Danica Swanson

I'm a self-employed freelance writer and copy editor working on the core media team for the Mirror Cl...  
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Editor & Professional Anticareerist

  • The Anticareerist
  • Sep 1998 - Present

Editor-in-Chief & Dark Ambient Music Nerd

  • Endarkenment
  • Oct 2018 - Present

Chief Word-Wrangler & Copy Editor

  • Black Stone Sanctuary
  • Apr 2011 - Present

Editor - DAO Media Team

  • Mirror Club
  • Aug 2021 - Present
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Aug 18, 2021
Aug 18, 2021
Wrote a Blog Post
Published a Substack post
Published the first update to my Endarkenment newsletter since I put it on hiatus during the pandemic.

Included: reflections on funding (and lack thereof) for creative labor, and good news: I'm currently working with the brilliant and highly respected musician Ulf Söderberg to update the interview I published with him in 2018. No release date yet, but it's exciting news as it will be the first publicly released interview with Ulf in over a decade!

Logo art by Pär Boström.
Aug 03, 2021
Aug 03, 2021
Wrote a Blog Post
Presented a launch
Wrote an article
+ 1
Wrote the intro text and helped present the launch of Mirror Club, a new DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) for which I now serve on the media team. Logo by Marvin Lin.
Aug 01, 2021
Aug 01, 2021
Started a new role at Mirror Club
Excited to join Mirror Club as Editor - DAO Media Team! 🎉
Editor - DAO Media Team, Mirror Club
Jun 24, 2021
Jun 24, 2021
Wrote a blog post

Embracing Anticareerism on Polywork

Today I'm thinking about how Polywork is inspiring me to resume my work on The Anticareerist, which was once my most popular creative project. Where might this lead?

For one thing, since my Polywork profile is public, it’s entirely possible that by tagging myself with the anticareerist badge and embracing Professional Anticareerist as my title, I’ve disqualified myself from ever again working for employers who would Google my name after an interview, read my work, and find reasons not to hire me or even take me seriously as a professional writer and editor. That’s a risk I’m taking.

But here’s the thing: calling myself an anticareerist is also a vote of confidence in my ability to find new clients if I should ever need to. I’ve been gainfully and happily self-employed for a decade now, so that’s a reasonable assumption to make. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever be conventionally employed again. Especially considering the future possibilities for earning crypto through the Ethereum ecosystem.

It’s also reasonable to take precautions to limit risks that are within my control, though, so putting this title front-and-center on my new Polywork page still feels like going out on a professional limb. Yet I’m still inclined to do it because Polywork feels like a space that affords greater self-acceptance. I get the sense that I can pull this off on Polywork in a way that would never fly on LinkedIn. 

Embracing the concept of anticareerism on Polywork can serve as a filter that avoids wasted time and energy on all sides. Visitors to my page who find the idea of anticareerism off-putting will likely look elsewhere. Meanwhile, my openness about it reduces the chances that I’ll need to field awkward queries and weigh the risk of losing my income if potential employers ever discover my anticareerist predilections.

It also brings the possibility of fruitful collaborations on the topic!
Jun 21, 2021
Jun 21, 2021
Deleted an account
Removed clutter
Today in digital decluttering: after 13 years, I finally deleted my LinkedIn account. It's a step in the right direction and a decision to focus on Polywork, so it gets a separate activity entry of its own.

Jun 18, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Wrote a Blog Post
Failed in public

Yes, I Actually Am a Professional Anticareerist. Ha Ha, Only Serious.

Polywork is inspiring me to tell the story of my work on my own terms, instead of trying to shoehorn myself into job titles, a resume, or a career trajectory.

In the process, I’m revisiting the idea that Professional Anticareerist may in fact be the best job title for me. For real.

Not just because The Anticareerist (well, actually its predecessor, whywork.org) was the first project I founded and launched on the web, or because this project and its predecessors have occupied 20+ years of my life.

Not just because I’ve got a resume with questionable “gaps” and a thoroughly interdisciplinary academic past (psychology, philosophy, and accounting.)

Not just because I’ve got a big collection of anticareerist quotes that I made into memes.

It’s the best title because I’ve harbored resistance to careerism as far back as I can remember. Even in my college-prep high school I remember thinking: But what if I don’t want to go to college? What if I don’t want to get a job? What if I just want to stay home and read, think about stuff, and write? Why do people call me a dilettante or a flake for that?

That is, in fact, what I’ve wanted my entire life: to spend most of my days reading, thinking, and writing. I “published” my first “book” at the age of nine. It was about a horse. I taped the pages inside a manila folder with contact paper on the cover. Decades later, I still have it.

I now earn the bulk of my income through writing and editing. But not through the kind of writing and editing that lives inside me. Not through the writing that presses on my awareness and steadfastly demands to be translated onto the page when I wake up in the morning. That writing has never earned me more than a pittance.

Copy editing is the best “day job” I’ve ever had, by orders of magnitude. In that sense, I’m living the dream. I respect and appreciate my clients, too, which makes all the difference in the world.

But that split between what I do to “earn a living” and what I’m driven to write out of intrinsic motivation is something I’ve struggled with all my life, and The Anticareerist is the project through which I explored that tension.

Maybe it’s time to revive the Twitter account for The Anticareerist, if not the blog. If I’m feeling inspired to document the project’s history for Polywork anyway, perhaps I could share some of it there, too.

I had a website for The Anticareerist as recently as 2019, and I also started a Patreon and a Substack newsletter for it in the early days of those platforms. I deleted them all. Most of the material I published can be found through a search at the Internet Archive, and some of the links on the Twitter account still work, but otherwise the project has not kept up a current public presence for the past two years.

Why not? Burnout.

Honestly, the project was a money pit, and it’s damn hard to be a self-employed freelance writer in the U.S. I figured 20 years of failing to make it financially viable was quite enough, thank you very much. I earned that Failed In Public badge many times over.

I really am a Professional Anticareerist. With over 20 years of verifiable work experience, including moderation of a popular email list I launched in 2000.

I’ll refrain from commenting at length about the irony of being chronically overworked and underpaid by a project championing leisure and unconditional basic income.

I don’t know what kind of SEO magic they’ve got going on here at Polywork, but it’s impressive. People are finding me and following me quickly, even though I’ve only been here a few days. That’s helpful for someone whose publicity skills are underwhelming at best.

My chronic failures in the publicity department were pointed out to me on crypto Twitter recently when an influencer with 70K followers shared one of my posts. One of their followers, after checking my new crypto Twitter profile, commented: “A creator with 8 followers? Something’s off here…” (I now have 23. Baby steps!)

Whatever else may happen on Polywork, I’m grateful for their decision to hide follower counts from the public.
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