Many guys and girls are still asking me how it all began. Even as a new writer some years ago, I was not one of those who selfishly guarded his best-kept writing secrets. But I still said very little at the time. This mainly had to do with my own lack of confidence and conscious thoughts about how others responded to my work. On a professional level, this is before I turned to blogging for my daily bread and butter, it did not matter much. I was briefed by my editor, responded productively in kind, turned my copy in on time, received no further editorial feedback from my editor and simply saw perchance my published words in print.
But at some stage of this earlier job, I slowly but surely began to grow despondent. The correct definition for my job would have to be composed as ‘ghost (not guest) blogger’. Now, most readers and writers know what is meant by ghost-writing. But for those that don’t, here’s a quick tutorial. Ghost-blogging is essentially a job that entails writing blog posts on behalf of someone else. At the entry level, you are assigned tasks and you write up your posts in line with the client website themes. Professionally inclined, I just get on with the job. But it can both strain and drain a writer’s mind when you see just how many readers applaud your clients’ ‘work’ and ‘own words’.
Your original thoughts and concepts of a particular theme or subject are appropriated and deceptively, the resultant words are owned by the client. Such is the nature of professional ghost blogging. There is no complaint about this because, little do some of these clients know, the originality of my work is still preserved somewhere else.
Ok, this might not entirely be anything new or a trade secret, most of the world’s leading bloggers will be doing a lot of this anyhow. Many more well-monetized and popular online writers, on the other hand, haven’t (and may believe that they don’t need to) adopted this best practice for producing quality, original and thought-provoking writing of the highest order. It became a bit of a luxury previously and also ate into precious hours, but I particularly enjoyed my newspaper reading time. Down at my local coffee shop, this legendary local with a bundle of days old newspapers, sometimes even weeks old, would be a familiar eyesore, hogging his table and sipping his cold coffee while poring over his papers.
The thing is this; I closely follow stories of interest, sometimes re-reading clips mainly to refresh my memory. During such readings, new thoughts are added to my writing tabernacle. Some of my commissioned work has opinion and analysis rather than merely reporting facts as its locus. The result is this; I rely very little, if at all, on online abbreviations of what went down and where, and am able to come up with original copy, relying solely on memory and those papers.
While I’m thinking about this right now, topics of interest for me at the moment are all the events related to global warming and climate change, literary matters on books and academia and geo-political events from around the world. Just this morning, I was still cutting my teeth on last year’s COP21 which apparently ended on a high note. I remain cynical and doubtful about the outcomes, but felt that if the former US Vice-President, Al Gore, was visibly pleased at the eleventh hour conclusion of this conference, then perhaps the thousands of delegates had made progress after all.
Proud to say it, at this stage, I was recently appointed as a junior lecturer at my alma mater, and once all formalities are completed, I will be lecturing occasionally to first-year students in my Majors English and Theory of Literature. I have a passion for literary texts and the book publishing universe, so keep my interest up on all matters related to the business as often as I can.
I am both concerned and fascinated by major geo-political events from around the world. It’s been a habit of mine since high school days, but I’ve always loved following politics. From an early age, I aligned this interest with my love for history. In recent years, I’ve taken a keen interest in business and economics and enjoy linking what happens in the business world with corresponding political events.
At the time of writing this post, I am in the process of preparing (and then completing) my entire batch of work for the whole day. It’s a mundane task but it has to get done. Up until recently, I’d not done this before. But now I can see the fruits of such labors. Most of the writing assignments here are all essentially short copywriting gigs. You write promotional articles about a whole host of other companies, usually small businesses, from around the world.
But somehow, it feels a lot like lying. After all, how do I really know that a particular product or service is any good? Have I tried it? Did I eat the cookie that was being sold? Or did I try out that particular outfit that was up for sale? No, no and no, to all of these questions. So, basically, I take the clients’ words for it. I take a leap of faith that what they are offering you is well worth it. I put on my best door to door salesman’s suit, head off out of the door, and get to work.
I do the best I can. But, ultimately, the clients are happy. Whether my creative copy sold a few more items for them once it went viral remains to be seen. I’ve always maintained that great copywriting isn’t always about the creative aspects, the copy that wins awards at gatherings that cause Don Draper to want to leave early, but copywriting that actually leads to positive sales outcomes for the client or his product with the results to back it up. I’ve yet to put this to the test. Perhaps someday I’ll have the time.
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