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  • By Laura Schaefer

Ask Your Ghostwriter if She’s Ever Tended Bar

When you’re trying to figure out which ghostwriter to hire, you’ll probably look for someone with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for your subject. You’ll want to know whether she’s been writing for a long time. You need to know she’s a pro at interviewing and topic organization, and you should find out if she has a passion for books and genuine curiosity about your industry.

But to make the experience particularly enjoyable, you should be vetting for personality as well. Here’s why.

If you’re ready to tell your story and share your wisdom with the world, you need a project collaborator who is fun and easy to work with. Ideally, you won’t be able to wait for the interview sessions you’ve scheduled together because they’re so thought-provoking and therapeutic—cathartic, even. The very first person who needs to understand your story and see it from your point of view is your ghostwriter.

That’s why you should hire a writer who was once a bartender. Bartenders are more than just skilled at making a great old fashioned. The best ones are also talented listeners. In a world too busy staring at its iPhone to make eye contact with you, a bartender is your friend and confidant. It’s a cliché, sure. But it’s also true.

I began my first beer-slinging job in 1999. I don’t remember much about it, other than getting sprayed with champagne during the New Year’s shift. Not long after that first unsatisfactory gig, I landed at a very special restaurant where I tended bar part time for over ten years as I grew my writing career. It was wonderful—like graduate school for studying life. I formed deep friendships, came out of my small-town shell, and met thousands of people I never would have otherwise.

As I think about the relationship between bartending and writing, I see it as a highly symbiotic one. And I know I’m not alone—I doubt I’m the only professional ghostwriter out there who knows what’s in a Tom Collins. Now, many year later, I bring the skills and work ethic I learned in the service industry to bear on my ghostwriting projects. I love talking with my clients, and I think they enjoy talking with me. I believe the book writing process should be fun, reflective, and thought-provoking.

Your ghostwriter should be curious, funny, and deeply empathetic…so ask her if she’s ever tended bar!

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