Ever since I stated on this blog that during my writing life, I’ve tried just about every type of writing, a surprising number of you have asked me to be more specific. For instance, reader Donna asked, “What exactly did you write? Some of us might want to try off-beat things.”
First of all, Donna, I didn’t do a lot of off-beat writing. Mostly I wrote short fillers and anecdotes, meditations, magazine articles, short stories, children’s stories and such. Although, come to think of it, one of my first writing jobs was pretty off-beat. I wrote fortunes for fortune cookies. (And you thought all those little slips of paper baked in the cookies were truly inspired. Ha!)
Generic notes of hope and good luck were the easiest to write:
- Wonderful news is on the way.
- Opportunity will come knocking. Be ready to open the door.
- What you lost, you will soon find.
Trouble is, all those things had already been said. Better were messages of encouragement:
- Only put off until tomorrow what you don’t care if you ever get done.
- Don’t follow the beaten path. Forge a new trail for those who come after you.
- Congratulations! You brought opportunity to your door.
Still, the most fun—though too often rejected—were the off-beat fortunes. (You’ll like these, Donna!)
- The best fortune is in another cookie.
- You will be hungry again in an hour.
- You’re seeking life guidance from a cookie? Forget it!
Good News: Writing fortunes is fun!
Bad News: Writing good, original, acceptable fortunes is hard!
Unfortunately, in this day of blog excerpts and online comments, there isn’t a lot of call for paid fortune cookie writers. Still, companies do sometimes contract a group of freelancers to write new messages to add to their data base. I got my job by answering such a call in a San Francisco newspaper. Of course, that was back in the Dark Ages before the internet. But if you’re interested, check around online and see if anyone is hiring.
“I thought opportunity was knocking…But it turned out to be a woodpecker on the roof!”