COVID Mindset Re-set

It’s been a crazy six months with people all locked away together. No one can blame you if your education, inspiration, or motivation has been on hold.

As we wind down into 2020’s last quarter, now’s a good time for a new perspective and gaining momentum to complete an otherwise crazy year. 

Try this COVID re-set for a few quick personal and business perspective shifts that can help move a sad acronym into a glad acronym:

C is for checking your website and other marketing materials to decide what needs updates

O is for outlining 10 blog posts for book or business promotion and scheduling them into your editorial calendar

V is for varying your workout pattern so it stays exciting and challenging

I is for immortalizing your time at home by taking selfies and writing flash fiction about each one

D is for donating your writing skills to help a non-profit, church, small biz, or others 

Want even more inspiration? Create your own definitions for that acronym and share it with your friends, followers, and fans. Who knows, maybe they’ll jump into the game, too!

Need even more help to get moving? Start planning for 2021 now, when our next Intro to Ghostwriting class starts. Great way to get your feet wet.

Procrastination 101

Your normal structure is gone and without any timeline for zipping out the door (at least not safely), it’s easy for procrastination to set in.

Not only is everyone at home, it’s not temporary. We’re all cramped together ‘til who knows when. That means not only do we face production challenges, many other factors have escalated, creating all sorts of reasons to walk away from work:

  • Increased interruptions. Beloved Grandma (Nana, Abuela, etc.), who didn’t even have your work number before, now thinks you’re suddenly available 24/7. “Why haven’t you called? Don’t you think it’s important to talk at a time like this?!” Or your partner figures this is the best time to start cleaning out the garage (your workspace, the basement, etc.) and not only creates a ruckus but may ask for your help or opinion or …
  • Welcoming distractions. Normally, you’d set up (and learn to stick to) your schedule, rules, or workspace specifically to avoid easy slides into postponing real work. Now, you easily justify your focus drifting into other tasks; e.g., you’ll get to work right after you’ve washed the dishes, or watched the news, or read your child a story.
  • “I’m just catching up.” Time’s flying by…but not on your work. You’re using On Demand to finish catching up on Veep. You’re trolling social media to find the cutest doggie vids, best pot roast recipe ever, or 10 sit-down exercises. 

  • “I’m not close to deadline.” You start procrastinating, so your work isn’t done. Because your work isn’t on schedule, you’re intimidated, depressed, or anxious. Now you feel overwhelmed and fearful. But while you’re in depression or denial, deadlines keep getting closer. So, what do you do instead of putting fingers to the keyboard? Something like, “Well, I can’t handle this now. I’ll just call Aunt Matilda; she’s fun. I’ll work afterward.” But afterward never comes.

Tips to keep you on track

Assert some rules for yourself and your family:

  • Set a work timeslot and tell loved ones you need to focus from 9a-12p and 3p-5p, for instance.  And re-emphasize that with every interruption. 
  • Set a “social media alarm clock.” 

For example, access social media only during lunchtime or after the official workday.  Set an old-fashioned kitchen timer or a unique alarm on your phone (dog barking, bugle, etc.) to signal when to start and end your time limit.  

  • Lose the guilt by turning negatives into positives. 

Psychologist Alicia Clark says, “If you feel afraid, envision yourself feeling excited, elated, or just simply relieved after you’ve finished the project.” 

“Imagine replacing a feeling of failure with a feeling of success.” 1

Building a room with a more positive view

Times are so challenging now that beating yourself up about what you’re not doing only makes things worse. Give yourself strokes for everything you get done, even if it’s as small as, “I outlined that next chapter” or “I set up the document,” or “I’ll do in-home walking during commercials.”

Getting started is the hardest step. Use these ideas for inspiration so that—for a few minutes each day—you can minimize procrastination and achieve that more positive outlook.

 1 “Stop Procrastination and Eliminate Anxiety,” by Alicia H. Clark PsyD, PLLC www.FindaPsychologist.org, 3rd bullet point under “Top Solutions” 

An Eye That Landed on the Ghostwriting Prize

“I was originally a business copywriter,” says Derek Lewis, Certified Ghostwriter, “and I came across an online ad for somebody who wanted a business book written. And I said, ‘Oh, well, that can’t be that much harder.’ Poor naïve little me.” 

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Ghostwriting and regular journalism, says Lewis, may both be “black words on a white page,” but that’s about all they have in common.  As he progressed in his original project, he came to realize that [these types of writing were each] a different skill set, a different mindset,” and ultimately, “a different business altogether.”

“I stepped back and said, ‘I probably need to learn what I’m doing.’ So I went on Google and looked for ghostwriting coaches, ghostwriting teachers, ghostwriting courses. And that’s how I came across Claudia’s website.” 

He ultimately became a ghostwriting success story after taking Claudia Suzanne’s ghostwriting course. 

Facing ghostwriting challenges

 “I just didn’t appreciate how much emotion is tied to a book,” Lewis confesses. “And how it’s one thing to copywrite a blog post or a magazine article for somebody. I mean, of course they come up with the content and they approve it, but there’s not an emotional attachment to it. 

“With a book, there is so much more scrutiny on getting it right. Because a book just naturally carries more weight than a blog post or a magazine article.”

Lewis says he welcomed the more in-depth author involvement but didn’t expect the painstaking process of book writing. “Fifty thousand words of a manuscript is not the same as a 5,000-word article ten times. It’s not a commensurate amount of labor—it’s far more.

“I didn’t know there was going to be that much back and forth,” he says. “I didn’t even appreciate that it was a different writing skill altogether.” 

Gearing up the skills set

“Claudia taught me how to be a real ghostwriter,” says Lewis. He loved the challenges and the way it stoked his own insights. “I don’t say ‘quantum leap’ very often, because that’s over-used and it sounds a little hyperbolic.” But that’s how strong a transformation process he experienced as he moved from traditional copywriting into ghosting.  

“With Claudia’s course, I realized that I was severely undercharging,” Lewis says. “I immediately raised my prices, on a scale of five or six times. I realized that I was in a whole new industry. It was a whole new craft.”

“I could mark the [class segment] where I [first realized I] had the confidence, I had the knowledge, I had the tools, I had the craft, to appropriately quote my value,” says Lewis. “In fact, with just my first project, I made more on that than my previous year and a half of copywriting put together.” 

What makes Claudia so good, and how do you work through a class like that? “Just her sheer amount of experience and industry insider knowledge. I think the way she says it is, ‘I’ve done everything you can do wrong, at least five different ways.’”

The dream didn’t wait too long

“I guess [it’s] probably true in just about any business or career, but…you [can’t] just hang your shingle out one day and be making money the next,” Lewis advises. “It takes a little bit of time to establish yourself…to get the sales and marketing parts kind of up and running. I tell people if I had to do it over again, I would have been a lot smarter about it.”

Lewis does have one regret: “I wish that I would have come across [Claudia’s] ad probably six months, eight months earlier. I was in a position where I had a full-time job, but I could have moonlighted as a ghostwriter and established myself, and made a smooth transition of going from being employed full time to being self-employed full time.” 

“Of course, this was 11 years ago,” he laughs. “I was younger and full of vim and vigor.”

Gain Ghostwriting Recognition via a Cost-Effective Media Outlet

Say “marketing” to many small business owner and they’ll say, “I don’t have an advertising budget.” But every business should have a marketing budget. More importantly, they should understand that marketing and advertising are not synonyms; ads are just one form of marketing.

One truly cost-effective outlet for marketing your ghostwriting business is radio. Most guest spots will cost you (Are you ready?) ZERO. That’s right—zilch, nada, nothing!

If you think radio as a marketing tool has died, think again.

In one survey, Nielsen found that 93% of Americans tune into AM/FM stations.

Radio had strong listening trends during the 2016 election and the first Trump term, but after that Nielsen found audience numbers were still solid; in fact, they’d risen—7.4% of listeners ages 25-54 in 2017 rose to 8.3% in January 2018.

Getting past ghostwriting’s restrictions

Certified Ghostwriters who successfully completed the GPDP program with Claudia Suzanne know that signing an NDA is the first step in developing a client’s trust. Once you’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with your author/client, you’re legally bound not to reveal anything about the project.

So, be careful how you promote your ghostwriting business. It’s tempting to talk about a fabulous life story or business method your client has, especially when a good interviewer asks probing questions. But resist!

Instead of talking about specific projects, offer listeners insights or tips about what ghostwriters offer, the pros/cons of using a ghostwriter, or how to work with a ghostwriter. How can they get started? How do they choose a ghostwriter? What other writing services does a ghostwriter provide?

Keys to attracting bookings 

You’re used to doing the interviews but getting others to interview you successfully requires other skills. Here are five simple points to get you on the air and make your advice worth listening to:

  1. Go looking for the gig—Sounds obvious, right? Yet many potential guests dismiss radio, even though it’s an extremely cost-effective way to promote their business. 
  2. Focus on local markets—Unless you’ve penned a major leader (and have permissions to name it), you’re not going to be immediately picked up for key shows like Ellen or The 11th Hour with Brian Williams. It’s usually easier to find local outlets interested in interviewing someone in their market. 
  3. Pick a SPECIFIC topic—The contact person gets too many calls with generic pitches, like, “I can talk about social media.” Yeah, so? Pick a platform you’re good at and can easily discuss, like LinkedIn or Instagram. What about it? Starting and moderating a LinkedIn group? Easy tips for getting LI news noticed? Know how to gain Instagram followers?
  4. Get prepped—Even if you’re allowed to prepare questions ahead of time, expect segues, additional questions, perhaps interruptions. Have extra info—like stats or examples—to embellish your talk (and enhance your reputation). And don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” No one knows the answer to everything and being honest increases your credibility. Mention your website and you could build a mailing list. But avoid sounding like a commercial; the moderator will talk about your bio and contact info.
  5. Are you able to provide any offers? Giveaways (like an e-book or a free 30-minute review of what the client needs) can be solid enticements. 

Don’t just walk away

When the interview’s over, find out how to get a link to the show’s recording so you can post your own blog and social media news alerts. Remember to ask if you need special permissions to use the recording as a giveaway.

And make sure you send a thank-you to the host and/or press liaison. You can use eCards; there are quite a few free sites with a great variety. Of course, you can always write and send an old-fashioned paper note.

The bottom line: As we teach in our Ghostwriter Professional Designation Program (GPDP), no matter how good a ghostwriter is, they can’t just expect clients to come to them. Every business needs to reach far and wide to link with potential authors and writers.

Radio’s great promotional potential helps authors and Certified Ghostwriters unite!

For a solid look at a career in ghostwriting, sign up for the next Intro to Ghostwriting class that begins October 5th via ghostwritertraining.com and discover if it’s right for you.

Know anyone who wants to learn more about becoming a ghostwriter? Tell them about the next Intro to Ghostwriting class beginning June 15th at ghostwritertraining.com

Comprehensive but Concise

I realize the impulse to write-it-all-out in analyses, proposals, query letters, and BSP is strong—oh, so so strong. But you must realize no author, agent, publisher, booker, host, etc. wants to have to read through all your verbiage. Ghostwriting Psych 101: be concise but comprehensive. Just another reason why ghostwriting is the simplest, most complex endeavor a writer can undertake (and why we make the big bucks!).