Psychic Hunches

I once had a client who I met at a book fair, where I had a table promoting my ghostwriting services. He came up to me and said, “Oh, I want to write a book—I need to talk to you.” I said, “Great—what do you want to write a book about?” And he said, “I don’t know.”

Now there was a challenge. He just felt that he had a book inside him somewhere, but he’d never written anything, or thought much about what he wanted in his book, until that moment. You meet a lot of “tire-kickers” at book fairs, but this guy was serious. He actually hired me to help him find out what his book was about. I charged him a low consulting fee to spend some hours talking about why he wanted to write a book, what his passions were, who he wanted to reach, and so on, and I recorded the conversation. And eventually a focus for the book did emerge, and he then hired me to ghostwrite it for him.

The book was about psychic hunches and how to follow them through.

Recovering Hope

I’m in the middle of my project of ghostwriting essays (for free) about this time in American history and how people are responding and contributing and acting – and how they are making a positive difference. Every time I do another interview I am inspired by the courage, dedication, perseverance and empathy in the story I’m being told. I can recover my hope, because although hatred, bigotry and fear are loud right now, those negative stories are not the majority of American stories. Not even close. We all need to speak up and share our stories of love, equality, justice, strength, and courage. I hope my ghostwriting efforts will contribute a tiny bit to this effort.

If you’d like more information about this free offer, please see my blog post of April 3rd or here.

 

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Choose Your Role

I believe we are living through a defining time in American history right now. We are all a part of this history. Someday your children, grandchildren, or descendants will want to know what role you played in this historic time. What do you want them to find?

Right now many of us are feeling discouraged, even despair – which leads to a feeling of helplessness – which in turn leads to giving up. And when we give up, everyone loses. I think the antidote to despair is always action. Do Something.

And the best thing to do is something that draws upon your talents, experience, or passion. I looked at my own attributes to see what I could do. I’ve been a ghostwriter for nearly twenty years, and I know how powerful sharing stories can be. So I decided to offer to ghostwrite – for free – some short personal essays for people who are contributing and acting and don’t have the time or desire to write their stories down. I hope history will thank us.

If you are interested in this offer, more information about how it works you can read about it here.

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Warm Nose

dog nose, close-up, front view,  29Alex Terrgi here. Yesterday my nose was warm. This makes my human nervous. She kept feeling my nose then shaking her head. Meanwhile all I wanted to do was sleep, and her continual nose-touching was kinda irritating. Even though I knew she meant well.

Today my nose is back to its usual temperature. Thank goodness. If it had stayed warm she might have decided to take me to that horrible awful no-good place called The Vet.

I think sleep is the answer to everything.

Deliciousness

Cat litter box Alex Terrgi here. My human says everyone’s tastes are different, which makes her sound like she’s easy to get along with. But I know this is not always true.

Take her attitude toward one of my favorite things: cat poop. I love cat poop – its taste, its smell, its shape, its general wonderfulness. So rich, so meaty. It makes me happy to roll in it, lick it, swallow it. In my opinion it’s the best thing about cats.

I have no idea why my human does not approve. So much for tolerance.

Lipstick Drama

jackie-lipstickAlex Terrgi here. My best friend Jackie Muttmix lives with my human’s daughter and her family. That’s why I get to see Jackie so often. This is great for me, because Jackie is full of interesting ideas and likes to explore things she knows nothing about.

My human thinks Jackie is funny and likes to tell stories about her. But I think she would think Jackie is less funny if we had to live with her. A good example of Jackie being “funny” happened a couple of weeks ago.

My human’s granddaughter had a friend over for a sleepover. Jackie wanted to hang out with them in the bedroom, but she was too rambunctious so the girls kicked her out and shut the door in her face. Jackie was upset so she went into the bathroom next door to sulk. But then she saw there was some new stuff in the bathroom garbage, so she stuck her nose in it and found an interesting tube-like thing, which she bit in half even though it was hard. It was soft on the inside though, so she rubbed it all over her face and tongue. The girls heard her making noise so they came out to see what was happening. “Mom!” shrieked my human’s granddaughter. “Jackie ate lipstick!” She and her friend were laughing so hard they cried. Of course the grownups were not as amused.

But Jackie was happy too. After the humans tried to clean her up, they let her into the bedroom with the girls so she wouldn’t get into any more trouble. Of course this did not work, because as soon as they stopped paying attention to her, Jackie started rummaging through the friend’s backpack and found her toothbrush. Which she chewed into little bits.

See what I mean about Jackie being funny and not-so-funny at the same time? I love Jackie, but I’m kinda glad she doesn’t live with us. Too much drama too often.

Ideal Readers

Woman read book seat on the plaid near windowWhen I ghostwrite a book, the first question I ask is nearly always, “Who is your ideal reader? Who do you want to read this book?”

This is often a hard question for my clients to answer, especially if he or she is a newbie author. They have not thought about it. Most of them will say something like, “My book will appeal to just about everyone,” and they act puzzled that I am even asking this stupid question.

So I explain to my client that no, not everyone will want to read their book, and that an exercise in defining their ideal readers is well worth their time. It is true that no one can definitively know who will be reading any book, but an author can know two things: they can know who is most likely to read a book like theirs, and they can know who they want to read the book. Will the readers be mostly men, or women? Are they over sixty or under thirty? Are they Americans only? Are they sports fanatics or fans of reality TV?  Knowing who the target readers are is important to me as the ghostwriter because this will clue me as to how to tailor the writing to appeal to particular types of people, by varying my use of metaphors, slang, industry jargon, and so on. Writing for grandmothers is different than writing for teenagers. Writing for financially savvy people is different than writing for people who can’t figure out how to read their bank statement.

Writing is an exercise in communication with the reader. Effective communication is always two-way.

Acting on the Page

Halloween ghost, 3dWhen you become a ghost, you must learn to think like someone else. You will learn how others think—even others radically different than you. Like actors, ghostwriters play many roles, just on the page instead of the stage. Unlike an actor, I’m not constrained by my gender, age, race, or culture. I am a middle-aged white American woman from the West Coast. But as a ghostwriter, I’ve been an African-American man from New York, a Japanese-American woman, an Iranian immigrant, a self-described redneck from Oklahoma, and oh yes, some middle-aged white American women. I’ve been any age from 20 to 90. I’ve been a doctor, an accountant, an entrepreneur, a cop, a scientist, a shaman, a gardener. Etcetera.

Here are some things I’ve learned over the years of pretending to be someone else. At heart we are all the same. We all want to love and be loved. We all want our lives to be meaningful. We all want to explore possibilities and practice our talents. And yet, we are all so gloriously different in how we express our wants.

I love being a ghost.

 

The above is another excerpt from my ebook Ghost Stories for Real Ghosts, which is part of my online course “Learn to Ghost.” If you’re interested in becoming a ghostwriter, check it out here.

Worry

beautiful 35 year old woman stands in front of the windowAlthough it had been my dream since childhood, I did not become a full-time writer until I was middle-aged. It was a scary decision, and many co-workers, acquaintances, family, and friends thought I was completely bonkers to give up a well-paying job for a nebulous dream. Even after I proved that I could indeed support myself by writing, they thought I was nuts to continue with it. “I’d never do that,” said my former co-workers. “Are you sure you can keep jumping over all the hurdles, especially at your age?” said one of my helpful aunties. “Aren’t you worried about the future? What will happen when you get old?” asked one of my closest friends.

Ah, those hurdles. They are there, you know. But I found that the hardest hurdles to jump over were all in my own head. Worrying about whether I’d spend all my savings and end up on welfare, worrying about pleasing my clients, worrying that no one would hire me, worrying that I’d embarrass myself and my family by failing, worrying worrying worrying.

I’m not sure you can ever banish worry entirely. It seems to be part of who we are as humans. But I have learned to replace much of my worry with trust. On good days, and even on average days, I trust that the universe wants me to succeed. I trust that if I do my part, the universe will do its part.

But I confess that on bad days I might revert to worrying. There have been days when I’m sure the proverbial bag-lady is hanging out in my closet, waiting for me to fail so she can lend me her shopping cart. I start to think longingly about handy things like salaries, medical benefits, 401Ks, sick days, and vacations days—you know, all those “guarantees” that I used to have.

And then I remember that the word guarantee represents a total illusion. No amount of worry will guarantee success. Worry does not work. One of my favorite quotations about worry is by Peter McWilliams: “Worry is interest paid on a debt you may not owe.”

I also remember those people in my life who have supported me in this crazy dream. Especially my two grown daughters, who have been kind enough to tell me they have been inspired by my mid-life leap, and when they get to middle age, they will know how to do it right. It is comments like these, from people I love and respect, which remind me that we are all teachers for one another. We’re not here for ourselves.

BTW, none of my worries came true. What a waste of time worry is.

The above is an excerpt from my ebook Ghost Stories for Real Ghosts, which is part of my online course “Learn to Ghost.” If you’re interested in becoming a ghostwriter, check it out here.

Mountains

Mountain dog parkAlex Terrgi here. When me and my fur-buddy Jackie go to the dog park, we play in the shadow of a big mountain. My human seems to think this is a big deal. She says things like “so beautiful!” But I don’t really care about the mountain. It’s too far away. And way way too big. And especially the mountain has no smell. Maybe if I could climb the mountain I would like its smells, but like I said before it’s too far away and too big. As for beautiful, well . . . I’d rather look at bear poop. (And smell it too.)

But I do like the dog park, so I keep my opinions to myself about the stupid mountain. I don’t want her to stop bringing me here.