What it’s like to quit your day job

When you go from a corporate job to making your living as a writer, you also go from paychecks every other Friday to paydays that occur as infrequently as once or twice a year. (With luck, they are bigger checks than they were before.)

Here’s how it works:

First week after you get your check: “Let’s go out to dinner! Let’s go to Costco! And Trader Joes! And even Whole Foods!”

In the intervening weeks, you keep running the numbers. Will the money last? What will break (arm, toilet) that you didn’t budget for - and how will you pay for it? Will you get royalties? And if so, how much reserve against returns will there be?

Months later, the last week before you get your check: “Do you think that ravioli has been in the freezer for longer than five years? And if so, do you think it’s still edible?” “Sweetie, do you mind paying for your annual in dozens of quarters scavenged from the cars and the house?” “Wait - is that a Starbucks cup? How did you pay for that?”

What I've learned in the last four years: Money doesn't come that you expected. Expenses happen that you didn't plan for. And money that you didn't know you would get happens. And it all kind of washes out.

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The part about the ravioli made me laugh out loud. :)
lol. Thanks, but I've still got a freezer burnt chicken and 4-year-old hotdogs in my freezer, so I'm doin' fine. :)
I have been freelancing for so long, I would be shocked to get a weekly check! The ups and downs are a killer though--since I am presently in a down.
It makes the ups less thrilling when I have been wallowing in a down for a while.
I hate the scary part of the down, when you are looking at when the bills are due and when the money is coming in and they don't match at all!
I find the not-knowing what my income will be the most challenging. I have some idea of a base now, at least for a few years, because I have books sold (but not yet written) All I have to do (cough) is make my deadlines and satisfy my publisher with my work. But so much of the rest is a wait-and-see proposition.
With Teen starting college son, I hate not being able to look into the future with any certainty. I'm the kind of person who likes to plan several years out. I still try, but it's kind of a joke.