If you’ve ever had trouble speaking up...
... and telling someone that you didn’t love something they did or said, then this post is for you! We’re talking about what you have to take responsibility for when you work with a ghostwriter. But it’s not all doom and gloom, because the writer has responsibilities too. Understanding what the ghostwriter is responsible for will help if you’ve ever struggled to say what you really think.
I’m Liz, the writer behind Green Goose Ghostwriting. I help entrepreneurs who want to write a book to demonstrate authority in their niche and get more speaking engagements. I write their book their own voice so they can share their message, inspire others, and finally level-up their business.
This week my baby boy turned one. We had a big Cookie Monster-themed birthday party (there's a pic of the cupcakes I made below) and this morning, I took him to the doctor’s for his 12 month checkup.
The doctor gave me this leaflet called Raising a Healthy Eater. It outlines the parents’s responsibilities: deciding where the child eats, when they eat, and what they eat. And it details the child’s responsibilities, which are deciding whether to eat, or not to eat, and how much to eat.
This reminded me…
And this reminded me of a conversation I had with a potential client last week. She talked about how she’d previously worked with another ghostwriter and had felt like the voice, the style of the writing, had got away from her a bit. It ended up being a little different to what she wanted.
I sensed she was disappointed with herself for not taking control of the situation, speaking up, and saying what she really thought. She was a super nice woman, and she explained that in her work, she has to accommodate different voices all the time. She ended up applying that skill to this situation, when really she should’ve stuck firm to her own voice.
What really grabbed my heartstrings was when she asked if I thought she’d been stupid for letting that situation get out of hand.
Was it all on her?
I told her that, as a grown up investing in a work project, she does have a responsibility to speak up. After all, no writer can read someone’s mind. But I also explained that—as the professional providing a service—the ghostwriter has a responsibility to create an environment that encourages the client to speak up.
So it wasn’t all on her. And she certainly wasn’t stupid for wanting to be nice to her writer!
I’ve been ghostwriting marketing stuff and speeches and scripts for over a decade, but I started working for myself in 2014. And that was when I discovered one of the best and most difficult things about choosing your own clients...
You get to work with lovely people. It’s so fantastic to have wonderful clients. But the challenge is that often, these lovely people want to be nice to me! They want to tell me my work is great. Which is kinda cool!
But the only way to improve a piece of writing is to be critical of it.
What I discovered early on
So early on, I discovered I had to work hard to really encourage these nice people to be critical of the work I was producing. Only then can we address those criticisms, edit the writing, and make it better.
Just like parents and children both have responsibilities at mealtimes, the client and writer both have responsibilities in the creation process. And, just like the parent has to teach the child that they have control over aspects of eating, as the professional in this relationship, I have to teach my clients that they have a responsibility to contribute to the success of their project.
Then I have to take it a step further and create a safe space where they feel encouraged to do that.
So there we have it. It’s your responsibility to speak up when you work with a ghostwriter. It’s the ghostwriter’s responsibility to create a safe and encouraging environment that allows you to say what you really think. Then, you can work together to create something you’ll be proud of.
Want to take responsibility?
If you want to take responsibility for improving your own writing, enter your email below and you’ll get 15 writing tips from today’s top entrepreneurs. I’ll also send you more cool stuff about writing for your business every week.
See you next time.