Make Your Life Matter
If you've ever attempted to co-author a book or a magazine article with another person, you will quickly learn that it's not easy. I've had many author friends who tell me they tried it once--and never again. I can see their point. When I write something without a co-author, I don't have to try and capture their words or thoughts or voice or stories. It is less complex and the only push back comes when I challenge myself to be the best possible writer or communicator.
When you co-author or ghost write for another person, you come alongside as the writer to capture the other person's intent. Why do you write for other people? In the October 20th issue of Publishers Weekly Soapbox column I discovered an eloquent answer that resonated with my own experience.
Courtney E. Martin tells about co-authoring a memoir of AIDS activist Marvelyn S. Brown. I loved this sentence in the second paragraph: "She decided to make her life matter."
Next Martin confirms the complexity of such a task: "I have known, since I first sat in the green glow of my family's gargantuan IBM PC in the mid '80s, that writing would be the way I would make my life matter. I just had no idea how complex my chosen method would turn out to be."
As I have written books and articles for other people, I identified with the weight of her task as Martin said, "I was apprehensive at the profound responsibility of having someone else's story in my hands."
While I've felt the weight of the co-author experience, I've also experienced great joy and satisfaction in the process. Firsthand, I know that my co-author would probably never have managed to get their story on paper or through the maze of proposal creation, then getting their book into the hands of the right editor and negotiating a book contract--much less crafting a page-turning manuscript.
While many writers prefer to write their own books and their own stories, I've chosen a different path with at least a portion of my own writing. It's one of the ways I make my life matter and I hope you too will consider for your own writing.
The experience may surprise you. No, it will surprise you because there are always surprises in the publishing process. It will stretch your relationship ability to the limit but you will also experience incredible reward (and not just financial) in the journey.