I had a swarm of thoughts last night when I could not sleep at 2 a.m. I picked up Richard Rohr’s brilliant work, Everything Belongs, and read this line, “The calculating mind is the opposite of the contemplative mind. The first is thought by the system, the second by the Spirit.” This got me thinking about my potential career as a writer.
In this age of Twitter and Snapchat, a writer’s hope of financial survival, especially when starting out, is all about content creation, connecting, getting people’s attention, and fighting for that 5 seconds of screen time. That entire list is accomplished by our calculating mind. I would take Mr. Rohr’s argument one step farther.
In regards to writing, our calculating mind is not only the opposite of our contemplative mind, it is actively killing it.
When everything I write goes through the filter of content, branding, audience, and success, truth and creativity are often sacrificed.
My friend Len Woods recently referred to Frederick Buechner as one of the most underrated writers of his generation. And I agree! Buechner’s work has had a profound impact on my heart and mind. So, why is he underrated? I believe he is only underrated by our culture at large. It is not many people who want to journey into the difficult realm of deep contemplation. But among the contemplatives who know his work? He is usually on their very short list.
So, why am I writing, reading, thinking and connecting? For broad success? Admittedly, I would love it if my writing could help send my kids to college – I won’t lie; but beyond that, I want to write only what is true and real to me in hopes that it will reach the lives it is intended for. That might be a small number, but what a rich writing life it will be!
So, if someone says of me one day, “She is one of the underrated writers of her generation,” I cannot imagine a bigger compliment. That is a dream worth writing for.