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.

Why You Want to Work with Me

The other week, a client emailed me and said, “You could call your business ‘Beyond Words’ because you offer so much more than writing blogposts.” I blushed reading that – and told her I appreciated her comment – but it also got me thinking. Why would she say that? And also, what else is it that I offer other than ghostwriting for therapists or content marketing for small businesses? More than my services, what do people get when working with me?

Me. They get me. And who is that? If you want all the labels, I’m an INFJ (introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging person) on the Myers-Brigg test. I’m a feeler but I also have a sharp mind. As an enneagram 1, I care about integrity, ethics, and details. I’m a perfectionist and want to get things right. I’m an idealist and always strive to improve whatever it is I’m working on. Lastly, I’m a highly sensitive person, which means I’m easily overstimulated (thus well suited to working as a writer!) and in tune with my environment and people around me. That means I understand what people are going through in a real way and offer understanding as well as flexibility. Did you just move? Are you going on vacation? I’m happy to give you some leeway in our work together.

san francisco content marketer

Some people might call me a bad businesswoman because instead I should point to the contract and say, “Well, you said you’d do X so now you have to,” but, well, that’s not who I am. I’m a person who values care and consideration and wants others to do the same. I can be hard-nosed about some things, but when it comes to people, I’m a big softie. That doesn’t mean I’m a doormat – I’ll say “no” and mean it according to my personal boundaries – but for the most part, I cut people lots of slack.

On top of all the personal traits that make me who I am, you also want to work with me because I deliver what I promise on time or even early! You don’t have to take my word for it – you can read my testimonials. But maybe you’re someone who’s a little skeptical. After all, testimonials can be bought. As an enneagram 1, that doesn’t occur to me, but I know some people have looser morals than I do. So, let’s say you think my testimonials are fake (they’re not because if you look up the names of the people, you’ll find they’re real, live humans), but just in case you’re questioning that, also consider the length of time I’ve worked with a few of my clients.

content marketer san francisco

I’ve been freelancing for the Potrero View since 2013, and even after leaving AuntMinnie.com in 2018, they’ve continued to ask me to freelance for them, as evidenced by an article I wrote about a  month ago.

By and large, my working relationships last. I’ve had a few that were short term of course, that happens to everybody, but mostly my relationships are long term, which demonstrates the kind of person I am. I’m the kind of person others want to keep working with!

I posted this before, but people want to work with someone they will “bond with, who they will feel good around, who will be their friend,” according to Dr. Lauren Rivera at Northwestern University who examined 120 interviews and published her results in the American Sociological Review. That’s me. I’m a person people bond with and feel good around. I treat my clients with respect. I know they have their own challenges and lives. I don’t look at them and see dollar signs, which makes all the difference.

content marketer for small businesses

So what do you get when you hire me to ghostwrite for you or create content marketing posts? You get a caring human being, a perfectionist, and someone who is a woman of her word. If that all sounds like a person you want to work with, reach out to me, and let’s see if we’re a good fit.

What I Love about Ghostwriting

Not only am I a ghostwriter for therapists and other busy professionals, I’m also a content writer for small businesses plus a freelance journalist. That’s a lot of hats for one person to wear! I often joke around and say I’m a Jill of all trades because of how multifaceted I am when it comes to writing. Why have I structured my business the way that I have? After all, I’m choosing to wear these hats. Why have I done that? Keep reading to find out.

Why I love ghostwriting for therapists

I love ghostwriting for therapists because first and foremost, I care about mental health. As someone who has had her own mental health journey, I know the importance of people receiving support. And therapy isn’t only for people who are struggling to survive. It’s also for people who want to thrive. Working with a trained professional lets a person see their own shadow. It helps them spot patterns and dysfunctional behaviors that are difficult to spot on your own.

In my free time I like to read about various psychological topics — attachment theory, epigenetics, family constellations, etc. I could talk about those subjects for hours. Therapeutic topics come up so frequently in casual conversations that people have asked me over and over again whether I’ve thought about being a therapist. The answer is “yes, I have but it’s not my strong suit.” It’s really not. As an introvert and highly sensitive person, I’m drained by spending large chunks of time with people. I couldn’t handle talking to people about their challenges all the livelong day. Plus, my strong suit is writing. How do I marry these two passions? Ghostwriting for therapists!

writer for therapists

As a ghostwriter for therapists, I write about topics that interest me without spending years in graduate school. And because I don’t have professional training in that arena, the therapist or psychologist looks over what I’ve written and makes sure it’s factual. Everyone wins — I save the therapist time because they aren’t writing the article themselves and I get to do what I love. I mean honestly, what’s better than that? But I don’t only ghostwrite for therapists, I also ghostwrite for busy professionals.

What I love about ghostwriting for professionals

I love ghostwriting for busy professionals because I know everyone wants to be heard. I know people have their own area of expertise they’d like to share with the world. However, having a desire is not the same thing as having the time or the talent.

There are numerous professionals out there who have great ideas — they can support people with accounting or communication skills or whatever — but when it comes down to writing the darn thing, they can’t. That’s either because they have kids to look after or too much to do, or they’re more of a talker than a writer. Many people don’t have trouble speaking in front of a group but when it comes to typing on a keyboard they feel stuck. That’s where I come in. One of my clients likes to schedule a telephone call with me, or send me an audio recording where she discusses what she’d like her next blog to be about.

writer for therapists

It’s much easier for her to spend 30 minutes on the phone together rather than an hour and 30 minutes writing. Because writing is my forte, I’m happy to do the heavy lifting. It’s no trouble for me to take someone else’s ideas and put them in a coherent format. Plus, because I know a little bit about most topics due to my journalism training and natural curiosity, I’m able to pull in relevant books, articles, and quotes to flesh out the piece. Working with me takes your writing to the next level because you’re no longer going it alone.  Ghostwriting always involves partnership. However, the other parts of my business do not.

Why I love content writing

I love content writing for small businesses because it’s fun. I get to be zany, amusing, chipper. There’s so much room for creativity with being a content writer for small businesses because as long as I hit certain keywords, I’m set. I’ve slipped in a Mandalorian reference, song lyrics, and more. In one of my posts, I wrote, “If you want to be the prettiest pony at the party, that might not happen because you’ll have to contend with lookalikes.” I mean honestly, how frequently are you able to write with that sort of freedom in a paid setting? Answer: rarely. That’s what I love about content writing. My clients are happy as long as I repeat “Oakland web designer” or whatever their keyword is a few times. It’s fun! And content writing isn’t always fun because some small businesses think of it as a chore. It’s that thing they have to do to keep up web traffic but they’re not that great at it and have no idea what to say.

That’s where I come in. I’m great at content writing! And I have plenty to say! I’m writing an entire blogpost about what I love in regards to my business. I could do the same for you if you want. Get in touch with me.

ghostwriter for professionals

So that’s content writing. What about working as a freelance journalist? Why do I like that?

Why I love freelance journalism

I love working as a freelance journalist because it exposes me to people, places, events, and subjects I never knew existed or don’t have much familiarity with. For instance, recently I wrote an article about the Dogpatch Paddle Club. It’s a club for water sports enthusiasts in the SF Bay Area. I had no idea it existed but now I can tell you all about it, the founder, and his future plans for the club.

The other thing I love about being a freelance journalist is the deadlines. I know, some people are scared of deadlines because they feel a lot of pressure. Not me! I’ve been working as a journalist since 2006 so I’m a pro at meeting deadlines. I know precisely how long it will take me to research and write an article so meeting deadlines is easy.

Plus, because I’ve been doing this for so long, journalism is familiar, it’s easy. News pieces have their own format; they have a formula to follow. I don’t have to think too deeply about how to structure a news article because the structure is practically a given. Feature articles are a different beast but I love those because feature articles are all about storytelling. I’m sharing the story about a person or a business. Or maybe I’m writing in depth on a topic, like how artificial intelligence will affect productivity for radiologists. Regardless, it’s fun for me to compile information and share it with the world.

So there you have it. Now you know why I love working as a ghostwriter, content writer, and a journalist. If you want to hire me for any of these roles, get in touch. Let’s see if we’re a good fit.

Why the Origin of the Word ‘Entrepreneur’ Matters

First and foremost, it wasn’t until recently that I started thinking of myself as an entrepreneur, and even now I feel a little uncomfortable with the term. I wasn’t an enterprising little girl – I didn’t sell lemonade to my neighbors. I didn’t dream about being my own boss. I had zero aspirations to run a Fortune 500 company. In short, I don’t identify with the ambitious, self-starter types who wear the label “entrepreneur” with ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I had (and have) dreams and ambitions, but historically they never included running a company. They were (and are) more along the lines of “travel the world” and “write a bestselling book.” Disrupting the health industry? Writing an app? Yeah, not really on my mind. But here I am, a businesswoman, a writer for therapists and other busy professionals. And because the only person running this business is me, that makes me an entrepreneur. So how can I square this term with my identity?

writer for therapists

What helps me in these situations is to go back to the word’s roots. Somehow getting in touch with the evolution of a word helps me understand it better. (I am a wordsmith after all.) In this case, entrepreneur comes from 18th century French and means “to undertake.” It was mainly used to describe a manager or promoter of a theatrical production, according to this Quora article.

Richard Cantillon, an Irishman living in France, wrote a book in 1755 using the word entrepreneur. He established an entrepreneur as a risk-taker and he believed the term combined two Latin words: “entre” meaning to swim out and “prendes” meaning to grasp, understand, or capture.

writer for therapists

When I think about “entrepreneur” being a combination of “swim out” and “to understand,” then I can settle into the word more easily. Someone who swims out in an attempt to understand something describes me. I love literal swimming but I also love swimming out metaphorically, leaving behind old ideas and trying on new ones. I find inventiveness thrilling and can’t stand stodginess or doing things because that’s the way they’ve always been done.

On top of that, I constantly seek to understand. Curiosity is one of my strongest character traits and is part of the reason I became a journalist – I want to really know people, places, and things beyond the surface level. I care about learning. I ask the deeper questions. “Why?” is perpetually on my mind. It’s not enough for me to hear that such and such happened, I want to know why it happened. What’s the reason behind it?

writer for therapists

When I think of an entrepreneur in this manner, it’s easier for me to accept it as a description of myself. No, I didn’t sell lemonade or Girl Scout cookies as a kid. But I did ask “why” all the time – well beyond my toddler years. This curiosity is what drives my interest in mental health and ultimately my role as a writer for therapists. I have fluency in therapeutic topics even though I never went to school for psychology because on my own I’ve delved into attachment theory, trauma responses, emotional regulation, and more. I seek to understand. And that’s what makes me an entrepreneur.

The Importance of Telling the Truth

I keep thinking about Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah. When asked why she decided to give the interview, she said it was to tell the truth. Telling the truth, living in reality, releases a person of burden. It’s so cumbersome to tell a lie because you have to remember what you said and to who.

I know in this day and age it seems like we live in a “post-truth” world and that reality doesn’t matter. I disagree. The truth always matters because we don’t live in separate, isolated bubbles. We are all bumping up against one another like the atoms we’re made of. That means what we say and what we do matters. It means our words, our actions have an impact. For Meghan, the constant barrage of criticism and the inability to live in alignment with her values led to suicidal ideation. She wanted to end her life. That’s a big deal. A very big deal.

health content writer
Even the privileged life of royalty can feel confining.

She also said during the interview that the British tabloids don’t report the news, they create the news. What a powerful statement, primarily because it’s true. I’ve never worked for a tabloid but when I interned for a London website during college, they had no qualms about plagiarism. In fact, they encouraged me to copy and paste content from other websites. As a freelance content writer, I know that’s something you DO NOT do. Not only because it’s ethically wrong, but also because your website gets dinged and it lowers your ranking on search engines. You’re much better off writing original content, or hiring a content writer such as myself to write original content.

Meghan spoke specifically of British tabloids, but creating the news is not exclusive to those publications. Even here in the U.S. the media doesn’t have the same sanctity it used to. It’s not as respected or as noble as it was. Instead, media is another money-making business. I want to underscore here that’s a dangerous direction. It can literally lead to death.

health content writer
Let’s make these respectable again.

In my work as a freelance journalist, I still care about the truth. I report on facts, not hearsay. I don’t make things up for fun. (If I want to make something up, that’s what fiction is for!) What about my work as a freelance content writer? Or a freelance ghostwriter? Isn’t there more leeway there to lie? Maybe for some people, but for me, even with those pieces I tell the truth. I interview people, I report on what they’ve told me. I cite statistics where applicable. If I’m ghostwriting someone’s opinion, I make sure to note it’s their opinion by the language I choose.

Some people may think content writing and ghostwriting is only about drumming up business. That’s not how I view it. I think of myself as someone who is shining a light on the business, broadcasting who they are for the world to see. And if the foundation is built on lies, the business is as shaky as a house of cards and comes tumbling down at the first gusty wind. Telling the truth is better for everyone.

If you’re interested in some truth telling for your business, reach out to me. I’d love to see if we’re a good fit.

 

The Two Schools of Writing Thought

As you might have guessed, I do a LOT of writing. Not only am I a freelance content writer and a ghostwriter for therapists and other busy professionals, I also write for fun! I have a blog called “Another World is Probable” that I post in every week and I wrote a novel! Some days I feel like a writing machine.

What’s my secret to writing so much? I blend together two writing philosophies: write on a schedule and write when you feel inspired.

psychologist ghostwriter

1. Writing on a Schedule

Some people say you can’t wait to be inspired to write something because then you’ll never sit down and write. Instead, treat writing like a job and write at a specified time every day or every week. Getting into a routine will clear the pipes and let you write a blogpost for a therapist or your submission to the Huffington Post.

There’s a quote that perhaps comes from William Faulkner, perhaps someone else (there’s not clear evidence supporting who said it) that goes:

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”

For some people that works. They create a schedule and stick to it. They’re more productive, they procrastinate less, and they’re able to be prolific. This is the tactic I use to write in “Another World is Probable.” I sit down to write those posts usually around noon on Sundays. I also more or less stick to a schedule when I ghostwrite blogs for therapists and other busy professionals. It may not be at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, but I write during my work day because, well, this is my job.

ghostwriter for therapists

2. Writing When You’re Inspired

There are other people who swear by writing when they’re inspired. When they’re in a flow, they just write and write and write. They’ll prewrite 10 blogposts and schedule them in advance, and then they no longer have to worry about what they’ll say and when. It’s called batch producing them.

The idea is that it’s quicker and easier to produce a blogpost (or whatever) if you’re already in that groove. If you’re already looking for images, look for several images that you can use later as well. If you’re already brainstorming ideas, keep brainstorming so you don’t have to pull an idea from thin air next week or next month. And if you already jot down key points as well as sources you’d like to cite, then when you’re doing the writing, it will be less work because you’re just “filling in” the details.

In this way, you’re harnessing your creative energy cycle and you’re focusing on one task at a time. Some people swear by batch producing because it frees up their time to work on other things when they feel like it. I also do some batch producing — I’ll have a day where all I do is write and then the next day I focus on editing.

therapist ghostwriter

3. In the End. . .

For me, what it all comes down is working with what’s there. If I’m too exhausted to write something new, if I can’t seem to use the right “they’re and their” (it happened!), then I know I shouldn’t be writing. If I’m that depleted, it’s better for me to do something else, like editing, because it uses a different part of my brain.

Everyone likes to say what you “should” do and the “best” way to do             , but in my opinion all that really matters is it working for you? If it does, awesome. If not, try something else. And if you find the whole writing process to be very stressful, that’s fine! Reach out to me — I’ll take the stress out of writing and whether I’m writing on a schedule or batch producing, you can count on me to get the job done.

You Can Say No

In December, someone I went to high school with sent an email with lessons she learned in 2020. One of them was, “You can say no to work.” She explained that if a business proposal doesn’t excite her, if the project doesn’t grab her right away, she learned the entire project will be a drag. That she won’t want to do the work and it will be like pulling teeth to complete the project.

OK, she didn’t say it would be like pulling teeth, but I’ve noticed that for myself. As a freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, there’s a part of me that feels obligated to say yes to everything. I don’t have the luxury of a steady paycheck from someone else and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. That means there’s a bit of scarcity where I want to make as much money as I can just in case it all disappears next week. If we’re using metaphors, I’m worried the well will run dry.

freelance ghostwriter for therapists
It’s a *wishing* well! I love this picture. Photo by Abigail Low on Unsplash.

What my classmate reminded me is how saying yes to everything doesn’t serve anyone. I won’t produce my best work and the client won’t be as happy as they could because I didn’t go above and beyond. In fact, me saying yes to everything is how everyone loses. Just because a freelance content writing project comes my way doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right fit for me. The subject matter might be boring, or the turnaround time too tight. If I don’t like the initial proposal, I won’t like the concluding project.

Somebody out there would be thrilled to write about widgets so it’s better for me to turn down the projects that don’t light me on fire. Saying “no” to a project means someone else can say “yes” to it. Similarly, saying “no” to a ghostwriting project means I can say “yes” to another one that comes my way. I love writing about psychology topics. I could talk your ear off discussing internal family systems or the ingredients necessary to maintain desire in long-term relationships. Writing blogs and articles on topics such as those are fun for me. The migration patterns of hunter/gatherers in ancient Mesopotamia? Not so much.

freelance writer for therapists
Owls are great hunters! And they also lived in ancient Mesopotamia. =) Photo by Keith Lazarus on Unsplash

There’s something freeing about hearing another small business owner say she turns down work if it doesn’t excite her. I mean, at least it felt that way to me and that’s why I’m writing a blog about it. I truly believe work doesn’t have to be drudgery — yes, every business has aspects that are unpleasant, but fundamentally I struck out on my own because I wanted to enjoy my work. I wanted to pick and choose which content writing and ghostwriting gigs I said yes to. If I feel desperate and say yes to projects that sounds boring, I’m not staying true to my original purpose in starting my own business. I know sometimes people don’t have the luxury of saying “no” to work, but then again I think it comes back to having faith, like I wrote about last month.

It means having faith the universe will deliver the right clients at the right time. But it’s also having faith that I can market and hustle to find the sort of clients that I want to work with. The sorts of projects that are fun to work on. Those are the people to say yes to because otherwise I’m trying to be all things to all people, which is a recipe for failure. In order to succeed, I must be willing to say no.

I just wrote a post about saying “no” but I’m also saying “yes,” perhaps to you. Are you looking for a freelance content writer or freelance ghostwriter? If you’re a therapist or an alternative health practitioner, I’d love to talk to you. (But I’m also open to other professions.) Reach out today

Having a Business Requires Faith

When I first started my business as a freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, I had no idea it would be such an exercise in faith on pretty much every level.

I’ve worked as a freelance journalist since 2013 but didn’t want to commit to it full time because it seemed so scary. “What? My income will fluctuate? I won’t necessarily have a steady paycheck? Pass!” But then I found myself walking down this path anyway. I felt guided to becoming a freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter so I took the plunge.

therapist ghostwriter

I didn’t anticipate it would go so well. I’m not going to lie, the first few months were difficult, but I’ve been more successful than I imagined. I’m thrilled about that, but what pleases me even more is that my clients are so appreciative of our work together. It feels wonderful knowing my clients are seeing results in terms of page views, new patients, and comments on their websites. As you can read on my testimonials page, a client even said one of the best things about 2020 has been working with me! What a compliment!

However, despite the praise, I still feel nervous at any moment one of my clients will say, “It’s been fun but. . .” and decide to end our working relationship. I think that’s a reasonable fear. That happens all the time in the business world. My first reaction is to say, “Oh no! Now I’ll be starving in the street!” (For the record, that won’t happen because even if all my clients became incommunicado right this moment, I have savings.) It’s important for me to soothe the scared part and practice faith. Faith that another a client will come. Faith that the people I’m meant to work with will appear. It’s hard because as you likely know, the definition of faith is belief without proof.

ghostwriter for therapists

The only evidence I have that the people I’m meant to work with will appear is that it’s happened already. I’ve had clients show up magically from the internet, but also from referrals or within my wider social circles. It’s happened before and thus I’m choosing to believe it can and while happen again. Faith is a choice, and to quote American author D. Elton Trueblood, “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.”

I love that definition because I think it speaks to the essence of faith. The confidence a person has either in something greater than themselves, or in their own abilities. Because key to a successful business is believing you can do what you set out to do. For me, that means believing I’m a good writer. Believing other people benefit from working with me. Believing I offer a valuable service that people want to pay for. Having your own business requires so much self-confidence!

ghostwriter for psychologists

Truly, what put me over the edge in terms of starting my own business was finally believing I could have one. When I first started out, I tested the waters  by asking chiropractors and therapists if they’d even want what I was offering. There’s no use starting a business if the demand for it doesn’t exist. When they said, “Yes, I’d pay for that,” suddenly everything seemed more possible. I already knew I could write — being employed as a professional journalist since I graduated from college assured me of that. But hearing that people wanted a freelance content writer or a freelance ghostwriter flipped a switch in my brain. Still, there are days I’m plagued with doubts, which is again why I have to keep practicing faith. Who knew that would be a key ingredient to having a business?!?

If you’d like writing assistance — whether that’s content writing or ghostwriting — reach out to me. I’m here. 

The Importance of Patience

In my last post, I talked about how business can be like the moon in that it ebbs and flows. Related to that concept is patience because patience is required during the ebb periods, at least for me. And as much as I’d like to say patience comes easily for me, it does not. I forever want things on my timeline. And usually I want that thing yesterday. “You want me to wait? For an unknown length of time for something I really, really want?” That’s my version of hell.

However, waiting is also a fact of life. That’s what it means to live in this 3D physical world. Seeds take time to sprout. Babies take time to grow. And less tangible things like a business also have their own timeline.

freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter

As an Oakland freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter, I spend a lot of my day waiting. Waiting for a blog topic. Waiting for revisions. Waiting for an email or a phone call. And yet, even though it doesn’t move at the speed I prefer, everything gets done.

As Lao Tzu says, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” That’s true in business as well. If something isn’t happening yet, maybe it’s not supposed to happen yet. I can’t tell you how many times the universe just seems to know when I’m available for a new client and when I’m not. For instance, just this week an editor reached out to me and asked if I was available for a journalism writing assignment and I was. If he’d asked last week, the answer would have been no. That may seem like nothing to other people, but for me, I view that as something magical and mysterious.

freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter

It may seem strange for me to quote from Richard Tarnas‘ book Cosmos and Psyche here but I think it’s relevant. He posits two ways of grappling with the universe and uses the analogy of two suitors to explain them. In the first approach, the suitor treats the universe as if it has no intelligence and is something to be exploited for his own gain. In the second, the suitor seeks to know you (the universe):

“[N]ot that he might better exploit you, but rather to unite with you and thereby bring forth something new, a creative synthesis emerging from both of your depths. He desires to liberate that which has been hidden by the separation between knower and known. His ultimate goal of knowledge is not increased mastery, prediction, and control, but rather a more richly responsive and empowered participation in a co-creative unfolding of new realities. He seeks an intellectual fulfillment that is intimately linked with imaginative vision, moral transformation, empathic understanding, aesthetic delight. His act of knowledge is essentially an act of love and intelligence combined, of wonder as well as discernment, of opening to a process of mutual discovery.”

freelance content writer and freelance ghostwriter

Because I hold the second view and not the first, that means I do believe the universe has my back, is conspiring for me so that we can create something new together. It means, yeah, there is a cosmic air traffic controller of sorts that  knows when I’m busy and when I’m not. So that also means things happen — like signing a new client or getting a book published — when I’m most ready for them.

I think about something Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, said regarding the runaway success of that book. She said she’s grateful it happened on her fourth and not her first book.

“And that I was nearly 40 not 22,” she said in an interview with the Guardian. “That I had a solid relationship. I’m really happy that it happened after my nervous breakdown, not before it.”

Meaning perhaps things would have been much harder for her had she achieved name and fame at an earlier age. That she would have endured more scrutiny or developed an eating disorder or something like that. Patience means we allow things to unfold naturally with the understanding that everything we need will automatically come our way at the perfect moment, to paraphrase Indian spiritual master Shirdi Sai Baba. And that includes things in the business world.

How Business Can Be Like the Moon

I’ve worked in the news industry — both as a freelance journalist and a staff writer — for the past 14 years. One of the things that’s unique in the journalism world is deadlines are sacrosanct. This is for numerous reasons. For one, news is fast moving so if you don’t publish as soon as possible, it’s likely some update will have occurred and you’ll have missed writing about it. (One only has to think about COVID-19 for this to make sense.) If your competitor has written about the topic and you haven’t, you look incompetent.

The second reason deadlines are sacred harkens back to newspaper days before everything became digital. Newspaper editors set aside space in the layout of the paper for a specific story. They assigned writers a certain number of words, or more commonly, inches. If the writer failed to deliver there would literally be empty space in the paper, unless people could scramble and find something else.

Oakland freelance content writer

These days with digital there’s more fluidity, but even still, if a writer misses a deadline it often means their story just won’t get published. Maybe ever. One of the things I’ve found most challenging about running my own business as an Oakland freelance ghostwriter and freelance content writer is not everyone has the same view of deadlines that I do. They view deadlines as guideposts, as something to shoot for, but totally fine if they blow past.

What that means for me is I frequently have weeks that are jampacked, they’re a flurry of activity, and then that all stops. Work dwindles to a trickle and I have almost nothing going on. My business waxes and wanes like the moon. At first, I found that unsettling and missed the constant flow that characterizes the journalism industry. But then I realized it’s fine. That as spiritual teacher Tosha Silver often says, “All delays are beneficial.” And also that each period of pause is followed by a period of speed. Moreover, sometimes the pause, the break, is just what’s needed to gain momentum before leaping forward. If you think about a rocket, it builds up heat and pressure before launching into space. I think people, and business, are the same way.

Oakland content writer

We often denigrate periods of rest because in the West we lionize productivity, but what if like the moon, we wax and wane? And because business is made up of people, it does the same?

I’m not going to lie, there are days where I wish people valued deadlines as much as I did, but there are also days that I relish the decreased pressure. Days where instead of homing in on my computer screen I can take the time to gaze out the window and notice my plants waving in the wind. Or appreciate the flock of birds flying by. When you’re constantly stressed and have your nose to the grindstone, it’s harder to take time to notice the little things. At least that’s the case for me. So perhaps if a business is like the moon, it’s more sustainable in the long run.

Do you need help showcasing your unique skillset, or what makes your business special? Are you looking for someone to take the pressure off of writing? If so, contact me. I’d love to hear from you.