WMB Work Hard, Play Hard

"If I eould rtart over, lvould I choose a different career?,'
In each issue of WMB, our readers share with us" how they took....



The question l'm asked most is why did leave the law to write? lt's a valid one, given that it takes on average seven years to qualify as a solicitor. Indeed, many solicitor friends were surprised, when I announced that I was leaving my steady job, to study journalism. As far as they were concerned, this was just a whim. What they didn't know was that had been toying with the idea of becoming a full-time writer for some time. English was by far my favourite subject at school. I would rush to write an essay, while my Maths and Science homework was pushed to one side. I loved to write short stories and people always told me that should pursue my writing, But, like so many other teenagers, I had no idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. What wanted and needed at the time, was a general degree which would open some doors for me. So, I went on to study law at UCC, as it seemed like the answer at the time. I have to say that I enjoyed studying law. lt was varied and included modules in anything from familv and human rights law, to company and property law. At the end of my degree, I was refreshed and rejuvenated after a two-month work placement in Germany. This gave me the incentive to continue on to train as a solicitor. I landed a job with a general practice in Cork City

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and in the meantime, I attended the Law School in Dublin. lVuch to my disappointment, I found the course to be tedious and I counted the weeks to my graduation date. ln2OO2 and much to my reliel I was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors and spent several years working as a solicitor in the same practice. The Celtic Tiger was at its height and the years flew by in a blur of conveyancing, corporate and familv law.

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By Otive O,Brien

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Post and the thrill of seeing my very own byline fuelled me to

the book through my own continue. company. I had full creative control When I graduated at the end of over my book and I chose my own 2OO7, a work placement came up illustrator, designer and printer. in lndia and ljumped at the chance It has been a very busy few to travel. I started working as a months since the launch. Luckily, features writer with a newspaper the book has received a lot law, in Bangalore, South lndia. tt was of positive coverage and the felt burnt out and I was ready for my first trip out of Europe and the feedback from the readers, a change. both chaos and colour of lndia young and old is all good. was a I have major culture shock for me. written a second book, which will lnstead of travelling to work also feature perry.and is in aimed at back a coup6, j travelled in a rickshaw, children of a similar reading age, which was a huge change. Law was which is due for release at time of One time, I feli off a motorbike. publishing this issue me.,,of WMB. without a helmet, on my way The road from solicitor to writer to a story with the newspaper,s has been one big learning It was a scary decision to curve. make, photographer. Unlike lreland, it Having sard that. I don,t regret :s I had invested so much time and was very much a case of picking 'noney in my career, my legal career. as it was a But, I knew life yourself up off the ground and experience. But. l.m even :hat if I didn,t leave then, I more would hopping back on the bike to glad that I took the leap rever leave. I had dabbled and wrote with the complete the assignment. a children's book dea of studying journalism. So. in The experience pushed me 2006 I applied to study journalism to take a trip around the worjd at a couple of universities. Luckily, the following year. My grand tour was offered an interview at DCU, inciuded sights such as the Taj which was my first choice. Mahal, pearl Harbour, Ayers Rock, Thankfully, the college gave the Great Barrier Reef and the me a chance and I quit job my Canadian Rockies. 'ater that year. to start a Masters On my return to lreland at the in Journalism. I will never forget end of 2OOg, I studied creative ihe first few months of journalism writing at UCC and I thought that it school. I enjoyed my new_found was as good a time as any to start freedom and I knew that I had writing a book. I always intended made the right decision. Thrs to write a book, particularly one tor was confirmed, when I started an children. While I still worked as a 'nternship at the Sunday Business solicitor, I would write short stories

But, I always knew in the back cf my mind that Law was not quite right for me. jndeed, while was working in the courtroom, ,vould glance across at the court 'eporters and I envied their job, )espite the challenges of legal cractice, I was growing tired of it. After eight years of working in

Publishing in 2OO9 and pubtished

for my mother. who js a primary school teacher, She would read stories to her class to jnspire them. Writing for children gave me so much joy, but I never thought that I could turn it into a career. One day, while I was listening to a radio programme about polar bears, a story presented itself to me. I began to write the story of a kind-hearted polar bear cub, who just wants someone to play with. Meeting a baby seal called Sally, the two set off on an adventure, where perry discovers the true value of friendship and family. Several months latet my picture book perry the playful polar Bear was finished. I set up my own publishing company, Silver Angel

"I always knew in the of my mind that not guite right for