A Lenten practice for writers?

The sermon at church this week has had me wondering what I could choose to give up or take on for Lent. Which further made me wonder about what would be especially applicable to me to do as a writer.
I don’t think I am unique among writers in experiencing my life as a constant tug of war between creative energy and laziness, ego and embarrassment, reverence and irreverence.
Given that, I am wondering what temporary practice would be most useful for my writer soul? (Especially if, as our priest suggested, Lenten sacrifices or practices are designed less for self-improvement than for self-knowledge?)
So, I tried to come up with some ideas.
Stuff I could give up…
  • Some of the excessive time I spend on social media and digital distractions in general. The Freedom App looks very intriguing for that.
  • Checking sales reports or author rank. Surely once a week should be sufficient. But tell that to my fingers. They sometimes click on the KDP Report when I’m not even trying to go there.
  • Checking for reviews. This is especially pointless this far between books.
  • TV news. I get two newspapers and the Internet. I certainly don’t need as much TV news as I habitually watch (local news plus two national broadcasts each night, plus the Daily Show from the night before).
  • Eating while working. This is how my plans for a full healthy meal so often degenerate into little bits of this and that. Maybe I could find a way to play National Public Radio while cooking and address these last two bullet items at once.
 Stuff I could take on…
  • Daily exercise. I’m actually already working on that (and my daily word counts along with many fine writers in the Women Fiction Writer’s Association), so maybe it wouldn’t count for Lent.
  • More disciplined reading of fiction and professional books. I am drowning in excellent books I have not read, or have started and not finished. Less TV or social media would allow more time for that.

    This is just the pile under my bedside table. Let's not even mention the Kindle.

    This is just the pile under my bedside table. Let’s not even mention the Kindle.

  • Meditation on a more regular basis. Maybe. I am skeptical. I honestly suspect I get the same benefits during long walks, gardening, photography, and sitting around with a cat on my lap.
  • Not putting off all my business accounting until the last minute. Yeah, let’s not even pretend I’m going to do that.
  • More visiting with actual live human beings in the same room as me. Eh. I might just focus on one neighbor who needs this and not worry about my overall sociability. I am an introvert, after all.
  • Prayer. Bwa ha ha ha. The weakest link in my spiritual life by far. I have almost zero faith in prayer. But maybe, since that is my reaction, I should give it a try. A short prayer ideal for writers sitting down to draft? Hmm.
What about you, writers or non-writers? Do you have Lenten plans?
— Sandra Hutchison

7 thoughts on “A Lenten practice for writers?

  1. Hi Sandy,

    Your prayer challenge inspired me to dig. I found a writer’s prayer by St. Aquinas, but I don’t feel holy enough for it. But then I remembered that I tore this out of the bulletin one Sunday and put it by my computer. It has helped me write even when faced with a mountain of self-doubt. It has reminded me that writing, like prayer, is a humble discipline and a gift, and that pursuit of articulation is in itself a kind of holiness.

    Isaiah 50:4,5 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward.

    I am going to dig for it under the pile of papers and resurrect it for myself for Lent. Thanks!


    • Thanks, Brynna. I like it, but I don’t think I feel non-rebellious enough for this one. I think I’m going to stick with this verse from Psalm 90: “May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork.” I tore it out of the program one Sunday and stuck it on my bulletin board. Maybe I’ll tape it a little lower for Lent so I’ll actually pay attention to it every day. (Sunday bulletin tear-ers unite!)

  2. No Sunday bulletins or Lent for me…but I love this idea. I think I’ll take my inspiration from the Vulcans (because it’s logical), and spend some time pondering two phrases: “Live long and prosper”, and “Kaiidth” (“What is, is”).

    Sometimes I hide from things I know I’m going to have to face sooner or later (like cleaning the cabinet in the bedroom closet; or the outgrown online subscriptions to be canceled; or the Dreaded Homeschool Paperwork that never ends, because NY is Just Like That; or the Many Many Other Things…).

    I can’t promise I’ll live longer, but I’m reasonably sure I’ll feel more prosperous without those various weights of denial hanging over me.

    This week, I made the first steps in setting up a date to see a friend who lives just far enough away that I don’t see her as often as I’d like. My Accomplice deep cleaned the shelves in our kitchen, but organizing isn’t his thing, so I’ve been attending to that little by little. I’ve started the long-denied sorting of bins of random game pieces, pattern blocks, and puzzle detritus blended with an embarrassing amount of dust.

    Yes, I do see that none of those things are the ones I listed. I’m getting there, baby step fashion….

    So happy you shared this, and I saw it!

    May your Lent be filled with learning and growth, rebellious or otherwise. Oh, and many many words!

      • The clutter and dust are becoming more endangered. My Accomplice, whose midwinter vacation started yesterday, just told me he’d be ready to help me with some needed changes to my tiny study. So I’m now scurrying and shuffling to get as much as I can moved to surfaces that won’t be affected by the work, while still actually working in here. I have a standing desk on its way to me, and, if it gets here ahead of the commencement of the work, I’ll have a mobile base. Otherwise, it’s either the table (where I’m dealing with Other Clutter, and where I fold clothes), or my half of the bed. Fortunately, I should only be displaced for a few days.

        Did you get the link I sent about the Death in Yellowstone book? You might enjoy it, when you’ve got time.

        With your nudging, I’ve checked out ff.net, where I already had an account I’d forgotten about, and I should be posting my first two stories there within the next week or two. It’s actually the answer I’ve been looking for an upcoming blog challenge, so I thank you copiously for the excellent advice. =)

        May you stay dry and anchored today!

        • Got the link, thank you, but my TBR pile is so high I’ll just remember to come back to it if I need it. I’ll have to ask my friend if that’s what she was reading.

        • Oh, it’s fine with me if you never get around to reading it. My TBR pile could take me several lifetimes, and I’m a fairly fast reader. But not sending you a link to something that you might enjoy – now that would bother me. I could be a little strange that way, but there it is.

          When we lived in YNP, I was amazed at how many people got way too close to the wildlife. Wouldn’t go near a bull in a pasture, but willing to walk up to a one-half ton bison bull with cows and calves to protect….

          I think some folks think the wildlife was put there as an attraction.