My Second Career as a Writer: How Dreams Deferred Become Dreams Realized

I always wanted to be a writer.

It’s the type of wistful comment you make when you’re getting older, when the hair is sprinkled with more salt than pepper and taking inventory of life’s accomplishments is tinged with an autumnal sadness, a could’ve been and might’ve been and all the roads not traveled.

Or perhaps you’re just an underemployed English major crushed beneath the weight of four years of student loans, the stack of bills far outweighing the minimum wage you earn waiting tables or tending bar, the dream of becoming a writer deferred, your youthful rebellion against the rat race trounced by reality.

“I always wanted to be a writer but…”

Today, that once wistful and reflective but has been replaced by all types of money-making opportunities for would-be writers. For English majors, stay at home moms (dads), recluses, agoraphobs, antisocial hermits, any teenager who doesn’t want to flip greasy burgers or mow lawns, any retiree who doesn’t want to wear an unflattering orange apron and sell lumber and nails at Home Depot, and all those who’ve always loved or had a penchant for the written word, the Internet is the Holy Grail. It’s easier to write for a living now that at any time in history.

From working as a web content writer to self-publishing an e-book, the digital age has opened the door for many wordsmiths to realize their long dormant dreams. In how many content marketplace forums have you seen the following series of questions: I’m just wondering how much money you can make here? Is there always work? Hi, I’m new at——. Curious. How many of you work here full time?

Six moths later:

Hi, all. I just quit my day job. Threw in the towel at the office. Gonna’ try to write full-time. Wish me luck. 🙂

Whether writing is a first career, second career, a supplemental income to a more traditional nine to five job, or just a way to make some extra coin around the holidays or to front that Caribbean vacation you’ve been planning, the Internet provides freelance and entrepreneurial prospects that didn’t exist just a short time ago.

“The Online Way to Delegate Your Chores”

The freelance opportunities on the Internet don’t end with web content writing. The January 14th issue of The New Yorker features a compelling article by Patricia Marx. “Outsource Yourself” comically breaks down the trend in soliciting helpers to take care of unwanted chores. Task Rabbit, a website and concept dreamed up by an I.B.M. software engineer, allows you to farm out activities to bidders.

Do you need food delivered to your house? Do you need Ikea-furniture assembled? Boxes taken to UPS? Excel spreadsheets? Notes on a novel for a book club? And the tasks get weirder than these examples.

All you need to do is hire a Task Rabbit (errand runner). Each Task Rabbit has a full-profile detailing what their specialties are: delivery tasks, shopping, cerebral jobs. A tipping system is included.

I always wanted to be a task rabbit.

Well, no, probably not. Who really likes shopping or doing laundry? It’s just another way to make money in the digital age.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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