by Tracy Barrett

For a long time I dreamed of quitting my day job. But I knew a lot of people who had done just that and were dissatisfied with the life they wound up leading post-day job, and I was determined to avoid that trap.

I’m by nature a planner (oddly, though, I’m definitely a pantser, not a plotter, when it comes to writing), so for years I kept two files—a physical file and one on my computer—with clippings from newspapers and magazines (and pastes from blogs and on-line magazines) with information about medical insurance for the self-employed, about ways to earn money from writing when contracts were slow to come, about how to spend all day in the same house with a retired spouse without the two of you killing each other.

A year to the day before quitting my day job I started a blog about all the preparations I’d been making. I posted weekly about my progress towards my dream of being dayjob-free. Guest bloggers who had a successful post-dayjob life also contributed advice.

All this planning paid off. I had intended to keep the blog going after my retirement with posts about what I would do differently and what I wish I had prepared for better, but really, there hasn’t been enough to keep the blog going. It’s all gone about the way I’d hoped.

A friend always says, “Don’t dream any harder than you’re willing to work.” I would add, “Don’t dream without laying the foundations for your dream well in advance.” It’s worked for me!