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This past week I have been doing a lot of reflecting as the time for me to go back to work was approaching after the long summer holiday and so, this post is the result of some of those reflections, if you don’t mind indulging me, just this once 😉

Like a lot of writing people I know, it would be a dream come true for me to be able to give up my day job so that I could spend all my time writing. The trouble is that the writing would have to provide me with the income that the day job does and as I haven’t yet published anything, this leaves me with a bit of a problem for the time being 😉 I’m sure that there are other people out there reading this blog who would also like to give up their day job so that they could spend all their time doing something they really love and getting paid for it too. Unfortunately, life takes over and the reality is that for most of us, this isn’t an easy option.

So how do you make your dreams a reality? Can you even do that? Well, this time last year, I took what I now realise was the first step on that path. After a lot of discussion with my husband, we decided that we could afford for me to switch to part-time working in my job. This was partly a financial decision for obvious reasons but it was also about our own children who we felt were suffering because we were both out working full-time. I had been lucky enough to stay at home with them when they were young and had only gone back to working full-time in 2009. Soon though, I was strung out, feeling like I was doing everything badly because I just didn’t have enough time to do anything well. Going part-time has definitely improved my stress levels and to a much greater extent than I had thought possible.

However, in the last week or so, I have felt very low about what the next year might bring for me, which undoubtedly has a lot to do with the fact that I’m going to be turning 50. It’s a time in your life when you start to wonder whether this is it, whether you’re just going to be slogging away until retirement (whenever that is these days) and whether you will have nothing to show for your life’s achievements. It’s also because I’ve been visiting universities with my daughter and helping her find the path to her dreams. We’ve always taught our children that you can reinvent yourself as many times as you like in life, that your path is not cast in stone because of decisions you make when you’re 18 so you should choose the path that you believe will make you happy at that time but if you change your mind later, it’s okay. Your dreams don’t have an expiry date and they can, and will, change as you go through your life.

I know that I have so much to be thankful for in my life and also that I will have plenty to show for it at the end in personal terms. But there is also your own personal desire to make a success of what you choose to do for your living and to enjoy doing it. So now it’s time for me to take the next step on my path, I think. I am going to do what I have always done when I reach these points in my life: I’m going to train to do something else, something I can do from home that will be a good back-up as a business to do along side the writing. I had planned to do this training last year but for some reason, I talked myself out of it so this time, I’m going to get on with it and take that next step. I believe that the more options you have, the better able you will be to make your dream a reality and for me, that has always started with learning. By taking that decision, I feel so much better because now I have a plan. I know I want to publish my first book next year and everything is on target for that, I hope, so I can turn my attention to learning something else for a while and see what that leads me to. This is a small step perhaps but that’s how you bring about change in my view: one small step at a time.

If I can share only one piece of advice from my self-indulgent reflections, it is simply that every major change in life has to start with a small step and eventually, all those steps add up until you find that you’ve actually made a great big leap one day. This is only what I have experienced of course, your view may be different to mine and if it is, I’d love you to leave me a comment below. In the meantime, I wish you luck with your chosen path and encourage you to take whatever small step you need to towards making your dream come true.


19 Comments on Some Thoughts on How to Make Your Dreams a Reality

  1. This is intriguing, inspirational and brave. I’m wondering what training you are choosing, I’m admiring your strategy and I’m a little envious of your courage. Well done though.

    • Thank you, Ros, you’re such a good friend 🙂 I was thinking of doing a course in proofreading with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. I think my teaching background will be good experience and I believe that there will be a demand out there but only time will tell on that front. I can be a bit devil-may-care at times but my husband is very good at pulling me back when I feel like that 😉 Anyway, I’m going to give it a try and see how it goes.

  2. Keep the faith and keep taking those small steps towards your goal. There are a lot of us on that same journey so we feel you. I don’t know much about what you’re working on or what your exact goals are (I just found your blog) but I can say that you obviously have a talent with the written word so… stay strong. You got this.

    • Thank you, DeAnna, that’s a lovely message and one I appreciate very much 🙂 It’s definitely the staying strong bit that’s the hardest isn’t it but we’re all doing our best. I’m glad you found my blog, I hope you’ll find it useful. I’ll be popping over to have a look at yours too 🙂

  3. I like your sentiment that dreams don’t have an expiry date. It’s what I tell my children. And like you I am thinking of my own future and am even thinking of training in proof reading! My decision depends on other things that I’m waiting on though. I wish you all the best with it. We should always follow our dreams.

    • We can do it together, Rebecca! I suspect you’re a bit younger than me but I do believe that our dreams keep us going (or at least they should) all the way through our lives. I wish you the best with yours too. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂

  4. What a thought-provoking post. I will say that I don’t think you need to feel low about what you have been achieving up to 50. You’ve provided me with lots of inspiration and demonstrated quite respectably how to follow one’s dream – if that dream is writing 😉
    I’m really looking forward to being able to shout from the rooftops about your books once it’s published as I know it’s going to be fantastic. You’ve worked hard and deserve a lot of success for the hours you’ve put in. As for the new training – we all need some things to challenge us from time to time and I think that you’re in the right place to be able to tackle that alongside your novel now.
    I’ll officially wish you luck here, but you know I’ll be around to cheer you on when you need it. 50 is a great age to be – lots to look forward to and, as you say, the opportunity to reinvent oneself if one wishes. 😉
    Take Care, Cat x

    • Goodness, I can’t believe the reaction to this post! It came at the end of a difficult few days/weeks and yet seems to have inspired so many people. Thank you so much for your encouragement, I can’t believe how far we’ve come together and it makes my heart soar to know that we will keep spurring each other on. Thanks so much for being my good friend and for cheering me (and my little book) on. It means a lot to me 🙂

  5. Julie, I’m happy for you! As one writer who teaches to another, I get that feeling of “low” as the writing time dwindles and the teaching time ramps up. I think this is my last semester as I am a bit older than you are, but let me just say that I didn’t publish my first book until I was 52 and I have pub bed 8 books now (I’m 59) so I gotta say, you’re 50s are a great time to get published:) All the best with your editing from home work, too.

    • Cindy, you have no idea how much your comment cheers me up! It’s so nice to hear of your success and I hope you’re right about my 50s being as good as yours 🙂 Thanks so much for your good wishes.

  6. Great post Julie and I echo what everyone else says. One of my fellow Write Romantics has a favourite saying which I love too: “She believed she could. So she did.” We have to believe that the publishing deal (or indie route) will work for us but we also have to be realistic because, even if the money does come rolling in, it won’t come in immediately (plus most of us don’t do it for the money anyway). However, bills still need to be paid. It’s great to have a back-up plan and this is a great one that sits alongside writing and will continue to hone your skills. Good luck. I look forward to hearing how you get on.
    Jessica xx

    • Thanks for your reply, Jessica. I love that saying too and it’s so lovely to hear about people making it come true 🙂 I hope this is a good plan for me but again, it has to be done in small steps so yesterday, I became a member of the SfEP and as soon as that’s confirmed, I’ll be booking my first course! It feels exciting to be making it happen 🙂

  7. Stick with your dream, Julie! You’re a mere baby at 49… My first book has just been published at the grand old age of 58! Mind you, I regret not doing this years ago. And, to be honest, getting published is no guarantee of earning enough to give up the day job so I applaud you for following your heart and exploring other options. Your blogs are always interesting and inspiring and I’ve no doubt your book, which I think you intend to self publish, will be fantastic!

    • Oh, Janice, I cannot believe you are 58! I do feel really inspired by you to keep going because you’ve done it and what’s more, you’ve written a bloody great book 🙂 I feel sure that you will be able to make a living writing because you are a storyteller, through and through.
      Maybe I’m a bit idealistic still (at my age!) but you can only try and hope for the best. Thanks for your kind words about my blog. I am consumed with doubts about my book (like everyone else, I’m sure) but again, you can only learn by trying. Thank you so much for cheering me up with your kind words xx

    • Thank you! I’m glad you’ve found it useful 🙂 Even better if you’ve found it inspiring. So glad we ‘met’ and I’m looking forward to meeting in RL 😉

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