This Is a Real Job: Writing Fortune Cookie Fortunes

If you always wanted to be a writer, but just can't seem to sit still long enough to craft the next "War and Peace," do not despair. Consider writing fortune cookie fortunes. This wild and wacky job only requires one or two sentences per publication, a short (short) story writer's dream job.

(Photo Credit: It's So Sunny!/Flickr)

It seems that writing fortune cookie fortunes was not always big business. According to The Week, Wonton Foods was established as recently as 1973. They are still the biggest manufacturer of fortune cookies and their fortunes, shipping as many as 5 million cookies daily, each one complete with little tidbits of wisdom and luck, to restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe.

When Donald Lau was vice president of Wonton Foods, he would scribble out the little messages between other job duties. He told The New Yorker in 2005 that he would find inspiration wherever he could find it, including subway signs.

The Week also reports that another writer of fortune cookie fortunes, Lisa Yang, vice president of Yang's Fortunes in San Francisco and daughter of founder Steven Yang, claims to find fortune cookie fortune inspiration in both ancient Chinese adages as well as modern-day horoscopes in the newspaper. We creative types know that there might be inspiration hiding anywhere. You just have to look.

However, back at Wonton Foods, even Lau could not keep up with 5 million per day. Wonton Food, Inc. pays a team of freelance writers to keep the messages new and fresh. Every couple of years, the contracted writers renew and refresh Wonton Foods' database of 15,000 messages. Sounds like a fun gig for any creative writer.

Today there are blogs dedicated to the history and art of writing fortune cookie fortunes. A lot of time, effort and research seems to go into crafting unique pieces of ten words or less.

Interestingly, fortune cookie fortunes are an American phenomena. Chinese restaurant owners in American would not dream of serving you or handing you a bag of takeout that did not include the little treats. In China, however, it is neither expected nor common.

Tell Us What You Think

What is the best fortune you have ever read from a fortune cookie? Leave us a comment or join the conversation on Twitter.

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16 Comments

  1. 16 ricky alvarez 22 Apr
    if smiling hurts your cheek bones, try making someone else laugh.
  2. 15 Chad Calvert 24 Feb
    For twice the fortune eat twice the cookie. When you eat cookie, read fortune with in bed before or after fortune. For more fortune eat big fortune cookie. Truth never tasted sweeter, except for suger free fortune cookie. Eat if you love this fortune. Fortune cookie made like big heart for bigger appetite.
  3. 14 dayana 21 Feb
    I am interesting, please send me information.
  4. 13 Marian 25 Nov
    How Can i make this as a job for really
  5. 12 ted 11 Nov
    how can make money doing this.. I have some good quotes for fortune cookies
  6. 11 kevin 27 Oct
    I would be very interest in writing fortunes cookies please send me information on this position thank you
  7. 10 fortune cookie writer wanted. 13 Oct
    dear Lelia would u like to be hired call me at 1780 622 4494
  8. 9 callie cat 13 Oct
    i need to know how much money u make for a school project:)
  9. 8 callie cat 13 Oct
    i need to know how much money u make for a school project:)
  10. 7 Leila 01 Sep
    I think I can be the best fortune cookie writer you can find. Please let me know what to do about this offer. Thanks
  11. 6 Reba Bolden 27 Jul
    I a interested in becoming a fortune cooking writer. I am currently a writer of proposal, program reports, evaluation reports. I have an uncanny ability to come up with catchy phrases. Can you point me in the right direction to speak with a legitimate fortune cookie manufacturer. Thank you, Reba
  12. 5 Joan Tapnainen 14 Jul
    I want to be a free lance fortune cookie writer - how and where do I apply? Thanks, JT
  13. 4 holaaaaa 24 Jun
    anthony cool it f bf hbt tvrecf kfnr bfvfvghbjncxszxfdcgbhjnmlkjnhbgkfjdxzstrx eydctfgbhkje xyrctfgbhjnkm HOW MUCH MONEY DO YUO MAKEEEE
  14. 3 anonymous 29 Apr
    this is sad
  15. 2 anthony 10 Feb
    HELP! I NEED TO BECOME A FORTUNE COOKIE WRITER TELL WHAT I NEED TO BECOME THE BEST. IT HAS BEEN MY DREAM SINCE A REALLY YOUNG AGE. I NEED YOUR HELP TO SUCCED SO CAN U PLEASE TELL ME WHAT QUALIFICATIONS I NEED??????????? PLZPLZPLZPZLPZLPZLZPZLPZLZPLZPZLZPLZPZLPZLZPZLPZL THNX WITH LOVE ANTHONY KATRINAKIS ATHENS GREECE
  16. 1 Capricorn 25 Nov
    So how does one go about getting a free-lance gig writing these fortunes?

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