posted on July 19, 2016 by Joanne Rock

Follow Your Bliss

By Joanne Rock

choiceIf follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. – Joseph Campbell

I re-read these words recently before attending this year’s Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego last week. I was thinking about how lucky I’ve been to write romance and be a part of the romance community for twenty years— fifteen of them as a published author. And I *am* lucky. I know many talented writers who haven’t sold their first book yet—not because they aren’t gifted writers, but simply because the stars haven’t aligned quite right for them yet. Sometimes you need some lucky breaks to make good things happen in a career.

But all notions of luck aside… it occurred to me last week that I was also immersed in a field that nourishes me creatively because I made a decision to follow my bliss in Joseph Campbell terms. I was very influenced by The Power of Myth and embraced Campbell’s work on a lot of levels, personally and professionally. After graduating with a degree that I thought would put me on the right track for a good job, I realized I hadn’t followed my bliss and I wondered why not? I’d taken a safe route, choosing to study something I thought I’d be good at rather than something I was most passionate about.

I went back to school to study Literature, knowing it was a murkier path with a less hopeful financial outlook. But I believed in the Campbell idea that if I took the track I really craved, doors would open for me. The right people would appear in my path. It took some time, but that’s exactly what happened.

Even before the Internet connected our community so thoroughly, I was able to find like-minded friends. I met published authors at RWA chapter meetings who gave me advice and shared their journey to publication with me. I met ambitious unpublished authors who shared my goals. I met Catherine Mann, my gifted wsjulyprizecritique partner, who matched my enthusiasm and raised the stakes by challenging me to submit more and make my work better. More than any other sign, the arrival of Cathy in my life was a sign that I was moving in the right direction. The momentum our friendship generated was palpable. We studied harder together, read for one another constantly, woke up at night with ideas for each other’s manuscripts.

That boundless energy has channeled in new directions since then. As each of us found our way as published authors, we settled into a happy critiquing relationship and brainstorming partnership, helping one another to refill the creative well between books. I am following my bliss and every year uncovers a new challenge and a new reward that make my journey more meaningful. I try to share what I know with writers who are as hungry as I once was to share my stories with the world. Their fresh energy feeds mine and helps me to see how far I’ve come on this continually fascinating path.

If you haven’t been following your bliss lately… I highly recommend it.

***Let’s spread some optimism today! Share with me your favorite inspirational quote and one random poster will win a prize package of two books from the classics archive—a special edition of The Pleasure Trip, plus Riding the Storm, from my Murphy Brothers series in Harlequin Blaze. Here’s one of my fav quotes- “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt… what words lift you up?

Joanne Rock

Joanne Rock

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy books currently writes sexy contemporary stories for Harlequin Desire and small town romance for Harlequin Superromance. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly—love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with fellow author and friend Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

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4 thoughts on “Follow Your Bliss”

  1. I love the quotation “choose joy”. It’s short and simple, but it really helps me remember to calm down and find a way to feel that things aren’t really so bad on those overwhelming days.

  2. Love is never having to say you’re sorry! It was from the movie ,” Love Story” that Doug an I went together on our very first date back in 1972 and seen.

  3. Candace Woods says:

    “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear. The brave may not l live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” – Meg Cabot
    Yes, it is from a Disney movie (The Princess Diaries); but in my opinion, that makes it that much better. Being more of an introvert, I have a hard time finding the courage to say and/or do things. I try to remember this quote and dig deep to find the courage within myself I need.

  4. Agatha Townsend says:

    Always remember : “To Be Or NOT To Be” also” A horse, a horse my kingdom for a horse’:

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