Experian are spending 100 days following the fortunes of three people with hopes of achieving their dreams this year. First we met singer-songwriter Emma Ballantine, now we’d like to introduce Alan O’Sullivan.
Alan gave up his job to pursue his lifelong dream of writing his first novel, and this is his story. I spoke to him to find out more about his 100 days challenge and what’s been the driving force behind it.
Tell us about your big dream, Alan. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to write a book. I even made an abortive attempt when I was 17, but it would have taken ages, and I was young and wanted to go out and go to university…
“The driving force is to fulfil a childhood dream I’d been thinking about for ages, that I’d been putting off once I got immersed in the rat race. I was writing in my spare time, and decided to pop off a few chapters and an outline to an agent. They got back a year later saying they really liked it and would try and get a publisher.”
Were you worried about giving up work to do it? “Once I thought about it seriously, much as I loved my job I couldn’t turn back. It’s definitely now or never. The book is about the working life of a religious affairs journalist, coming to terms with conflicting views on the world around him. A lot of it is based on my own background.”
What’s your year-end goal? “Well, I write a minimum of 2000 words a day – on a good day it’ll be twice as much. I’d like to have at least the first draft done , hopefully a usable second draft – I’d be disappointed if I haven’t done two – and then refine it in January to send to the publisher.
“When I read a novel I think about how it’s going to last, so maybe I’d like to write a novel for the ages, that’ll be on somebody’s bookshelf or database years from now.”
What’s it told you about yourself? That after 15 years in the adult workplace I’d got good at certain things, but maybe some other things died a death, like the ability to think introspectively and describe things in a more creative or abstract sense. It had almost decreased since I was a kid, and we shouldn’t let those things fall away – we shouldn’t stop dreaming.”