Article originally appeared September 22, 2011 on Elluminize’s blog, Inner Allure.
Growing up, Your Written Word Founder Rachel Brownlow always loved to tell stories. “I was always a fairly good kid, but I remember inventing tales about how I got sent to the principal’s office for this or that, just to shock and amuse my parents,” said Brownlow. “I have a pretty good poker face, and I’d keep going, making my stories more and more elaborate.”
Despite her penchant for storytelling, it wasn’t until her junior year at the University of Texas that Brownlow decided to become a professional writer. “I remember leafing through a book in the career services center, trying to find a writing job that appealed to me,” said Brownlow. And she found it: ghostwriting. “Ghostwriting gives me the opportunity to meet interesting people and help give them a voice,” she said.
Her first ghostwriting gig came just after college, when Brownlow wrote a book proposal for a friend. Since then, she’s taken on a variety of writing, ghostwriting, and editing jobs, including proofreading the weekly Austin Business Journal for errors.
Though she’s not allowed to mention specific clients or companies for whom she’s ghostwritten, she harbors no resentment. However, she does admit that it can sometimes be challenging to attract new clients when she’s signed nondisclosure agreements for many of her more famous ones.
When she’s not working, Brownlow is most likely reading or eating—her two favorite pastimes. “I’m so lucky that my boyfriend loves to cook for me. Yesterday he made homemade chiles rellenos—my favorite! Meanwhile, he still gets excited when I boil water or stick a freezer pizza in the oven!”
What inspires you when you’re on the job?
I love reading and I love learning… I consistently find myself inspired by new projects and interesting clients.
What types of projects do you work on?
They’re all so different! Lately though, I’ve been taking on more copywriting jobs than book projects.
How do you attract clients?
Networking, word of mouth… I have a lot of repeat clients.
Are you working on anything of your own?
I’m currently working on a chick lit novel that I hope to self-publish in 2012.
How did you learn to write?
Practice. And lots of reading.
What do you like to read?
Honestly, it’s probably faster to tell you what I don’t read. It’s a yearly goal of mine to read at least 52 books per year—one for each week—so I generally touch on a bit of everything.
What is the last book you’ve read?
I just finished Good in Bed, a brilliant chick lit novel by Jennifer Weiner, and I’m currently reading Write the Fight Right, a “how to” book about writing fight scenes by Alan Baxter.
If you could have coffee with any author, who would it be?
Okay, I’m probably going to out myself as a nerd here, but probably J. K. Rowling. Not only is she one of the most imaginative people of our time, but she’s also brilliantly business-savvy.
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