What’s Good about being a Ghost? (ghostwriter)
There are times in my writing career when I’m asked to ghostwrite a story, that is, write someone else’s story, where they get the byline and I don’t. As a writer who likes to take advantage of any opportunity I can, I usually accept the assignment.
Some of my friends wonder why I would write something that doesn’t have my name attached. I asked myself the same thing. In this world of self-promotion, it goes against the grain of marketing to do something without getting the attention.
After I ghostwrote my first story, I felt the need to tell everyone that it was really I, not the person whose name appeared, who wrote the story. But with subsequent ghostwritten work, I was more comfortable with my name not being on the piece.
So what are the reasons to do ghostwriting? Here are mine:
- The story is not my story. It’s someone else’s.
- I was asked because I’m a writer, and the person whose story it is, isn’t a writer.
- I get paid to do it.
- It keeps me humble.
The last reason is perhaps most important because I believe God wants me to use my talents to honor Him, not myself. I can write books and blogs and draw attention to what I did, but that leads to pride, and God hates pride. I can get caught up in looking at reviews (what people think about my writing), how many hits my blog gets, (am I popular?) or sales (do people want my books?), which draws my focus to myself and away from God.
One of my favorite Bible teachers and inspirational mentors, Liz Curtis Higgs, once said that Christians shouldn’t worry about their marketing platform because God has control of that, not us. She didn’t say we shouldn’t do any marketing—our publishers require us to spread the word about our books since they’ve invested in our products. What she said was not to worry about it, not obsess over it.
So how do we balance our writing for God and our need to be recognized for it? We make sure He’s included in the process from the beginning, with prayer, to the end, with thanksgiving and praise. I love how the King James Version expresses Psalms 100, verse 3: “Know ye, that the Lord, He is God. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves.” God knows us, He knows what gifts we’ve been given, and He knows what we do with them.
As long as He knows what I’m doing, I don’t mind being a ghost.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24, NIV