April 4, 2010

Thoughts on ghost-writing.

I'm going to come right out and say it: ghost-writing is much harder than any other kind of writing. Pray tell, you say?

It's like what I imagine giving a baby up for adoption would feel like (but, you know, about a thousand times less intense...I'm not fooling myself here). You put the work into growing this cute, 500-word bundle of joy, only to hand it off to a stranger, with the hopes that he or she will take good care of it. Hopefully, they'll give it a better life than you ever could. That's all any writer wants.

Instead, you find out that it has wound up on such websites as IDateMarriedMen.com. (The article, not your baby, that is. Or maybe the baby too...give it twenty years.) Anyways, the article also winds up on a site about lotion and kleenex. In fact, it gets so many hits on Google that you can't even keep track of it anymore. So much for staying in its life. If you're lucky, it'll come looking for you in eighteen years.

Meanwhile, someone else is getting all the credit. No matter how many Tweets, Diggs, hits, or shares it gets, no one knows it's actually you that wrote it.

On the flip side, owning your writing is like a parent who chooses to (or is simply able to) keep his or her child. Sure, it's hard work, hard as hell, but you reap the rewards all along. The credit is with you forever (for better or for worse), and you have at least some degree of control in its life.

So maybe that's why I re-post these silly articles on this blog: a form of rebellion, to track them back to the original author, to take credit despite any contractual agreements. Like the remorseful biological mother who gets all crazy, snatches her kid off the school playground, and flees the state.

Welp, if the shoe fits...

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