What I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

I was in Las Vegas recently for a bachelorette party and one of our Uber drivers was a real character. He spun a tale about how his father was a Russian assassin that met his mother while on the job and she didn’t find out until after she was pregnant that he was not exclusively a firefighter. The driver regaled us with how he’s sick of soup and can’t eat it because that’s all he had while in Russia until he moved to the U.S. at the age of 10.

One of my friends asked him, “Have you ever eaten mukluks?” and he said, “Yeah, I’ve had mukluks.” It was a trick question because mukluks are high, soft boots worn in the winter.  This guy was yanking our chain, as my dad would say, but he spoke with complete confidence and was an expert bullsh*tter. The thing is, this guy had me fooled. I didn’t know he was lying until later when my friend said mukluks are shoes! Maybe that’s embarrassing but it’s true. I operate in this way because I’m such an honest person it doesn’t occur to me other people are not. It’s kind of ironic then that I’m a journalist because journalists are supposed to be cynical and question everything. (Is it any wonder that I became a ghostwriter for therapists and a content writer for small businesses? Much less skepticism required.)

freelance writer for therapists
It’s important to question claims and not buy them hook, line, and sinker. Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

For me, what I wish I knew 10 years ago (and have to remind myself of now) is that people lie.  Not only people, but companies because businesses are run by people who, again, aren’t always honest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen for the hype. “If you hire me, you’ll land a six-figure book deal,” or, “If we work together, you’ll double your income!” There’s also the prevalent, “We’re the No. 1 ____ in the city!” I haven’t necessarily bought a session with these folks, signed up for their course, or purchased their product, but I believe their hype. I have to constantly remind myself if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And/or show me the proof, then I’ll believe you.

For me, my “proof” is all over this website. My work speaks for itself. You can already tell I’m a good writer, or the kind of writer you want to work with, based on my samples. Not only the formal samples but this blog too! I’m a freelance ghostwriter for therapists and busy professionals — I support them (and potentially you!) by using my writing prowess to communicate ideas they don’t have the time or ability to convey. You’ll be able to tell that from the paid sample I require for new clients.

SF content writer
Paid samples are priceless. Photo by fotografierende on unsplash

Other than that, I don’t make promises I can’t keep. Yes, it’s true, some of my clients have been published on GoodTherapy and in book anthologies, but I don’t know if that will be the case for every client. I can’t guarantee visibility but I can guarantee the effort I’ll put in if you’d like to work together. If you want to give it a shot, contact me. I’d love to support you.


3 Worries People Have About Ghostwriting

I’ve worked as a ghostwriter for therapists and other mental health providers for a while now and I’ve noticed there are a few fears that come up regularly. If you’re considering hiring a ghostwriter, but you’re a little nervous about it, keep reading.

“Wouldn’t it be better if I wrote it myself?”

Sometimes people think they are the only ones who can express what’s on their minds and hearts. They think they are the best people to convey ideas to the world, but that’s not true. I’ve worked as a journalist since 2006 and in that time have honed my interview skills. I know how to draw information from a person they may not think is relevant or interesting, which I also apply to ghostwriting.

There’s also the fact not everyone is a writer. Some people struggle to present their ideas in clear and cohesive ways, especially if they’re neurodivergent. By working with me, I can zero in on what matters and expand upon that information. Not only that, even people who are good writers struggle to find time to write! If you’re a therapist or mental health provider, you’re spending most of your day seeing patients so making time for writing can be stressful. That’s where I come in. I have the time to do what you cannot.

Woman biting pencil
Writing doesn’t have to make you feel like this! I can help. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash.

“If I didn’t write it, how can I claim the credit?”

I hear this one a lot. People are worried that if they aren’t the ones putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard), the content isn’t really theirs. They think they can’t claim ownership, or that it’s unethical to do so. I hear you. I’m an enneagram one so integrity is high on my list of values. The way I think about it is ideas are intellectual property.

The thoughts I’m writing about aren’t mine, they’re yours. I know a smidge about a variety of topics like attachment theory, internal family systems, and trauma, but you are the expert. I’m writing a skeleton blog or book that you fill in with lived experience. I’m the instrument for the idea, but the content didn’t come from me.

This is why I emphasize over and over again the importance of the ghostwriting relationship. I want to make sure I’m capturing your voice and that I understand what it is you want to convey. By doing so, I’m writing something as close to how you would phrase it as I can. That means when the blog or the book goes live, you can feel comfortable saying it’s yours. However, if that still makes you nervous, keep reading for point three.

woman looking nervous
If you’re nervous, talk to me. Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash.

“Will anyone know I didn’t write it?”

When I ghostwrite for busy professionals or therapists, I let them take the lead in how confidential they want our relationship to be. Some folks feel fine declaring they work with me as a ghostwriter whereas others want that to be kept between us. Whatever you, the client, decide is what goes. I won’t publicly declare I ghostwrote a piece unless I have express permission from you (and even then I will probably keep my lips sealed.)

If you’re worried about anyone finding out you hired a ghostwriter, let me put that fear to rest: They won’t. Unless you tell them. That’s also why I don’t rely on using ghostwriting samples when I pitch to potential clients. It doesn’t matter what I wrote for one of my most successful clients, Renee (not her real name), because I may not write in a way that works for you. In addition to emphasizing the ghostwriting relationship, this is also why I conduct a paid writing sample before working with anyone. If you don’t like what I wrote for you, then who cares what I’ve ghostwritten for someone else and how well it performed?

If I’ve assuaged your fears (and even if I haven’t), why not reach out to me about working together? What do you have to lose? And what do you have to gain?

Maybe It’s You

I wrote a novel recently — my first ever — and sent it off to 50+ agents, confident someone would snatch it up immediately. After all, I’m already a professional writer so why wouldn’t someone want to sign me? When the first few agents either didn’t respond or said, “No thanks,” my spirits remained high and I assumed the problem was I just hadn’t found the right agent yet. By about the 25th rejection, I started to wonder if the problem was me. After the 50th rejection, I knew it was.

In my naivete, I assumed my writing skills would translate. That because I’ve written so many articles for so many publications, of course I’d be able to write a novel. It was only after numerous rejections that I started to question that belief. I started doing more research and attended a writer’s conference. It was eye-opening, to say the least. I learned precisely what agents are looking for in submissions and realized many of the turnoffs they mentioned were included in my manuscript. Ouch. I realized even though I originally thought someone else was the problem, that wasn’t the case. The problem was me.

ghostwriter for therapists
A little self-reflection goes a long way. Photo by Jalen Terry on Unsplash

I mention this because how often in business (and life) do we assume everyone else is at fault? That they’re the ones who need to change when in actuality you’re the problem? If you find yourself using hyperbolic words like “all,” “always,” or “never,” chances are you’d be better suited looking in the mirror. How could it possibly be true that your bosses are always terrible? Or that all of your colleagues are idiots? It can’t.

I’m reminded of “John” from therapist Lori Gottlieb’s book Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. He proclaimed that everyone else is an idiot and clung steadfastly to that belief. Gottlieb writes:

“When people come to therapy, I’m listening to their narratives but also for their flexibility with them. Do they consider what they’re saying to be the only version of the story – the ‘accurate’ version – or do they know that there are many ways to tell it? Are they aware of what they leave in or out or how they amend their story for the therapist’s ears?”

ghostwriter for therapists
There are multiple perspectives in every situation. Photo by pawel szvmanski on Unsplash

Even though she mentions this in the context of therapy, it also applies in business. Are we being flexible? Do we understand there are many ways to describe a situation? And that perhaps instead of being a hero, we’re a villain? It’s easy to point the finger at someone else, but that’s not grounded in reality, nor is it an empowering way to behave. It’s tempting to fall into a victim mentality, to think something is happening to me, but the truth is, I also have a part to play. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my communication, or I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no.” Maybe I didn’t set a boundary and now I’m resentful. Whatever the situation, it’s important to remember I’m an active participant in my life, including my business life.

We often think of business as being separate from our personal lives, and while that’s true to a degree, it’s also not. We’re still humans when we’re at work. We’re still interacting with one another. We’re still bringing our baggage, our trauma, and our defenses with us. That means our personal lives bleed over into our professional lives. They aren’t really separate. And so the more we do personal development work, the more we engage in self-reflection, the more harmonious and joyful our work life will be.

If you’re interested in partnering together, reach out to me

Specificity is the Gateway to Universality

Recently, someone asked me how I keep content such as articles, case studies, and blogs interesting, particularly if I’ve written on the topic a bajillion times. My response was, “The human element.” People want to read about themselves. We are endlessly fascinated by the behaviors of others, either because they mimic our own or are drastically different. It’s that human quirkiness that perpetually snags our attention.

A literary agent expressed this during a writer’s conference I went to in October when he said, “Specificity is the gateway to universality.” It may seem counterintuitive, but the more specific you are, the more relatable whatever it is you’re writing.  Instead of trying to make your character like everyone else, instead of being as general as possible, do the opposite. It turns out when you write about someone whose eye twitches when they’re stressed, or leaves dirty dishes in the sink for days, you’re broadening the appeal of your character. There’s a universality because while your eye may not twitch when you’re stressed, maybe your mouth does, or your finger.

ghost writer for mental health provider
A twitching eye is a memorable detail. Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Conversely, with the detail about the dishes, maybe you wash your dishes as soon as you’re finished and you’re repulsed by people who let them sit a while. That emotional reaction is a hook that keeps you engaged because you’re either nodding your head in agreement or exclaiming, “How could you do that?!?”

The literary agent said, “Specificity is the gateway to universality,” in reference to characters in a novel, but the principle also applies to case studies, blogs, and articles. If I’m writing about something as mundane as a pencil, which we’ve all used at some point in our lives, you don’t care that much the pencil sparkles. Glitter is fun and all, the sparkles may tip you over the edge in terms of buying the pencil, but you’re not going to read an entire blog about it. However, if I said there are 50 ways to use a pencil that don’t involve writing, and then interviewed people who used pencils as hair accessories, art pieces, to conduct electricity, and more, that’s interesting.

small business content writer
Now you’re thinking about all the uses for pencils, aren’t you? Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

In my work as a ghostwriter for therapists, I use this principle of specificity frequently and ask my clients for examples. Out of the 50 million articles on trauma, what makes theirs stand out? Unless they’re presenting cutting-edge research, it will be the anecdotes. It will be the story of how Jane Doe was scared to leave her house because the world felt too threatening and now she travels by herself to far-flung lands. That’s a story.

Because I have training as a journalist, and still work as a freelance journalist in Oakland, CA, I’m well aware of what makes content interesting. I think about this all the time. In journalism, there’s a word for it: newsworthiness. And just because I’m not writing for the New York Times and instead writing for someone’s blog, doesn’t mean those same rules don’t apply. They do. Specificity is the gateway to universality no matter whether it’s ghostwriting for a therapist or content writing for a small business.

tech content writer
Specificity acts as a point of focus. Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

How has XYZ affected you or someone you know? How is life different for you because of XYZ? It’s those details that make all the difference.

If you’d like help drawing out those details, reach out to me. I’ve been focusing on details since the 2nd grade when I told my teacher, Mrs. Briggs, that her shoes sounded like they said “apple” every time she took a step. Even if that doesn’t make sense to you, it sure caught your attention, didn’t it?


To Succeed, Think . . . Negatively

In the U.S., we hear all the time about the power of positive thinking. “Visualize what you want and you’ll get it!” We have numerous anecdotes backing this up, like Jim Carrey who wrote himself a $10 million check in 1985 for “acting services rendered” and post-dated it 10 years ahead. Lo and behold, in November 1995 he was paid $10 million for his movie Dumb and Dumber. There’s also that athlete who dreamt of winning a gold medal and then did. However, these folks might be the exception rather than the norm because it turns out, visualizing a positive outcome is one of the worst things you can do if you want to be successful.

That’s because, “Ceaseless optimism about the future only makes for a greater shock when things go wrong,” writes journalist Oliver Burkeman. “By fighting to maintain only positive beliefs about the future, the positive thinker ends up being less prepared, and more acutely distressed, when things eventually happen that he can’t persuade himself to believe are good.”

writer for therapists
It can be harder to digest the negative if you’ve only focused on the positive. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Burkeman’s comments aren’t just conjecture, by the way; they’re backed up by research. Social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked 83 German students to rate the extent to which they thought positively about graduating from school and finding a job. Two years later, the researchers found the positive-thinking students put in fewer job applications, received fewer offers, and earned lower salaries.

It’s not just students either. Oettingen and Mayer published research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that found hip-replacement patients who imagined their recovery would be swift were less successful in recovering than patients with more moderate expectations. That’s because visualizing a positive outcome conveys the sense you’re approaching your goals, which takes the edge off the need to achieve, according to Heather Barry Kappes, a management professor at the London School of Economics.

Writer for mental health professionals
Winning one of these takes more than positive visualization. Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

That’s not to say there’s no place for positive thinking, there is, but it’s more important to visualize the obstacles standing between you and your wish along with how you’ll go about conquering them. That process is coined “WOOP” by Oettingen and stands for “wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan.” (You can practice WOOPing on this website.)

For me as a ghostwriter for therapists and an Oakland-based content writer for small businesses, that means I can’t just imagine receiving a check for a million dollars. It means I have to assess whether my goal is possible for one, and what are the obstacles between me and that goal, for two.

As much as we’d like to believe success is easy, passive, something we can dream our way into being, in reality, success — no matter how you define it — takes effort. It means meeting obstacles head on and overcoming them. It also means doing what works for you. As an old soul in business, contacting therapists and saying, “Hi, I’m a writer for therapists. Working with me, clients have increased their web traffic by 500%,” or “My clients have been published in numerous anthologies,” doesn’t seem to fly. For whatever reason, that method (which works for others!), doesn’t work for me.

writer for therapists
What stands between me and what I want? Photo by Katrina Berban on Unsplash

Instead, my effort is one of trust, faith, and knowing all who need me will find me because I’m putting myself out there. I’m using SEO so anyone who googles “ghostwriter for therapists” will stumble across my website. I’m asking for referrals from my existing clients. I’m taking inspired action, letting myself be guided, and knowing one of the best things I can do for myself is visualize, yes, but also visualize my hurdles. Imagining the worst-case scenario means I’ll know how to handle it if it arises. And as Roy T. Bennett says, “When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge — every adversity — contains within it seeds of opportunity and growth.”

If you’d like to explore opportunities for growth, I’d love to hear from you!


You Are Not Meant for Everyone

A friend texted me the other day, worried about money. She functions essentially like an independent contractor and because her company hired a bunch of new people, she expressed concern that fewer clients would want to work with her because now there’s more competition.

I get that. Sometimes I feel the same way. With so many people working as a ghostwriter for therapists and a content writer for small businesses, that means there’s less work to go around, right? Maybe. But also, the reality is not just anybody wants to work with my friend and my friend doesn’t want to work with just anyone. (Obviously that also applies to me.) It’s related to a post I wrote a year ago about how you can say “no” to clients. Business is like matchmaking — it truly has to be a good fit.

writer for therapists
Are we suitable for one another like a specific lock and key? Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

So yes, there may be a million people working as a ghostwriter for therapists or a  small business content writer, but that doesn’t mean we should be working together. For instance, I would HATE working for Big Tobacco or a company that’s clearcutting the Amazon rainforest. And they would likely hate working with me because our values are not in alignment. I care about contributing to the world in a positive way. Not only that, climate change matters a LOT to me so no, I couldn’t work with just anybody.

Like I told my friend, a better mindset than the competition = scarcity one, is that she could affirm for herself, “May all who need me, find me.” It’s certainly what I do in my business and what’s interesting is I find my clients are similar to me — they’re sensitive, empathic, caring individuals. Their primary concern is being of service to others, not making a quick buck. We’re a match because we understand one another. I grok what they’re trying to convey and am able to convey it. That’s huge! First and foremost, a ghostwriter must be able to emulate their client’s voice. If they can’t do that, it’s not ghostwriting.

writer for therapists
Do I sound like you? That’s good ghostwriting. Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Content writing is different because my name usually is on the blog or article, but even there being a good match is important. Let’s be real — content writing can be boring and devoid of personality because the writer is just trying to insert specific keywords to boost search engine optimization. That’s fine, but the reason I’m able to make content writing fun is my clients allow me to have fun. They want me to be creative and that changes everything.

The bottom line is you, I, we, are not meant for everyone. We won’t work well with just anybody. That’s OK, fantastic even! We are meant to work with people who will get the most benefit from the relationship. You can’t please everyone and there’s that marketing saying that if you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one. Niches are important. It’s why I promote myself as a ghostwriter for therapists and not a ghostwriter for science-fiction novelists. Therapy and mental health I understand. Sci-Fi? Not so much.

writer for therapists
Yeah, this? I don’t really understand. Photo by Aideal Hwa on Unsplash

Supporting small businesses? Sign me up! Every single one of my immediate family members has their own business so heck yeah I want to support small businesses with my writing skills. Again, it has to be the right small business but you never know if you don’t ask. So go ahead and ask! Reach out to me and let’s see if we’re a good match for one another. I look forward to hearing from you.

Being an Old Soul in Business

All my life people have told me I’m an old soul, meaning someone who is wise beyond their years, highly sensitive, and empathic. I use that wisdom, sensitivity, and empathy in all my relationships, including business ones, which explains why people like working with me. And at the same time, being an old soul means I can’t conduct business in a “normal” way. (Side note, what even is normal?) It turns out, for this old soul, conventional wisdom doesn’t work.

As a ghostwriter for therapists and a content writer for small businesses, conventional wisdom says I should be out there hustling. Business coaches say, “You must get out there and sell yourself. Cold-call a hundred people a day.” Or, “For every 10 no’s you’ll receive one yes.” For some people that works. For me, that sounds like a nightmare and usually only ends in frustration. I’ve experienced this over and over again. When I reach out about ghostwriting for a therapist, more often than not, all I hear is crickets. Usually my email or telephone call goes unanswered.

San Francisco, CA content writer
Sometimes it feels like this, that the phone has been left off the hook. Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

The funny thing is the vast majority of my clients reached out to me, and said, “Hey, I hear you’re a ghostwriter for therapists. Can you tell me more about that?” (P.S., if you want to learn more about ghostwriting and you feel shy, check out this post.) Having someone come to me is not at all how it’s “supposed” to go!

Tosha Silver talks about this in her book It’s Not Your Money, and says, “To many people, this aggressive approach [of hustling for clients] can feel traumatic and futile. It’s just another kind of doership. Instead, you offer the project to the Divine … you say, ‘Okay, God, if You want this to happen, then open the way. Let the connections come. Let everyone who needs me, find me.’ At the right time, the splendid march of synchronicities begins.”

San Francisco CA content writer
Let the synchronicities commence! Photo by Billy Huynh on Unsplash

And they do. If you’re able to trust and let go, amazing things start to happen. That doesn’t mean you do nothing, rather it means you act with inspiration, from a place of intuition. The Divine could nudge you to write a blogpost where you let people know you’re a ghostwriter for therapists, or you’re a content writer for small businesses. It could also mean the Divine tells you to share on LinkedIn or Twitter that you’re available for work. Maybe the Divine Beloved will even whisper in your ear and say, “Reach out to so and so.”

The point is, there’s a difference when you act from a place of trust and intuition than your ego. The ego says, “You have to figure this all out now! You need to work harder! Achieve, achieve, achieve!” The ego has lots of ideas about how things “should” go and thinks everyone else knows better than you do. It’s why advice books are so popular. No one knows what they’re doing and in some ways it’s easier to follow in someone else’s footsteps than it is to get quiet, to be in touch with the still, inner voice that whispers suggestions.

therapist ghostwriter
Your Self is whispering. Are you listening? Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Sure, advice has its place, but just because the advice is out there doesn’t mean you have to take it. Will that business coach’s advice work for you? Is it something you can sustain? What does your inner voice say?

Living in this way is different than the hyper-egoic, manifestation craze touted all over creation. Living in this way means a different sort of life. It’s easier for one, more magical for two. It’s not uncommon for opportunities to arise out of the blue, for the door you’ve been knocking on to finally open. It’s the kind of life I aspire to and it’s also why I’m here to say, “Use me. Let me be of service to you.” I’m a professional writer here to help you because I want you to succeed. Let’s go on that journey together. If you feel called, reach out to me today.

Renee: A Client Success Story

When I first met Renee (name changed to protect her identity), she told me her therapy business was in a good place so she wasn’t interested in attracting new patients. Instead, what she really wanted was to express herself. To get her voice out there. She wanted to reach more people than she otherwise could doing exclusively one-on-one sessions.

Renee knew she had an interesting perspective to share with the world and she enjoyed writing, had some experience with it, but her issue was time. What with seeing patients, doing paperwork, and generally living her life, making time for writing was a struggle. Furthermore, it wasn’t something she could easily crank out in a short period of time. In other words, she wasn’t a fast writer. Realizing she could use some help, she reached out to me.

ghost writer for therapists
We could all use help sometimes. Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

As a writer for therapists (as well as a content writer for small businesses), it’s easy for me to sit down and write something swiftly. I’ve spent the last 15 years working as a journalist with hard deadlines, and sometimes covered breaking news. That means I can write quickly. Gone are the days of laboring over each word and spending countless hours on one article. I told Renee I would be happy to take the stress out of writing for her and free up her time so she could focus on what she does best: being a therapist. I also told her I would support her in getting her voice heard by a broader audience.

I’m happy to report that’s exactly what’s happened. Articles I ghostwrote for Renee have been placed on prominent websites that reach an estimated 7 million people per month through a variety of partner and advertising networks. Not just one article either — several. On top of that, I’ve ghostwritten not one but TWO chapters for her that will be published in anthologies next year. In fact, based on an article I ghostwrote, one publication reached out to Renee specifically and asked her to contribute a piece to their upcoming anthology. We didn’t even pitch to them! They came to us!

mental health writer
Woohoo! Celebrating! Photo by Guille Álvarez on Unsplash

The magic comes from the alchemy of our relationship of course. I’m doing the writing, but the ideas are all Renee’s and she’s the one making sure the information is accurate as well as reflective of her writing style. But still. I’m so proud of her and our work together. It shows that as a ghostwriter for therapists, I get results. There’s no guarantee that something I ghostwrite will be accepted for submission at various publications, but given my track record with Renee, I’d say the odds are in your favor.

If you’d like to risk those odds, if you’re looking to be heard, to become prominent in your field, reach out to me today. I’d love to support you. Together, who knows what we could accomplish?

How to Tackle Something New

A few years ago I lamented to a friend that at my age it’s rare to experience something completely new — not because I’ve experienced everything possible, but rather because most things will remind me of something else. For instance, visiting a foreign country will remind me of another foreign country or even a part of the U.S. That happened when I went to Denmark for the first time — the landscape reminded me of Iowa. And visiting Banff in Canada reminded me of the Pacific Northwest.

When it comes to tasting a new food, it will inevitably have notes of something I’ve already eaten. The other week I ate jujubes for the first time and they reminded me of a mix between dates and apples. Does that mean I’m doomed to never experience something new again? It turns out, no. There are experiences off my radar that are or will be completely new to me.

writer for therapists
These are jujubes. Photo by Mona Mok on Unsplash

In fact, that happened recently. In addition to working as a healthcare journalist and being a writer for mental health professionals, I’ve also written a romcom novel. While I could publish it myself, I want to go the traditional route and have been trying to get literary agent representation for the past year and a half to no avail. Did you know literary agents receive 18,000 submissions a year and they only sign five new clients from those submissions? I didn’t.

Most literary agents sign new authors NOT from wading through the slush pile of unsolicited query letters, but rather via referrals from existing clients and meeting them at networking  events like conferences. Often those conferences have pitch sessions, which are typically 10 minutes of one-on-one time with a literary agent. Those sessions are a chance to do what it sounds like — pitch your book.

writer for therapists
There’s a lot that takes place behind the scenes to get one of these out in the world. Photo by Mikołaj on Unsplash

As someone who has her own business as a ghostwriter for mental health professionals and is a content writer for small businesses, I’ve written oodles of things over the years about why people should work with me, how I’m better than artificial intelligence, etc. but I’ve NEVER had 10 minutes “in person” with a literary agent to tell them about my book and why it matters. (My recent meetings were over Zoom so not quite in person, but similar.)

I’m not ashamed to say the prospect scared the beejezus out of me. Here was a situation for which I had no frame of reference! Just like I asked for! And it was terrifying! But also thrilling! At first I cried because I was stressed about it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well because this could be my big break. And then I reminded myself if I performed dismally I could only get better. And there would be other conferences, other agents, etc. Plus, I searched YouTube high and low for a video to help me prepare. I didn’t find quite what I was looking for but I did get some tips.

freelance health care journalist
I scoured YouTube, let me tell you. Photo by CardMapr on Unsplash

After rehearsing over and over again (and practicing with my sister who is a performance coach), I reminded myself I didn’t have to be perfect or “right.” Instead, I can treat myself like I would a niece or nephew.

I said, “Rebekah, no matter what happens, I’m proud of you. You’re doing something new, you’re showing up for yourself and your dreams. That’s amazing! Great job!” And you know what? It helped. I brought that attitude into my anxiety-provoking experience and reminded myself I didn’t have to be perfect. I was in the situation to learn, to try my best, and that’s all anyone could ask for.

You know what happened? I knocked it out of the park. All the agents I spoke with said my pitch was fantastic and they were surprised I hadn’t pitched before(!!!). That’s very much NOT the outcome I expected but I’ll take it!

ghostwriter for therapists
This was me, metaphorically speaking. Photo by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash

Why am I writing about this on a business website? Because it makes me wonder how often we stop ourselves from doing something new, something that scares us, because we want to be perfect, we want to do it “right.” Or maybe we stop ourselves from doing something because it’s too scary. Maybe we’re nervous to reach out to a new client, or charge the rate we really want, or whatever. Instead of talking ourselves out of it, why not treat ourselves the way we would a beloved small child? Why not say, “You can do it! I believe in you!” What would the outcome be in that situation? You might find the experience to be exhilarating instead of terrifying.

Maybe reaching out to me, growing your online presence, getting your voice heard, feels scary. I get that but it could also be the best thing you do for yourself. I write for mental health professionals just like you and create content for small businesses just like yours. Contact me today to see if we’re a good fit.

Why I’m Better than AI

Recently, a friend introduced me to copy.ai, which is an artificial intelligence (AI) website that writes marketing material. When I first looked through the website, my stomach dropped. My initial thought was, “AI is going to put me out of a job!” I’m sure many people have that fear and in fact is a news story that I, myself, have covered for the radiology publication AuntMinnie.com.

After my initial freak out, I probed deeper into the question: “Will AI put me out of a job?” After taking a deep breath and mulling it over, I decided no, it won’t. Maybe I’m being naïve, but I can’t see AI doing what I do. Oh sure, it can generate generic copy, it can follow a template, it can be a plug-and-play option for certain businesses, but it can’t do what I do. You know why? Because what I do requires decision-making, creativity, and empathy. In short, it requires something a machine can never provide: humanity.

writer for therapists.
Machines can only replace so much. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

You might be saying to yourself, “Well, AI has to make decisions all the time. That’s what a decision tree is for.” You’re right, but when faced with multiple interview sources, how can AI decide which quote to lead with? How can it determine what information to include and what information to leave out? How can AI know who is “quoteworthy” and who isn’t? As a freelance journalist but also a ghostwriter for therapists, I make those decisions all the time. They’re based on what the publication has already covered, what will be a continuation of the conversation, and what’s truly new. When I write an article, I research what has already been written about it to make sure I’m not repeating material and also to see how I can expound upon what’s already been reported. Maybe AI will eventually be able to do all that, but we’re not there yet.

Something else AI can’t do is create. It instead takes content that’s been written before and uses it again. AI is a copycat. Sure, you have “originality” with a word here and there, but AI doesn’t create something altogether unique or personalized. It can’t. AI has limits and works with what the developers have fed into the algorithm. There are options to choose from and that’s it. AI creates cookie cutter material and frankly it irritates the crap out of me. It feels so, well, soul-less. Because it is. Copy generated by a computer is stripped of all emotion and is hard for me to connect to because there is no humanity to facilitate a connection. There may be “pretend” emotion, there may be “emotional” words, but how can the writing material contain any more than that?

writer for therapists
Human emotion is real. Machine emotion is not. Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

That’s not the case with me. I have emotion for days over here! I’m someone who wears my heart on my sleeve and more than that I have formal training in nonviolent communication and practice it regularly. Plus, I have an emotional hygiene practice where I express my emotions and recognize them for the tools and messengers that they are. I bring that emotionality, that empathy to everything I do. When I interview someone, I connect with them as a person. I ask them how they’re doing, I’m curious to hear their thoughts, I actively listen to what they’re saying. It’s why I’ve written so many features in my career – because I’m good at it. Give me a feature story and I’ll knock it out of the park. You know why? Because I’m a human being that relates to other human beings.

Ultimately what makes my writing special is the soul I put into it. I put myself into the writing – the word choice, the flow, the voice. When people read what I’ve written they instantly know it was written by a person because it’s clear there’s a person behind the keyboard. That’s also true when I ghostwrite for therapists because in that instance I’m embodying someone else’s voice. I’m thinking about what they would say, not what I would say so in that case too there’s a person behind the keyboard.

writer for therapists
No artificial intelligence typing on these keys! Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Why am I better than AI? Precisely because I’m not a machine. If you want to liven up your copy, make it peppy, I can do that. If you want to make your copy more formal, I can do that too. If you want to convey a story, I’m your gal. If you’re having a tough day and want a compassionate person to interact with, that’s me as well. Instead of having a machine spit out some copy that will read like every other copy it spits out – you can have personalized, soulful, creative material written by a person who understands nuance, which is something a machine will never be able to give you.

If you’re interested in working together, contact me to see if we’re a good fit.