Ghostwriting books is easy. I can channel authors’ voices, mimic their style and churn out a polished manuscript in weeks. It’s like my own fucked up Sudoku game, like S&M without restraints.
My goal every day used to be 5,000 polished and page-ready words. That meant first and second draft done-zo. Most days, I hit my mark. It was challenging, don’t get it twisted, but all I had to do was write the damn manuscript and send it off to a client who had to do the rest of the work.
When I was scared, as a little girl, my dad used to tell me to, “Strap on a set.” Being the woman I am, I hate that. I don’t need a sack to conjure bravery. My ovaries will work just fine. Still, something kept me from writing my own story for a long, long time. It took four years before I could channel my courage and get out of my own way, his voice haunting me every time I thought to try again.
Now? I’m finally ready to release my freshman piece next month.
Fear is the only thing that held me back. I had the words, I had the experience, but I didn’t have the balls ovaries. Writing for yourself takes more bravery than writing for others. It’s not about mimicking or concocting or channeling. It’s about baring yourself for the entire world to see.
And that’s fucking scary.
While the grammar rules and lit. devices helped, they weren’t the key factor in completion. So here I’ve been, dishing out advice on how to write and get things done, when I haven’t been honest with you about the one thing that actually got me through my manuscript. The only thing that pushed me further into my first draft than I’d ever thought to get?
Because when Beck looked at me and said, “It’s time to get up or shut up. Let’s finish this thing in ninety days.” Nothing held me back but myself. It was something I’d imagined for four years. That’s one thousand four hundred and sixty days of dreaming. And Beck said I could get it done in ninety?
I’d have a completed project. But I had to be ready: no more excuses or dragging feet. We would take the idea out of my head, vomit it onto a page (and then revise), and bundle it into a final project. A book I could hold in my own hands.
Weeks away from this reality, it’s so much better than writing for someone else (although I absolutely love ghostwriting).
You’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you haven’t done this for yourself yet. Some people label their dreams and, in turn, never create them.
“I’ll do it when I make X amount of money.”
“I’m writing my book after the kids go to college.”
“I’m too young to write anything worthwhile now.”
“What if I’m better at ghostwriting than I am at authorship?”
Now it’s gone. See you later, brain trash. And I owe my success, in part, to my coach. But mostly to me for getting out of my own damn way.
Want to finish your book? Do it. Then email me and tell me how awesome it feels.
Got writing questions for Capo? Email email@example.com. Confessions of a Dirty Blonde goes out every Thursday.