My mom tells a story about how when I was young, in preschool perhaps, we drove in the car with my aunt. Chilling in the backseat, I peppered my mom with question after question (as young children do). My mom answered every single one and my aunt replied, “Wow, you’re patient with her.”
Instead of telling me to stop asking questions, my parents encouraged and nurtured my curiosity. Sure, sometimes I heard “curiosity killed the cat,” but that was usually when I started snooping around for Christmas presents. Otherwise, my parents said, “Have at it. Stay curious.” Keep in mind, I’m a child of the late 80s and early 90s so this was before Siri, Alexa, or any other digital assistant could field questions.
Curiosity has been at the center of my life for as long as I can remember so that’s one piece of my journey to becoming a ghostwriter for therapists. Curiosity is key to an interest in sharing information with others.
The other part of my journey is that since I was in second grade, my mom told me I should be a journalist. I didn’t understand why she kept saying that to me. I didn’t like to write at the time and had no interest in the news. In other words, I wasn’t like Rory Gilmore, idolizing news anchors and foreign correspondents. Writing for a living sounded like a terrible occupation. Reading I loved, but writing? Forget it.
Writing Finally Became Fun
Fueling my distaste for writing was the fact all of my English teachers were boring, checked out, or pedantic. They didn’t inspire a love of anything in me and thus writing felt like a chore. However, that all changed in 10th grade.
In 10th grade, I transferred schools and had Mr. Whiteside for English. He jumped on desks, played weird music, and wore bow ties most days. He scribbled interesting quotes on his walls and obviously loved teaching. He was the first English teacher who made reading and writing interesting. He was also the first person who taught me how to write. Up until that point, teachers took it for granted that we students knew what we were doing, or they just didn’t care.
Mr. Whiteside explained diction, the difference between connotation and denotation, parallel sentence structure, and more. He once assigned an exercise where we had to rewrite the same sentence 100 different ways. I hated that assignment with fervor but it stretched my brain and demonstrated how much can be accomplished with language. Suddenly, English went from my least favorite subject to the one I looked forward to the most. Writing finally became fun.
Parallel to a newly discovered love of language, I enrolled in a yearbook class. Yearbook gave me the freedom to roam the halls of the school unchaperoned while I visited various classes and events. Art show? Choir practice? Play rehearsal? I covered them all and learned how much I enjoyed observing real life and then writing about it.
I loved my 10th-grade yearbook. I was so proud of it. Everyone put in hours of hard work to make it something special and I knew, I was certain we’d win awards for it.
We didn’t. Not a single one. That crushing blow planted a seed though. I was determined that the following year my school’s yearbook would win at least one award.
And the Winner is. . .
That next year, as a junior, I became editor-in-chief of our school’s yearbook. I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into that book. I worked on it during lunch, purchased a Mac just so I could take page layouts home, proofed every page, and in general worked my tail off.
When the yearbooks were distributed at the end of the year, most of the students didn’t like them because the senior portraits were in the back of the book (by design) instead of in the front as per usual. The student body complained about this and that and couldn’t see what I was trying to accomplish.
That summer, I went to yearbook camp and during the awards portion, not only did my school win numerous awards, but my name specifically flashed across the screen: I won first place for theme copy. Me! Something I wrote was considered worthy of praise! At that moment, I realized, “Hey, I could do this. I could make a living as a writer.”
I decided to study journalism in college, fulfilling my mother’s prediction, and went full steam ahead. There were moments when I doubted whether journalism was right for me, especially when I didn’t perform well on an assignment, but I kept at it because there’s nothing like the thrill of telling a good story.
Journalism to Ghostwriting
I worked as a journalist at various publications for several years (if you’re really interested you can see where on my LinkedIn page) and honed my craft. I became adept at interviewing other people, meeting deadlines, and juggling multiple stories at once.
There came a point though when I wanted to try something new. My therapist at the time asked me, “What makes you come alive? And what do people come to you for? The two combined are your genius.” For me, what makes me come alive is storytelling. I love the thrill of figuring out the best way to phrase something, what word to use to convey information. There’s something incredibly satisfying about landing on the perfect word. However, what people want to talk to me about are empathy and psychology. I have logged soooo many hours discussing attachment theory with my friends. Why not make that career?
So I did. A friend needed a blog written and asked if I could help her. I said, “Let’s give ghostwriting a shot.” It worked out well, I was able to capture her voice and her intention, so I kept going. That’s how I became a ghostwriter for therapists and other busy professionals. If you want to test it out yourself, to see whether I can take the stress out of writing for you, reach out. I’d love to hear from you.