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Written by JJ Barnes


I interviewed author and actor Dayo Olatokun about his life, what inspires him, and the work that went into his new book, P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Hello, and thanks for having me!

Dayo Olatokun, author of P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love, interview on The Table Read

My name is Dayo and I’m a Nigerian born American actor who loves to inspire people to live what they love! I’ve been an actor for 15 years and it is the center of all my passions. Exploring this passion has opened the doors for me to support individuals whom I cross paths with to pursue their dreams as well.

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I believe it was 2017 or 2018 when I was facilitating one of my P.I.P.E. Dreams workshops at Far Rockaway High School. The English teacher whose class I was graced to facilitate, came to me afterwards and told me I should make this curriculum into a book. Although I didn’t act on it right away, the idea stuck with me until I ultimately began the writing process in 2019.

When did you take a step to start writing?

It was summer 2019 when I was driving uber one afternoon (one of my several jobs at the time). A request came in on the app to pick up a new passenger. As I was on my way to pick up the passenger, I had an idea to implement for my P.I.P.E. Dreams curriculum.

Unfortunately, because I was driving, and now have a passenger in the car, I was unable to take notes of the streams of thought that came so rapidly within a matter of minutes. I tried my best to remember as much as possible, but by the time I completed the trip with the passenger, I’d forgotten up to 90% of the ideas. I was LIVID to say the least.

I turned the Uber app off, pulled over into a parking lot, and began to remember the words of the English teacher and so many others that have encouraged me to write a book on this curriculum for years. I said to myself that if I actually write the book then the information would always be available whether I’m facilitating the workshop or not.

I then called my friend Robin Devonish, who is notorious for helping authors self publish their material, and told her what was going through my mind. She encouraged me to start the writing process and supported me all the way through publishing.

Dayo Olatokun, author of P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love, interview on The Table Read

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

From idea to release, I’d say 3 years.

What made you want to write P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love?

It was the moment while driving uber where I wasn’t able to write down my notes for the next workshop. That pushed me to write the book so that the message can always be available whether I’m facilitating or not.

I started this work primarily to give the youth an advantage that I never had. They could create a literal pipeline to their goals and dreams. I wanted people to have a guide on how to get where they want to go.

Pretty much this system that I have created, like any other system at an organization, is a framework for HOW to make their dreams a reality!

What were your biggest challenges with writing P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love?

Life! I had so many moments of frustration writing certain sub-topics to my chapters. I initially thought it was because I wasn’t concentrating enough or putting enough time into writing. The truth is, some of those topics I just hadn’t experienced yet. I only had a heading or name for it.

I wrote a good portion of the book immediately after experiencing something in real time. I would then write the experience and the revelation, or perspective, that came with it.

What was your research process for P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love?

There wasn’t much research. This was a memoir; my life experiences and wisdom passed on to me by mentors contributed to the writing process.

How did you plan the structure of P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love?

I’ve been teaching on four principles at my workshops since 2014: Punctuality, Integrity, Purpose, and Excellence. Those became the four pillars of the book. As I sat with each principle, the sub-topics were written from past and present experiences in relation to each one. The sub-topics didn’t always come in chronological order. As a matter of fact, the order varied through most of the writing process.

Dayo Olatokun, author of P.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love, interview on The Table Read

Did you get support withP.I.P.E. Dreams: Principles to Live What You Love need?

Yes. My close friend Robin Devonish has been assisting authors for years to self publish, so she helped me with the editing once I was done writing.

The #1 Writing Tool

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

Simplicity is an overlooked art. Keep your writing as true to your experiences as humanly possible. Your relatability is what’s going to draw YOUR audience.

Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

The journey to self-discovery continues! I’m still experiencing things that I am figuring how to put into book format.

And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

Absolutely! To see my journey printed in black and white not only showed me how far I’ve come, and progress I’ve made as a human being, but how much inspiration I’m able to provide both students and adults fighting to beat the status quo and pursuing a career doing what they love.

Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:

Book – www.dayoolatokun.com
IG, Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube – @dayoolatokun | @gpaincorporated

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