Follow your dreams...

...but don't quit your day job. Not until you're ready.

I believe in living on the edge. To follow your dreams is to abandon the world of security, but that doesn't mean you have to be foolish about it.

In the last 3 years, I have written 4 novels and countless short stories, edited novels for friends, published an anthology, and marketed myself as a writer. While working to become a writer, I have also been a wife and mother, an employee, a friend, and helped my husband homeschool the kids. This has been an insane amount of hours of work, and I have often forgotten I am human. Sitting at my desk, writing and editing, I sometimes forget I have legs, that I am something more than a brain full of words and fingers propelling those words onto the screen permanently attached to my body.

Someday, I will be more than a writer. And that day is just around the corner; I can taste it. The smell of a fresh breeze and the tingle of life flutters in the air. I will make money with my stories, and I will have time to run and play and live like most people.

I want that day so much I am willing to sacrifice. Yesterday, we signed the papers to move our large family into a small apartment, and tomorrow we pick up the keys. That's about $600 savings a month and one step closer to being less dependent on my income.

To make this move possible, we've given up more stuff than I ever knew we had. We have spent long hours over the last few weeks to organize, make piles to go to Goodwill, and throw things out. For Pete's sake, I don't need an egg separator! I'm allergic to eggs, and we haven't had any in the house for over a year! It's not like I'll ever make Angel Food Cake again.

You don't have to be foolish to follow a dream, but you have to want it with all your heart. If you throw your money on 50-inch screen TV's and motorboats and large houses and fast cars, you're not likely to get there.

Step One. Keep working while I write in the evenings.
Step Two. Learn to live on less.
Step Three. Find an agent/publisher. Start making money at writing.  ** This is where I am at now. **
Step Four. My husband, the wonderful stay-at-home dad, gets a job.
Step Five. Buy a discounted house with cash. There's a lot of foreclosures / short sales in our area right now. Without a mortgage or rent payment, we won't need much to live on.
Step Six. I quit and take a nice month-long vacation.

What will I do that month? Play in my garden. Take long walks. Run with my kids in the park. Clean my house from top to bottom. Bake something yummy. Learn how to dance again.

What about you? What are your dreams? What is your plan to get there?

3 comments:

  1. Great post Rita. My dream is similar. I want to write. I want to publish that writing. I want to sell enough that I can continue to write. My plan? Let's see if I can make it as clear as yours:

    Learn to write.

    Finish a novel.

    Sleep.

    Edit said novel until it is ready for publisher/agent. (now i have 3)

    Sleep.

    Build a platform/market myself.

    Quit day job and find a way to get paid to write instead, enabling me to chase dream, pay bills, and enjoy my kids.

    Sleep.

    Agent/publisher search. This is where I'm at.

    Published.

    Stop writing stuff I hate to pay the bills.

    Smile. Take a while to enjoy my life and the awesome family I have. Did I mention I need sleep?

    Yes, you have to sacrifice but really, we often have far more than we need. I'd love to have enough money to get my hair done every month, To wear clothes that fit right and aren't stain, ripped, etc., to buy my kids whatever they ask for and to go on vacation somewhere nice and sunny. I've never had that, so really, it's nothing I miss.

    As I move closer to my dream of writing as a career, I have come to realize that happy doesn't mean money and things. Happy is doing what you love with the ones you love.

    I think we're in a pretty good place. Don't you?

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  2. Yes, I agree. I do think we are in a very good place.

    And sleep is one of those things that I have been missing out on too.

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  3. Excellent post, Rita. I hope everything works out for you.

    Ref egg separators - never saw the point of them when God gave you fingers :)

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