“A journey soon begins, its prize reflected in another’s eyes. When what you see is what you lack, then selfless love will change you back.” Aah! The notorious Freaky Friday fortune cookie. Fortune cookies can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. For some of us, it is the unforgettable scene from Freaky Friday, with Anna (played by Lindsay Lohan) changing souls with her mother, Tess (played by Jamie Lee Curtis). The stereotyping of the Asian cultures with mysticism aside, that cookie had a hell of a message for all of us! For others, the usually positive aphorisms, prophecies, and lucky numbers inside those tiny, crispy, sugary delights can be life-changing (read lottery winning!) or simply a great ending to a good Chinese meal.
If you have lived in America, you are probably familiar with the absolutely delightful taste of vanilla and sesame as you savor the sweet fortune cookies; even as you read the enticing piece of fortune inside. Fortune cookies have long been popular in America, is regularly served as a dessert in most Chinese restaurants. As per a New York Times article from 2008, three billion fortune cookies are made every year, and most of them are consumed in America.
Some of the big names in fortune-cookies production include Wonton Food Inc (Brooklyn), Baily International (Midwest), Peking Noodle (Los Angeles), Golden Gate Fortune Cooking Factory (San Francisco), and so many more local manufactures like Fancy Fortune Cookies (Indianapolis), Tseu Chong Company (Seattle), Keefer Food Court (Minneapolis), and Sunrise Fortune cookie (Philadelphia), etc.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
This bit is tricky. While fortune cookies are served in Chinese restaurants, their origins have been traced to China and Japan. Most narratives agree that fortune cookies have their origin in Japan’s traditional tsujiura senbei. Conflicting accounts trace origins to the fourteenth-century Chinese rebels, who would exchange messages stuffed in a dessert. Yet another story traces them to nineteenth-century Chinese workers in America. In any case, the credit of inventing modern-day fortune cookies currently rests with a Japanese man named Makoto Hagiwara, as ruled by the Court of Historical Review in San Franciso (1983).
Fortune cookies have become an entrenched part of the Asian-American food culture. Interestingly, Wonton Food attempted to launch fortune cookies in China but had to shut down because of limited sales. Fortune cookies also earn a fair profit in some other countries like Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Peru, U.K., France, Italy, etc., but are largely regarded as American in nature.
FORTUNE COOKIES IN AMERCIAN CULTURE
Asian-American food culture is not the only area where fortune cookies have created a space for themselves. Customized fortune cookies are a major trend here, whether to send messages to friends or family members, surprise them, or propose marriage to your chosen one. Also, customized fortune cookies have been used to promote specific products, including movies like Kung Fu Panda III (quotations from the movie were written on the fortune slip inside the cookies).
In popular culture, fortune cookies have impacted jewelry making, other fortune telling mediums (e.g., Magic 8 ball), even inspiring stories and movies. Our love for Freaky Friday aside, an interesting short story by Allen Wheelis, narrates an author’s journey who finds success as a fortune cookie writer.
Suffice it to say then, fortune cookies are crucial part of American culture and the fortune slips, an amusing, sometimes comforting end to a satisfying meal.
A CAREER IN WRITING…AND COOKIES
If you are somebody who loves fortune-cookies and happens to be good at coming up with quirky one-liners, you could find a career in fortune-cookie writing!
Ever since Donald Lau, the chief financial officer of Wonton Food, retired as the chief fortune writer some years ago from the same company, the internet is waking up to the possibility of work as a fortune-cookie writer. And why not? Writing pieces that could reach out to millions of people is tempting, to say the least.
Fortune Cookie Writer Job Description
- Fortune cookie writing is not a regular job and needs excellent writing skills
- Should be creative to write more with fewer words
- Need to have a good sense of humor
- Good understanding of American Culture
- Must be up to date with recent social media viral content
- You know how to write viral content
- You have interests in various fields
Fortune Cookie Writer Salary
There is a consensus that fortune cookie writing could have a pay-scale ranging from nearly $40,000 to $80,000 per annum.(According toU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). People on the lower end of the pay-scale earned less than $28,020, while those on the higher end earned even more than $106,630 per annum.
It isn’t easy to get a job working exclusively as a fortune cookie writer in either scenario. On the other hand, being a freelance writer, you can handle multiple content creating projects, and fortune cookie writing could be one of them. This job type is perfect for people looking for part-time work or freelancing for the sheer fun of writing.
In this article, we will guide you on various ways in which you can become a fortune cookie writer.
Steps to Become a Fortune Cookie Writer
- Learn to write well and practice every day
- Build a solid resume around your writing skills
- Create a writing portfolio
- Have samples of fortune cookie writing
- Apply for the job online with a resume, portfolio, and fortune samples
There are no special educational qualification required for becoming a fortune cookie writer
The first step towards becoming a fortune cookie writer is learning to write well and building a solid resume around your writing skills. Writing is a talent, but it is also something that you can work on. You do not need to have a huge reservoir of words or be a best-selling novelist. However, what you do need, is to cultivate creative-writing abilities.
While you engage in a creative writing project, keep in mind the intended audience. Writers are open to criticism by all. Be mindful of the audience and how they feel upon receiving a fortune cookie and what possible writings they could find interesting, entertaining, or simply relevant to their lives. You will need to find a balance between your audience’s sensibilities and your creativity. Are you the kind of person who would delight at the thought of making the reader laugh, feel encouraged, or perhaps, go into a pensive, thoughtful mood? Only you can judge the kind and quality of content you would like to provide to your readers.
It is easier to go on and on to get your point through. It is much more difficult to say more with fewer words. Our literary histories are full of poets and writers who were able to enthrall us with two liners, each profound and complete, even if short. To cultivate conciseness and charming profundity, you must read and then write short poetry or stories. Consider taking writing lessons in genres like Haiku, a seventeen-syllable poem (originating in Japan), or couplet structured poetry.
If this sounds a tad too much, you could also hone your writing skills by working in the advertisement: designing product taglines, composing witty slogans for various companies, or simply writing catchy captions for social media platforms of these companies. Come to think of it, crisp and lively writing are needed everywhere, from the smallest manufacturers, restaurants, stores, and start-ups to the big-shots in the production and service industries. Effective advertisement, after all, can go a long way in reaching out to the masses.
Read and make notes of short axioms, sayings, and truths of life, that you have heard or come up with at some point. If they inspired you, maybe they could have far-reaching effects for others too.
Try practicing coming up with the wittiest remarks even while you are conversing with your friends and family. Sometimes, you could find inspiration in the unlikeliest of places and people. Crucial to being a good writer is good listening skills. Anyone could surprise you with their short, insightful, humorous remarks. It is imperative that you either make a mental note of what they say or jot it down in a pocket diary so that you can come back to them later and build on them further. Remember, all art is inspired.
Witty remarks aside, you will also need to work on writing real fortunes. While most people might not believe in the fortune on the fortune cookie slip, it could still impact them in ways unknown to us. Humans are cute and weird that way. We never know when to stop taking signs from the universe! Writing real fortunes implies taking a prophetic, mysterious tone. In that way, whatever you write might have at least a fifty percent chance of resonating with the reader.
Once you start working on your creative writing skills, while building your resume around content creation, you can move forward to the next and the most important step to becoming a fortune cookie writer.
REACH OUT AND SEEK
Fortune cookie writing is not a regular job that you would stumble across on job-finding online platforms. You will need to reach out and seek the opportunities. You can do that either by reaching out over phone, e-mail, or better yet, visiting the concerned office premises. Get in touch with the people who work in fortune cookie production and how and from where they procure the fortunes. You will need to be pro-active to land a job like this. If you do it well enough and sell your creative writing skills better, you could end up working as a free-lance fortune cookie writer at one of these places.
If you are worried that there are not enough companies producing fortune cookies, you could always be on the lookout for the local manufacturers and bakeries. Having an in-house fortune cookie writer could be profitable for most of these, and you could have your chance. Students, particularly those looking for part-time jobs, could work in local bakeries and restaurants and try their hand at fortune writing every now-and-then.
Another thing to keep in mind is constantly practicing writing fortunes on your own and not waiting for when you will land the job. This way, you can save some of your best fortunes and show them to the hiring officials later on. This would not only display your talent and love of writing but will also increase your chances of getting hired (even if as a freelancer) tremendously.
DREAM JOB: WRITE WHILE YOU BAKE
There could be many reasons why a person might want to pursue a career in fortune cookie writing. Perhaps, they have had some peculiar experiences with fortune cookies that impacted them in unfathomable ways. The idea of reaching out to thousands of people may entice them. It is also possible that they believe in signs of the universe and would love to take it into their own hands to send those signs to people. They likely love writing amusing tidbits.
Love of writing and fortunes aside, if you also love baking, you could build a dream enterprise and open your own business. You could be the chief fortune writer in your own company, baking as your write and writing while you bake.
Exciting as this possibility sounds, it isn’t easy. You will need the courage to begin the process, let alone achieve what you have set out to achieve. Go down this road only if you really love baking and writing. Initially, you would be handling a lot of work. You would need to learn to bake yummy desserts and write amusing prophecies. You will need initial funds to set up a proper business, an area to work from, and actively advertise your bakery/company. In the beginning, you might find yourself handling a lot. You might have to be your own baker, writer, advertiser, home-delivery person, and so much more. But on the bright side, when your business takes flight to success (and it will, owing to your passion), the memory of your struggles and hard work will only be sweet.
Now that you are all set on your way to becoming a fortune cookie writer, do not forget the most crucial of all ingredients—belief in yourself and your abilities. Be kind towards your efforts and their results. Remember, there is nothing much we can control about our lives, except the effort we put in. Effort always counts, and if fortune cookie writing is something that enamors you, you most definitely should go for it.
If writing is what you are passionate about, take up jobs in writing on various platforms and companies. Maintain your creativity and strive to grow, even as you inch closer towards your goal.
Remember, success can be defined in various ways, and growth and learning are one of them.
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