Every time there’s a guest at home and I have to explain why I’m holed up in my room all day, it goes something like this “I work online, I am a writer.” Actually, I’m a ghost writer. Well, a ghostwriter is also a writer, except that I don’t get credit for the stuff I write.
Many ghostwriters are freelancers, meaning they hustle to get gigs from the big shots who are willing to pay good money for good writing. Good ghostwriters write hundreds of pages of books, online content and speeches, even film treatments. I work in the online space, writing blog articles, SEO content, landing pages, product descriptions and the like.
Unlike many others, I’m not a freelancer. I work full-time for a writing agency, so all my work is credited to the company I work for and its CEO. That means the only people who know I wrote what I wrote are those who work at my ‘office’. Actually, just my line manager. There are perks to what I do and there are days when I’m grateful, but that’s a post for another day. Today, I want to complain.
Some days, I get upset about being a ghostwriter. Here’s why:
I’ve written so many articles, but I get no credit.
Part of the reason why creatives keep doing what they do is they love being associated with their work. Who wouldn’t want the world to know when they have created a masterpiece? I can’t say that all or even half of my articles are masterpieces, but I’ve written some good articles as a ghostwriter and it hurts when I see someone else’s name slapped on them.
I’ve lost track of the number of articles I’ve written in the past 19 months, which is how long I’ve been a ghostwriter. Wait up! 19 months!!!😱
Sometimes, I wonder if I would feel better if I wrote that much for my own website or on elsewhere on the web where I would get recognition for my work. I most likely wouldn’t have written as many articles, but you get the point.
All this work and for how much?
As far as salaries go in Nigeria and especially considering the bad economy and high unemployment rate, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. My salary is good enough for the average Nigerian, but I can’t help feeling like I’m getting a bad deal sometimes. Everyone who saw me in the first 6 to 8 months of working as a ghostwriter thought my job was ridiculous. Working so hard nearly all hours of the day and not getting paid much. I want to cry when I think of how little I’ve saved in my 18 months of working, and it’s not for lack of trying.
I worry if I’m actually building a career
There is such a thing as building a career in ghostwriting, but in no dimension is that a in the plan. Sometimes, I worry what might happen when I quit ghostwriting. What will happen to all the time I’ve
lost invested? Would it have been worth it.
I’m not learning any longer
When I first started ghostwriting, I loved it because I was learning so much. I love the learning process. As cliche as this may sound, it makes me feel alive and I like the challenge. But now, I’ve gone past that. Now, I feel like I’m just going through the motions, pushing every day, reminding myself I can’t quit because it’s convenient and there are no jobs out there.
I have very little social interaction
The organisation where I work is driven entirely by remote workers. They have plans of building a physical office, but we all work from home at the moment. Working from home is great actually, but it has its downsides. For one, I miss social interaction with colleagues.
There was a time I tried to find coworkers on Facebook, but that proved futile. Even if we didn’t have any physical contact, I figured it would be nice to be able to talk online at least. There were questions I was dying to ask. Was everyone else having the same challenges as I was? How were they coping? How do they measure their growth on the job? I once thought the company was deliberately preventing contact.
I’m not sure it’s ethical
There’s something about taking money from someone to write in their own name that feels shady. I don’t write books, but take a book for instance, the person whose name is on the cover literally tells the whole world they’re the author of the book. It’s deceit, plain and simple. Much of the stuff I write isn’t actually in other people’s names per se since I write a lot of landing pages and sales copy. But, I also write blog posts and ‘guest posts’ with other people’s name on them.
Bonus: I don’t get enough exercise
Because I work from home, I don’t move around much. Today, I rode a bike for about 5 minutes and I felt like I was going to die. 😭 Okay, that one’s my fault. I used to work out regularly, but I got lazy. Doesn’t mean I can’t blame it on ghostwriting though.
To be fair, I should probably write another post on the perks of being a ghostwriter. Like most things, it’s a two-sided coin. One sweet, the other bitter. Are you a writer too? A ghostwriter maybe? Would you consider ghostwriting as a viable career option? I’d like to hear your thoughts in comments section, please. Thanks for reading ;).
NB: this post is for an October blogging challenge I’m doing with a group of other bloggers. Gift Collins of giftcollins.com came up with the idea as a way to encourage consistency. The idea is to write a post every day of October, with a total of at least 10 posts by end of the month. Let’s see how many I can churn out.