Welcome to Last Chance Writer, a blog about wanting more out of life.


Have you ever felt like you’ve been sleepwalking through your life?

You wake up one day and don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing but for some reason you’re still doing it?

For me, this feeling eventually became a default setting. But as I shuffled through various life events, it never got comfortable. Time passed, I grew more confident in my abilities and potential, and I found myself increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo.

All that changed in June 2014, when I decided I’d had enough of growing a career at a glacial pace for the benefit of someone else.

I set out to create my own work and life as a freelance writer and solopreneur.

After a decade marked by haphazard career shifts, underemployment, and waiting around for things to happen, right now feels like my last chance to be a writer and start living the life I want to live.

Last Chance Writer is an ultimatum for myself and a call to arms for you.


Even though I wrote my first piece of paid writing in 2010, it still feels very early in this journey. You’re coming in just where things are getting interesting (i.e., after the false starts and beginner’s mistakes).

This blog is where I’ll share what I’ve learned so far. This is where you’ll be the first to know how my freelancing–solopreneur life is going with a blog post every week.

You’ll keep me honest. I’ll tell you when I’m losing money and making money. I’ll tell you why I think a particular venture worked or tanked. You can tell me when you think a new monetizing idea sounds stupid. Really. It’s a don’t-hold-back zone here. And that way, maybe we’ll all learn something together.

Because I think it is possible to make a good living as a creative person. It is possible to get paid well for writing, to make art out of commerce, and to live a fulfilling life.


This blog is for you if:

  • You too feel like you’ve been sleepwalking. (Figuratively, if you are on a highway in your pajamas I can’t help you.)
  • You’d rather staple your own hand to the office ficus than wear a tie to a job or interview ever again.
  • You have secret creative superpowers.
  • You don’t want to miss out on a better life.


So feel free to take a look around.

Here is a good place to start. If you like what you’ve read sign up for a once-a-week email update HERE.


Hi I’m Topher.

A little more about me: I’m 34, male, and live in Kansas City (Go Royals). I’ve worked in nonprofit communications and fundraising (among other things) and am a recovering contemporary music composer.

Portfolio-wise, I’ve done everything from grant writing and arts journalism to social media marketing and front page BuzzFeed posts. I love challenging writing projects and I always aim to make an impact. I’m a savvy researcher (after eight years working in libraries) and I pick up new skills with a jealousy-inducing speed.


  • Every year I try to pick a new food to add to my diet. But I still dislike a couple really common foods like raw tomatoes (why does it taste like ketchup?) and all mushrooms (they’re from the devil, obviously).
  • If you ask me, I’ll tell you I prefer local craft beers, but at the store I almost always buy PBR. #hipstersellout
  • To date, the fundraising copy I’ve penned has raised approximately $200,000.
  • My master’s thesis paper was rejected by a department head and I almost wasn’t allowed to graduate. That exact same paper later made me one of the top three world experts on the music of an obscure Asian–American composer you’ve probably never heard of. Did I mention how I’m a recovering classical musician?
  • I’ve dealt with my fair share of crazy work situations. I had to have customers arrested at not one but two different part-time jobs. Current side effects: I’m oftentimes unfazed by otherwise dramatic life events.
  • Favorite color is orange.