5 Proven Writing Tips Every Ghostwriter Should Know

ghostwriting May 06, 2022
Man typing on a keyboard.

by Cris Yeager


Although writing is an art, it is also a craft, one that needs practice and skill to achieve any measure of proficiency. Becoming a successful ghostwriter requires more than just having good writing skills — you also need to know how to write well for someone else, whether that person is an entrepreneur trying to launch their first business or a politician running for public office.

Ghostwriting has become increasingly popular among today’s authors, and with good reason. Ghostwriters are typically hired to help clients save time and energy and their expertise can result in higher quality content than the author would be able to write on their own. But if you plan to be a successful ghostwriter, you need to understand what it takes to do the job well. Here are five proven writing tips every ghostwriter should know.

1) Thoroughly research your subject
If you don’t know your subject, how can you write about it convincingly? The first step to becoming a ghostwriter is to be familiar with your subject matter. While it may be tempting to jump right into writing, you need to make sure that everything you produce is accurate and credible. Familiarizing yourself with your topic will give you access to additional resources and help prevent errors in spelling or grammar. It will also save you time by helping point out obvious flaws in your writing, such as awkward phrasing or improper citation.

2) Don’t be afraid to change the structure
A common misconception people have is that ghostwriters just take a bunch of quotes and transcribe them. Don’t make that mistake. Have an outline or plan before you start writing. This will not only help you follow through with your promise of completing it on time, but it will allow you to produce better material. 

Structure is also important for understanding what you are writing about — if something doesn’t make sense to you, then it won’t make sense to your audience either. Organization is essential and the point of ghostwriting is to put together the best information from the author into one coherent piece. 

You want your readers to come back for more after reading it so structure and organization will keep them interested in what you're saying.

3) Set aside ample time
Being a ghostwriter means you’re writing on someone else’s schedule and trying to get your work completed within their timeline. If they need something done last minute, that’s what it is — so don’t start a project without knowing how much time you can dedicate to it. In addition, be sure to account for any possible interruptions in writing time. Having too many distractions while working can completely derail a project, so set aside a block of uninterrupted hours and make sure nothing interrupts you.

4) Pick your words carefully
A strong vocabulary makes your writing concise and precise, which is what you want. Make sure to learn words that are commonly used in whatever genre you write in (e.g., don’t use hackneyed or jargon). When someone chooses to read your work, they want to feel that their time will be well spent — not bogged down by long-winded phrases or sentences that require excessive mental effort to understand. As a ghostwriter, your style will mimic your client’s writing — so make sure you keep up with their vocabulary too! If it’s great for them, it should be great for you too.

5) Write like someone else
One of the biggest challenges of ghostwriting is capturing someone else’s voice, especially when it comes to fiction. One of the best tips for writing well in other people’s voices is to avoid thinking too much about it. The more you think about what you're doing, the more it will sound like you and not them. Don't try to mimic their voice or dialect exactly, just find a way to make it clear that this person wrote this text. 

One way to do this is by using phrases they would use and things they would say. Keep their tone in mind while you write and make sure the vocabulary matches theirs (do they have a particular way of talking?) Another good strategy is to research how these people think, feel and act so that your words reflect that reality instead of just being something from your imagination.

Writing for others
You may be tempted to try and fit your writing into a certain style or you might be worried that you'll end up writing material that is too boring. These problems are real and you won't master ghostwriting right away, but with time and practice, you'll learn how to tackle these issues head-on. An important aspect to remember is that you're not the author — the person who needs the written content is. Your job as the writer is to focus on what they want to say. Some writers start out as great bloggers or authors before trying their hand at ghostwriting, while others start by successfully meeting all the demands of being a successful professional writer without ever having gone through training courses.

It's important to always remember that your responsibility as a ghostwriter is to help someone else express themselves in written form. You don't need to worry about what happens after you're done, whether you'll get paid or if your name will be credited (because it won't). To become a successful ghostwriter you need to be well versed in creating content — not just any kind of content, but well-written content based on thorough research and attention to detail. Writers who understand how language works and have honed their grammar skills can write for others without making them sound like they don't know how to write themselves. Remember: write for them, not yourself! 

If you're looking to become a ghostwriter, check out our other blog posts!