes strength to hand the world something that you don’t think is perfect, and it takes power to withstand the criticisms and complaints about your work. It is a piece of your soul, like a child, and you want to see it succeed, not for money, not for fame, but for the fact that what you write makes someone, somewhere feel something.