Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Artist's Way

[Notice to Readers: Unintentional as it was, this post could also be called "PASIC Conference, Part II" to Deb's post yesterday. However, if you keep reading, you will understand why it ties into The Artist's Way.]

I just returned from my first Published Authors Special Interest Chapter (PASIC), held every two years in New York City. Wow-oh-wow, what an experience. I'll never miss another one! My roomie Debra Mullins was a long-time New Jersey RWA member before moving to OC in 2007. She couldn't believe I hadn't been to PASIC, and insisted I join her. I'm so glad I did. Everyone seems to know Deb from her stints as conference coordinator for NJRW, which means editors and agents are always stopping to say hello.

Our other roommate was OCC's January speaker, Susan Meier, who had flown in from western Pennsylvania for her first-time PASIC, too. So we were the newbies, and Deb was more than happy to introduce us around. (Oh, and an added perk -- Deb knows the best places for Italian, NY Pizza, barbecue, and Irish food! )

Former OCC member Faye Hughes and an OCC guest speaker last year, Christie Craig were the conference coordinators, and did a fantastic job. You have got to read Christie's take on New York City...it's too funny.... "A Southern Gal Goes To New York."

What does all of this have to do with The Artist's Way, you might ask? Because, throughout the conference, I found myself thinking of this book, and the workshop that I attended a few months ago. I have been a published author for 20 years now, and it is easy to fall into the "What ifs" and "If Onlys" when there are long dry spells. I have been to many conferences where there is a sense of despair in the air around me because I was in a bad place, a place where I doubted my talent, my commitment . . . my "calling".

But I had to take my own path that did not include publishing year after year. And it's okay! Everyone is different. For me, I have known for a very long time that my life is about overcoming the demons (not literally) and following a deep need to explore and understand my spiritual Self. I realize this is not everyone's "thing" so I don't talk about it. But the Artist's Way does. Author Julia Cameron writes about the yearning to fulfill a sense of obligation to the Great Creator to be creative ourselves. A divine directive, as it were. If this creativity doesn't come out in one way, it comes out in another. And if it is stifled, we suffer from depression that can lead to physical health problems.

Julia writes on page 64: "Life is what we make of it. Whether we conceive of an inner god force or an other, outer God, doesn't matter. Relying on that force does."

She talks of how we discount answered prayers, calling them coincidences or just plain luck. "We call it anything but what it is -- the hand of God, or good, activated by our own hand when we act in behalf of our truest dreams, when we commit to our own soul."

And when we pursue that dream, amazing things begin to happen. Synchronicity. Serendipity. That's what has been happening to me in these past several months. Despite family emergencies that pull me away from writing, I have been kept on my path with the help of friends like Deb, and now Susan. I made new friends at PASIC. I'm renewed. Fired up. And in love with this career again.

One last thing before I close.... At PASIC I finally met a new author whose unpubbed entry I had judged a few years ago. I absolutely LOVED this story, and I am delighted that she sold it. It's an historical YA with a twist of magic called THE BEWITCHING SEASON by Marissa Doyle. The sequel will be out this Fall.

Until next month....

- Gillian Doyle
www.gilliandoyle.com