Ghostwriters & Ghostbusters: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The coffee maker is on, and the sun coming through the window, well, quite frankly it looks beautiful-transcendental, even. The ghostwriter sits down to work. The neurons are firing on all cylinders, and the synapses are trafficking thoughts like hi-tech suspension bridges. Nope; this isn’t going to be one of those days when the writer trawls for words and nitpicks phrases like Gustave Flaubert. The poor Frenchman used to amble the beach looking for just the right word and was happy to end his day with 250 good ones (ouch!).

You type, you submit the article, and two hours later a red revision request throbs like REDRUM on the computer screen. What happened? The last thing a ghostwriter wants is to be slimed with a proton plasma gun by an angry and unhappy ghostbuster (Yup, that’s a reference to you, client, as well as the classic 1984 film).

Side A

When you hire a ghostwriter, dear client, please provide clear and concise directions. Writers are not mind readers, although many wish they had ESP, telepathy, clairvoyance or some other black op form of mind control. You wanted a certain keyword, but the writer thought you said you wanted the keys to the world. Ah, therein lies the rub.

Kindness goes a long way. Sure, you might have had a bad day and the last thing you want is an unusable piece of copy. However, there’s no reason to send out the firing squad. More importantly, don’t accept the article if it’s not what you’re looking for, then seek revenge by boycotting a writer or jeopardizing his or her rating on a content site. Writers have bad days, too, and your feedback affects standings and pay scale.

Of course, kindness doesn’t mean teddy bears and balloons. However, let’s take the words of Morrissey (actually The Smiths, for all you music aficionados out there) and apply it to ghostwriters: “We are human and we need to be loved, just like everybody else does.”

Side B

Writers: When you get a revision, rejection, red pen, bad rating, a did not meet this, a failed to meet that, a slap on the wrist, a cartoon balloon with foul language, sent to your room, dunce-capped, slimed with a proton gun, or anything else you felt was unfair and undeserving of your 500 word masterpiece, please take a deep breath and start counting back from 50, 49, 48…. If this doesn’t diffuse the adrenaline, then perhaps a walk in the manner of Gustave Flaubert. Still nothing? Hmm.

Did you take another look at that 500 word masterpiece? Perhaps the client is wrong. Maybe the article is every bit as good as you think it is. However, what if the client is right? Maybe the article is too wordy. Maybe it’s as airy and spongy as a piece of tiramisu. Maybe’s there’s more fluff than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters.

“Who you gonna call?”

Morrissey, of course.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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