Located somewhere in Silicon Valley, my client has shown up, maybe, on your own Television Screen, when he was interviewed on 60 Minutes regarding a new technology that will soon be employed to solve one of our biggest media problems. I know it wasn’t much, but, hearing this client describe me, a person who he can’t, thankfully, see, as one of the most knowledgeable persons about their products, was an honorable moment. Because, what he can’t see is that I’m just a mom who is likely sitting in her kitchen with a warm cup of cinnamon tea, taking the call between school and practice schedules, and hoping the kids will settle for grilled cheese sandwiches tonight.
Most of the work I do is secretive — I’m a ghost writer. I am someone who interviews a person, usually with a high-level of technical expertise, and basically, just writes a story for them. The advantages of hiring a ghost writer is our specialty in making complex information easier to understand, and our ability to understand what editors at top magazines, newspapers or publishers need from the content to make it “sell.” So our expertise is “packaging” the technical person’s expertise in a way that more people can understand it, and have access to it, by making sure it is appealing to the people who have the power to publish it.
This kind of writing gets me out of bed in the morning. Or maybe during the sleepy hours around bedtime, I think about the next “puzzle” I’m working on, and I can’t wait to get started on it. Writing, to me, is a fascinating mystery. Right now, the words, the ideas, the potential is all scattered in a virtual world, and I will put the pieces back together. I will create meaning where this is nothing.
Some people wonder why I choose to write about virtual machines, containers, biomedical medicine and CRM systems? Why not write about food — retail products — something you can understand?!
Because there is no mystery in what everyone already knows about.
The information is given to me, usually by a phone call. This can be interesting. Last Thursday, for example, my call was scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 PM, for a client in Australia. It was 7:30 AM Friday morning for him, and 2:30 for my contractor, who was in San Francisco. But hey, we’re all here on the phone, and let’s make the most of our time while we’re all here together.
Anyway, I have never met this Silicon Valley client face to face — we haven’t even connected on LinkedIn, yet, but I have written two, maybe three ghost articles for him so far. Each time, as I’m writing for him, I seem to intuitively sense what he would say — I don’t mean just the right meaning, but the exact word choice he would use.
I’ve checked the articles I’ve written after they’re published, and I find not a word has been changed. That’s as close to a pat on the back as I can get — and it feels great. But, recently, we were on another call for a new project, and there were several other people on the call as well, all offering information. When one of the representatives said to me, “I don’t know how much you know about our product,”– and right then, my friend in California interrupted and said, “She knows quite a bit…”
Discretion is one of my highest quality marks. I can’t tell who I’m writing for.
I try to type as fast as I can — I need to find a way to record these calls, but it’s not as simple as you would think to find such an app that can work so easily. Tape recorders are hard to find.
When the project is completed, there are many unspoken words of relief, and sighs of heavy relief, and lots of celebratory moment of peace. But pats on the back are rare when you work virtually.