Sunday, September 26, 2010

Making Bumblebees Buzz

Ghostwriting is all about encouraging people to take what is inside them – their thoughts, ideas, and stories – and get them “out there” so they can enrich or illuminate the lives of others. But many people don’t believe that what’s inside them is worth anything. It is part of my job to convince them that this is not so. We all have something to contribute. I know this is true because my mother showed me it was.

When I was about 4 years old, I wrote a poem about a bumblebee that my mother thought was the best poem any child had ever written. She copied it out in her prettiest handwriting, using a pen with thick black ink, and adding many flourishes and curlicues. She used her best white stationary, not the newsprint I originally wrote it on. And then she illustrated it with her own fabulous drawings (I thought they were fabulous because her bumblebees really looked like bees, not dots, and her flower like flowers, not smudges.)

She hung this creation inside a real frame, on the living room wall, not on the refrigerator. Everyone who came into our house was taken to see the poem and it was read aloud to them. Mom always followed the reading with, "And she's only four!" Many nights that year, when the house was dark and silent, I would get out of bed and tiptoe into the living room so I could gaze at my framed poem hanging in that place of honor. I have won other honors since then, for which I am grateful, but none of them have given me as much satisfaction as my bumblebee poem in my mother's handwriting.

Most of us still have a four-year-old inside us somewhere. It is my job as a ghostwriter to encourage those four-year-olds to come out and play with me, so I can make their bumblebees real.


Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 6 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 30 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit

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  1. You were incredibly lucky to have such a mom. She validated you when you were so small...and look how you turned out!

    As a former teacher of 6-year-olds (and a parent myself), I know just how powerful this can be. And the fact that she recopied, illustrated and framed your poem? What an affirmation of her faith in you and your talents.

    Do you still have it?

  2. Kim,

    Oh how I am so glad for having kept my early childhood scrapbooks and journals. For they document my own fascination with drawing and writing from a tender age.I agree completely, that each person's story is worth honoring when the time is right for them. So you know how much I appreciate you and what you do and how you do it.

    Thank you for sharing...Thank you for sharing.

    Deborah Drake
    Authentic Writing Provokes

  3. Thanks, Judy and Deborah. No, I don't still have the bumblebee poem, unfortunately. I do have a poem I wrote a couple of years later when I was around 6, that my mom sent into a magazine (and it was printed, which sent her into tizzies of delight.) The poem was about my dog, a dachshund named Zipper. It went like this: Zipper is a wiener/ He loves his deener/ And he loves me too. Only my mom could see talent in this, but I'm glad she thought she could.

  4. Lovely story about the poem. You are right that the smallest details can sometimes be such a powerful memory.

  5. Kim, what a delightful post! Not only is the example of validation important, but also the value of the ghostwriter in freeing the "story within" a person is invaluable.

    Ghostwriting is a specialty of its own. The ability of the writer to "get into the head" of another person to tell his/her story with honesty, integrity, and passion requires skill, patience, dedication, and compassion--as well as a great deal of writing talent.

    Great post!

  6. I hope you have that poem on your wall now.

    You're right, ghostwriting is like that. Finding the treasures and moments in someone's life is what it's about at the core.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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