Opening Up: The mutual gift of ghostwriting

By Cecil (Cec) Murphy

I’m a ghostwriter/collaborator. That is, I make my living by writing for other peopleCecil Murphy headshot and trying to capture their voices and personalities on paper. My goal is to grasp who they are and write their stories to help them connect with readers.

As we work together their trust level increases, and they share their anguish and failures. Sometimes they cry. In the process of opening up to me, they also hear themselves and often gain deeper self-awareness.

I don’t say a great deal while I tape material, but I listen intently. Those for whom I write enable me to accept them at their most pitiful level, love them in the midst of their tragic failures, and cheer for their triumph. I connected with their experiences—obviously not by what they did but by the way they interpret the meaning of those inner battles.

I learn about them, and, to my surprise, I’m changed by being a witness to their lives. In some mystic, unexplainable way, they help me become more open and compassionate. That may be obvious, but it was a startling revelation to me.

I had been a ghostwriter for at least a decade before that insight filtered through my consciousness. Until then, I wrote about others to help them tell their stories and to expand their self-discovery. They told of forgiving others, forgiving themselves, moving beyond failures, and living with peace in the present.

In doing so, I accepted them and learned to accept myself more fully. And that transferred into my being more loving and acceptable of others. When people open up so I can understand their painful journey and I truly listen, they teach me to be more forgiving and compassionate.

It’s amazing to me how this works. And I wondered why it took me so long to figure out the principle: The more I give myself to others through listening and sensing their pain, the more healthy and whole I become.

Is it possible that might be God’s plan for humanity?

Veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or co-written more than 135 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. This post was originally published in his April 2014 e-newsletter and is used here with his permission.

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