Monday, November 16, 2015

Year of the Ghost

It's been one year since I decided to start ghost writing full-time on my own. Over the last twelve months I've learned a lot about freelancing, how to find work, and the best ways to avoid some of the problems that come along with writing for hire. Since I still write for the very first client I acquired on my own, I think I've done a decent job of it. It helps that I've been very fortunate in landing jobs with clients who are excellent to work with, and who respect and value me as a freelancer.

Naturally there have been some downsides to leaving traditional publishing to strike out on my own. I had to rebuild my income from scratch, and freelancing does not pay as well, so at first it was definitely a financial struggle. Only a few of my pro writer friends have bothered to stay in touch with me, but I expected that (and I never had a lot of them to begin with anyway.) I should also take some of the blame for losing the connections, as I can't talk about my work anymore due to NDAs, and I've never been particularly social. PBW initially suffered about a 50% loss of traffic in my first months of ghosting, which actually did surprise me -- but I think a big chunk may have dropped off because I stopped doing giveaways. I decided to end a seventeen-year-old contract with my agent, which was terribly difficult for me, but she understood and was gracious about it.

There are so many positives, however, I hardly know where to start. I'm so happy. I wish I could describe how it feels. Finally, finally, I'm able to simply write for a living. I don't have to deal with how it's published. I don't have to promote it. I never have to objectify myself in any way, shape or form for it. I just write, all day long, and I turn it in, and I'm done. After seventeen years of dealing with all the non-writing responsibilities involved in traditional publishing, it's been like a year-long vacation. I decide who I want to work with, and since I only take on projects that interest me, I'm never bored. I think the biggest shocker was when I tallied up all that I've written since last November. I've produced more work in these past twelve months than I have during any other year since I embarked on this career.

The greatest gift of all has been the chance to see what I could do. Last year I was in a bad place, with serious doubts about my ability to forge ahead. I think it was the two eye surgeries combined with the Toriana series being dropped; I wrestled with serious depression for months. My cure for the blues has always been writing, and striking out on my own as a freelancer at least gave me some work to do. It's now become what I think will be my second writing career. If you'd asked me a year ago if I'd still be a professional writer now, I probably would have said no. That I am instead writing for hire every day, and I'm happier than I've ever been since turning pro, says it all.

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the milestone! I'm glad that you found joy in your writing from a different angle.

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  2. Congratulations on finding such a rewarding and enjoyable way to earn a living. I'm sorry last year was so awful for you and that you had doubts about the way forward. I loved the Toriana series, in fact all your work, so I'm sad about that, but I LOVE your Ghostwriter story and it's wonderful being able to hear your voice when I read it, and your blog. The giveaways were always wonderful, but that's not why I read your blog.

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  3. Wow, I had no idea about any of this, that you'd left your agent, starting ghost writing on your own, and I did wonder why I didn't see any more Toriana books...I'm so glad it worked out well for you, that you're happy and productive. This is what I get for being buried under housing and relocation issues plus kid issues, I miss important stuff. Waving the pom poms for you.

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  4. Sounds wonderful, PBW, and I'm so happy that YOU'RE happy! My only regret is that I can't glom what you're working on since I have no idea which books/series are yours any more. *cries*

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  5. I too missed a lot of your career change news, because I've spent the past 18 months dealing with similar health stuff. One (unsuccessful and permanently damaging) eye surgery down, one (perhaps two and hopefully both successful) to go. And severe ME stuff, plus two whacks of double pnuemonia. Ho hum.

    Happy Freelancing Birthday! I'm very glad it's turned out so well for you. Not surprised, mind, because you're a class act. :)

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  6. Congratulations! I've always been curious about ghosting, especially with the current challenges our family has been going through, and your posts (what little you can say) have helped me as I weighed out options. I'm really glad it's worked out well, especially just within a year. I hope you see continued success in the year to come!

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  7. Hooray that freelancing is making you happy - and paying off! I hope you have time for a little indie publishing, too. :-)

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  8. You sound happy. That's the most important part. Your posts sound happy. If nothing else, I'm so grateful you decided to try this path and it's worked so well. :)

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  9. Happy for you! It sometimes takes a lifetime to learn what truly makes us happy. I'm still hoping for more of your own books someday and I'm grateful for the chance to read "Ghostwriter". I am enjoying it so much. Until then I'm rereading some of my favorites and checking out some of your books that I missed.

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  10. Glad to hear the freelancing/ghosting is working out so well for you. Since you posted a few months ago you were going that route, I wondered if it was successful for you. Happy it is. : )

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  11. Well, this almost inspired me to want to start a ghostwriting career, except (a) I'm probably not that good and (b) freelancing isn't exactly something I seem to have whopping passion about hunting down jobs for.

    I'm happy you're happy. You make it sound wonderful.

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  12. I am so glad that you are doing what makes you happy. Congratulations.
    Sandy L

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  13. I've noticed your contentment growing just by your blog posts. In the end, that's all that matters. I am a little surprised at your traffic loss and that some of your friends dropped off the radar. But I suppose you're right. If you can't discuss your work they might feel left out.

    Watching you grow a new career has been inspiring! You're one of the catalysts that encouraged me to grow my blog into something bigger for 2016.

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  14. :hugs: Sorry I haven't been around as much. It's not you. You embarked on your new career this time last year, and I took my career in hand this time last year. I'm totally happy and I'm totally happy for you. And happy you're happy. (Yeah, I write words and junk. Can ya tell?)

    Rock this like you've rocked everything else. =o)

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  15. Anonymous8:46 PM

    Glad things are working well for you.
    Ron B

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  16. You've always been an inspiration to me and I think you're an amazing writer. I'm so glad you're finding happiness in this course your career has taken. I'm hoping you're positivity continues and results in a book from you by you for the rest of us to buy and read :)

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