Maggie Frank-Hsu

Writing & Editing Tips

You don’t need to be a celebrity to hire a ghostwriter

Before I started ghostwriting books, I thought that ghostwriters were just for celebrities, or at least corporate executives who didn’t have time to write their own book. Then, I had a ghostwriting mentor who told me that she turned down a contract like that once. She had read the brief on what this high profile CEO wanted – a memoir filled with his hard-earned business acumen. His assistant revealed that Mr. CEO couldn’t give the ghostwriter any of his time. He was ready to hire her, but she should know she’d probably only meet him once. So my mentor said no. “He can’t devote the time it takes to get the book he wants.” (#legend) When I dove into my first ghostwriting project, I could see exactly why she had declined the project. A ghostwriter doesn’t just write words. The right

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Your Big Idea is worthwhile–even if you don’t think it’s original

You probably think you know what I’m going to say, but it’s worth repeating regularly. As women in business, we take on so much personal responsibilty for every success and failure. And it’s true, we are responsible. But there’s a fascinating lager context to it all. In our society, the man’s role is to create, build, produce, trailblaze. The women’s role is to maintain, sustain, nurture. Guess which function is higher-paid and more highly valued? 🙄​ “In the context of health and ecology, things that grow unchecked are often considered parasitic or cancerous. Yet we inhabit a culture that privileges novelty and growth over the cyclical and the regenerative. Our very idea of productivity is premised on the idea of producing something new, whereas we do not tend to see maintenance and care as productive in the same way.” –

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Writing is like a climbing a tall tower.

A couple of people have said to me recently that when they know what they want to write about, then they’ll start to dedicate more time to writing. You know how I feel about that. I know you know (especially if you’re a long-time reader) that you have to sit down and write first! Do the thing and blah blah blah. But I really want you to sit with this knowledge. *** You see, my friend, writing is like climbing a tall tower. Not because it’s really difficult and annoying (if you’re taking the stairs, har har). But because of the view. Before you start writing, it’s like you’re at the bottom of the tower. You can’t see the view at all. What view? There is no view. As you ascend, the view begins to appear. The higher you climb (AKA the more you write) the more you

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It’s not that you suck at writing

When quarantine lifted slightly in April and May 2020, I saw a lot of people outdoors who decided now was the time to get in shape. ‘Member that?​I’m not in great shape myself, but I ride my bike most Saturdays. Around that time, I’d be out riding and I’d see someone running 7 or 8 mph UP A HILL. Keeping up with my bike!​Then, they’d conk out before they reached the top. And I, at my tortoise pace, would just keep climbing, passing a sweaty face tilted toward the heavens, hands pressing on the small of their back.​​Why do we approach hard stuff this way? Years where we do nothing. Then a one-time burst of all the energy we can muster. Then, a realization that we have bitten off more than we can chew? ​ And, finally… RETREAT!! By September,

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A good idea + a good story does not = a good book

I’m speeding through the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz after I had avoided coming anywhere near this book for the past three years. Despite the fact that no less than 12 small business owners recommended it to me over that time. All kinds of blocks stopped me from taking their advice. “I’m just a freelancer,” I would tell myself. “That sounds like a thing you need if you have employees.” Well finally, I started it. And as soon as I saw the title for chapter 1, I saw the answer to the question, “Why have a dozen entrepreneurs recommended this book to me in three years? Why is it so popular?” I’m talking about the real answer here. You might answer the book is clear or useful or that the method works, and that’s why it’s got such great word of mouth. Those things—clear, useful, effective—are probably

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