What do Acting and Ghostwriting have in common?
They both require you to get into the mind of someone else and tell their story.
I’ve been ghostwriting consistently for the past four months now and I’ve discovered many parallels between what I learned in acting class and what I now do when I’m writing for someone else. Maybe you’ve heard of a method actor. Well I’m the first self-defined method writer.
One of the things I have to do before I begin working on someone else’s book is research their world and learn their philosophy on life. Many times I have to write in the first person and share personal anecdotes as if I am the person I’m writing for. The interesting part is that I don’t ever get to met the person I’m writing for. I’m sent a proposed outline and notes as to the type of audience I’m writing for and the background of the person whose name will be on the book. So the entire time I’m writing I have to keep these details in mind. If I’m writing for someone who has two children then I have to mention them and write in the first person about “my” two children.
Like acting, ghostwriting allows me to live many lives through the course of my work. It’s challenging to write something in the first person that you may not 100% agree with but you have to remain unbiased and not judge the person you are writing for. I have to let go of my own preconceived ideas and open my mind to a new paradigm for three weeks and then it’s on to the next assignment. I find myself trying the advice that I’m giving in a book or test a theory to see if it really works. I find that it helps me to write from a place of authority if I at least experience what it’s like to do what ever it is I’m advocating in the book I’m writing.
Unlike acting, I don’t get to dress the part and walk around in the character’s shoes. But for a few hours every day I sit down and venture into the author’s world and imagine what it would be like if… I can attest that this process not only helps me write better but what I’m writing is touching my life in real and profound ways. And though I’ll never get credit for it I pray something that I have written will encourage, inspire, and be a catalyst of change in someone’s life.
Until Next Time,
Nicole D.P. McLaughlin
- Rapper Lorenzo Asher on the art of Ghostwriting (thegrio.com)
- Why do we ghostwrite? (ottawawriter.wordpress.com)