Ideas locked in your brain can burn as white-hot as any flame, but if you don’t have the skill it takes to bring them to life, that fire might never be fully extinguished — that’s why so many people turn to ghostwriters for their writing projects, both large and small. Hiring someone to put your thoughts into words is no simple task, but if you look for these characteristics in a ghostwriter, you can’t go wrong:

Personality. There’s no substitute for talent, but without a little personality, your ghostwriter will never be able to give your story life. Whether you’re telling the story of your family or explaining how your company’s new high tech equipment works, energy and appeal are the name of the game. A good ghostwriter puts a little bit of themselves into everything they do — if they’re boring, your work will be, too.

Flexibility. Even though your ghostwriter should have some level of specialty in your type of project, if they’re a one-trick pony, you might want to keep shopping. A ghostwriter should be comfortable in a variety of formats and writing styles in order to best meet your needs. After all, ghostwriting is a very personal type of customer service job and one that can’t be managed with a single, stiff voice.

Communication. The most talented ghostwriter isn’t worth much if he or she is afraid to communicate with you if they have a question or don’t understand your instructions. Expect a lot of back and forth about your project until all the details are hammered out. As the project goes on, ghostwriters who communicate well will let you know if they’ve hit any kinks or delays. Those are surprises you don’t want to discover after your deadline has been missed unexpectedly.

Organization. Creative types aren’t known for their organizational skills, but any ghostwriter juggling multiple projects must have some kind of system in place or they risk mixing up work orders. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential ghostwriter about her  process, but be wary if she boasts about her disorganization or claims he can keep all the details of a project in his head.

Although you may be in a hurry to set your ideas free, you’ll do yourself a huge favor if you take your time and choose the right ghostwriter the first time. After all, you may not be able to give your thoughts the life they deserve, but you can ensure they’re conveyed in their entirety by a skilled and dedicated ghostwriter.