Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Secret

Has anyone else noticed the cult-like phenomenon of “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne? It seems not a day goes by that I don’t hear someone who wants a new car say: “I’m putting it out to the universe!”, or when a strange coincidence happens: “That’s the Secret!” The concept of our thoughts being so powerful they actually create our reality is fascinating, not far from the paranormal aspects of my writing. According to the Secret, we are masters of our universe, creating our own reality; be it successful or not.

But how true is “The Secret”? When I try to actually conceptualize how the secret works – sending our wishes out to the universe, the universe responds – it seems like such a complex matrix of actions and behaviors, I just can’t quite wrap my head around it. Does the Secret mean that every person is part of this giant latticework of reality, and that me, one little person, can influence them all with the power of my thoughts? Sounds like a great paranormal romance idea, doesn’t it? My internal skeptic screams, “Nonsense!” What do you believe?

I do know there is power in the subconscious mind, working away like the shoemaker’s little elves in the background, beyond our awareness. When we go to bed at night and tell ourselves “I’m going to have a good day tomorrow”; usually it happens. Hypnosis is a perfect example of the power of the subconscious mind, how a suggestion is offered when we are in a relaxed state of being, resulting in changes we make in our conscious state.

So now you are wondering what this has to do with writing romance, aren’t you? Can we use the concepts from the “The Secret” in our writing? To become a writer there has to be some intrinsic belief that we can do it. Belief alone is powerful. It could be the difference between those who talk about writing a novel and those who go on to actually finish it. We also have to believe we will get published. My guess is that those who don’t ever go on to get published probably had some doubt that festered away like an insipid little virus in the back of their mind.

What about our muse? Our muse is kind of like our divine inspiration; but I do think it has to do with our belief that the ideas will come. If we allow writer’s block to exist, it will. If we expect our muse to step in at those difficult moments, it will. I have had way too many weird coincidences when it comes to my muse than I thought possible. Problems get solved in the strangest ways – something somebody says, a movie that gives me just the right idea, a flash of inspiration on a nature walk, and always the timing is eerily perfect. Is this “The Secret” at work?

I really do believe in the power of positive thinking; whether it is “The Secret”, I’m not sure. I believe that I will get published; it may be in two years or ten, but it will happen eventually. Luckily, I also have the perseverance of a camel; the persistence of a bull-dog and the patience of a monk, but most importantly, I have the belief that it will actually happen. I see it in my mind’s eye –the meeting where I sign a contract, the handshake (maybe these things don’t actually happen – I don’t know!), but most importantly, I can actually see my glossy hardcover book sitting on the shelf of a bookstore. It will happen, I don’t know when, but it will. I just know it.

Do you believe in “The Secret” when it comes to your writing? Do you truly believe you are a writer? Do you “just know” the ideas will come to you? Can you “see” that book in print? Maybe “The Secret” is just a placebo effect, and it’s really just our subconscious at work behind the scenes. But just like a placebo, if it works, that’s good enough for me.


Vince said...


Woody Allen has been quoted as saying that “90% of success is just showing up”. The belief that something will come of our efforts can keep us showing up. This belief is very important because in writing the reward is so very far away from the effort. If only reward and effort were closer together, the writing life would be a far easier.


JoanneBrothwell said...

Hi Vince,
I agree. Writing is definitely not about instant gratification.

Helena said...

You're so right, Joanne. It's the sef-fulfilling prophecy at work. Expect bad things, and that's probably what you'll get. So, of course, the reverse would also be true.

I also believe strongly in the power of the subconscious mind. You have obviously experienced the emergence of a thought at exactly the right moment, and I don't think that's a random occurrence.

So, whatever label is attached to it -- and I wasn't in on 'the secret' -- I believe there is some element of thought power out there. As for control, I'm not sure that any of us can claim to have the universe at our beck and call at every moment. But I do think there are times when the alignment is in our favour.

Spooky? No, I don't think so. Part of it is the power of positive thinking that you talked about; another part is concentration and focus, somewhat like hypnosis. We can make it work for our own benefit.

"Powerful" topic today, Joanne. And a good reminder that we should believe in ourselves and what we are working toward!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Excellent post, Joanne. I'm so glad you're an official Prairie Chick now. :)

As a Christian, what others may call 'the secret', I refer to as God's will. I mean if it's in His plan for me, it'll happen... well, as long as I keep following the Path and do my part, eh.

Yes, I believe I'll be published. I can't visualize the publisher or the book, but I can the publicity. LOL

I've been a writer since I wrote my first novella as a new teen. With my own money, I subscribed to Writer's Digest before graduating high school. I took my first Creative Writing course with a community colleg as a young adult. It's just taken me over 4 decades to realize this is what I should be doing with my God-given talent. And now that I'm doing my part, it's just a matter of time.

JoanneBrothwell said...

I can hardly believe you weren't in on "the secret"! You'll have to check it out.

JoanneBrothwell said...

I'm glad you brought up God's will, that's one thing that I think is at the heart of "the secret", but the author just doesn't come right out and say it that way. This is not a new concept for people of faith.

Janet said...

Great post, Joanne. I'm a firm believer in The Universe - and will send things out on a regular basis. But I do have a pessimistic streak and most likely cause mixed messages - thus the not having everything I've asked for over the past umpteen years :)

I love it, however, when everything lines up perfectly and you look back in awe at the serendipity! Our move to Nova Scotia was one such event - everything aligned and here we are, meant to be!

With a belief as strong as yours, Joanne, you'll be published many times over. Of course, it helps that your work is really good.

JoanneBrothwell said...

Just focus on your optimism and keep that serendipidy going! Thanks for the compliment.

Karyn Good said...

Wow, a person can sure loose all track of time on a snow day!

I'm a firm believer in the Universe providing, answering when opportunity knocks, and God' will. The one think I don't believe in is luck. I have to confess I don't know much about The Secret either.

Like you I believe that I am a writer and that I will be published. I believe it absolutely. Okay, I believe it most days :D

I can't wait to pick your novel up off the bookstore shelf!

JoanneBrothwell said...

Thanks Karen,
Let's hope my novel ends up on the bookshelf before the year 2040!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Joanne,
I'm with Helena in that I believe in self-fullfilling prophesies. If you believe you can finish your novel you will. If you believe your muse will show up to give you inspiration, she will. But if you think, you're never going to finish this book and it's going to be lousy anyway, that's likely what will happen. Writers only survive and thrive if they believe.

"I also have the perseverance of a camel; the persistence of a bull-dog and the patience of a monk". I think you have the exact qualities a writer needs! And I'm sure you'll be published before 2040.

Great blog Joanne.