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Need something written?

Never Go Down the Writing-Jobs-on-Craigslist Alley Alone

Jacquelyn Bengfort

I use Craigslist. I buy things, occasionally; I sell things. I peruse "Missed Connections" from time to time because, well, I'm an anthropologist and interested in everything human, and find longing especially fascinating. And, like the proverbial moth, I'm drawn time and again to the flame that is "writing/editing jobs."

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 11.28.23 AMWhat a sucker.

There's no place more treacherous, I think, than the "writing/editing jobs" portion of Craiglist. (Caveat: "writing gigs" may in fact be worse.) Let me break it down for you. "writing/editing jobs" [sic] include the following sorts of posts:

  • requests for unpaid interns
  • people with "bestseller" ideas who want to split the "massive profits" after you've completed that pesky writing bit on spec
  • poorly-punctuated, all-caps invectives screaming "LETS MAKE MONEY TOGETHER" from unnamed "successful companies" or "high-powered consulting firms"
  • sundry likely scams I'm too lazy to confirm as verifiable scams (but I'm looking at you, "don't use the Craigslist email relay system" posters)
  • the occasional, apparently-legitimate seeker of a professional writer or editor

In short: a quagmire. A cesspool. A wretched hive of scam and villainy (see what I did there?).

By the time I drag myself away, I'm definitely a bit down, a bit blue, a bit defeated. And feel a bit dirty, not in a good way.

So...anybody looking for a writer?