Practices From the Inside Out: A Writing Practice for Lent

Practices From the Inside Out: A Writing Practice for Lent February 1, 2022

Practices From the Inside Out: A Writing Practice for Lent

A Writing Practice for Lent

Lent is a liturgical season which, for many of us, turns our attention to spiritual practices. We try to give something up or we choose to begin practicing something new. This year I would like us to think about building a writing practice.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is March 2 this year. Our liturgical calendar gives us a few weeks to reflect and consider what practice is right for us this year.

Many of us see spiritual practices as ways for us to behave. We hope we can behave our way into stronger spiritual life. Some of us identify behaviors we want to set aside, like smoking or swearing or eating chocolate. Others of us decide we would like to develop new spiritual practices like praying the hours or reading classic books.

I believe Lent this year is a significant opportunity to develop a writing practice.

Some of us have spent much of the last couple of years on our own and have had plenty of time for contemplation. We have faced new challenges and struggles with time to reflect. Some of us have been working harder than ever these last two years and need a way to pull our thoughts and experiences together.

A writing practice for Lent can help us take the time we need to organize our thinking and express ourselves.

This Lent can show us how to take the time we need to put our insights and questions down on paper. The writing itself will help us understand ourselves better. Having things written down gives us the opportunity to read and reflect on them in days to come.

Starting a Writing Practice for Lent

We do not need to motivate ourselves or organize this new writing practice on our own. I have a friend who is an excellent writer and has helped me develop a writing practice.

Robin Rauzi is a friend I know through church. Robin has a Bachelor’s degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California and a Master’s in journalism from Ohio University. She has worked as an editor at the Los Angeles Times and edits commentary for RAND, a nonprofit think tank.

A few years ago Robin was inspired to add something to her life instead of giving something up for Lent. She began a writing practice for Lent, writing on a blog each day and posting it on social media. Her practice that year transformed the way she wrote and how she understands writing.

The next year, after some time in mediation and contemplation, Robin became convinced she should create a writing program based on what she had learned about Lent. She began with a handful of people she knew, including me, and created a writing practice bootcamp to help people start their own practices. Robin designed it to have some structure with daily writing prompts and multiple motivators to help people keep going.

A few years ago Robin created a version of her bootcamp specifically for Lent called 40 Days + 40 Writes. She uses the revised daily lectionary as the source for her writing prompts. The prompts themselves are not specifically Biblical and anyone can write from them. Robin began offering 40 Days + 40 Writes people at our church, and to previous participants. I also participated in 40 Days + 40 Writes. This Lent she is reaching out to other congregations.

It is a helpful way to begin a writing practice.

Beginning a Writing Practice This Lent

I have participated in Robin’s program twice, and have learned practical lessons about writing as a spiritual practice.

As with all disciplines, there can be a tension between having something to write about and getting something written. Particularly when we are writing about spiritual life, it can be a challenge to express sacred stillness with words.

Lent is a season of reflection and radically examining ourselves. A writing practice in Lent can be an excellent way to spend tie each day going beneath the surface of ourselves and putting our truths into words. It is an opportunity for us to take time to pay attention to what we often miss. We listen to what stillness has to tell us and we can share it with other people.

This year’s 40 Days + 40 Writes will begin on Ash Wednesday, March 2, and continue through Lent.

Robin’s online writing prompts begin with texts fro the lectionary, and she creatively heads off in intriguing directions. The free seven-week writing journey is a way to consider how we are becoming who we are and the values and behaviors which might steer us forward.

For more information or to register, click here:

We have the potential to change how we experience and understand Lent, and ourselves, and we can become better writers.

A Contemplative Writing Practice

This year for Lent, we have the opportunity to take our time, to pay attention, to listen to sacred stillness.

We can sit still, take a some deep breaths, and listen to what life has to tell us. As we listen, we can practice writing down what we hear and remembering what we are told.

This practice is not about meeting goals or accomplishing tasks. We do not have anyone leaning over our shoulders or breathing down our necks, weighing us down with expectations.

The sacred stillness all around us and within us saturates our world. We soak in its healing and refreshing warmth.

As we sit and listen we begin to realize, one word and sentence at a time, we have something to say.

A contemplative writing practice is a journey we take one word at a time.

Lent is a season of contemplation and listening, recognizing the stories we live and the selves we know.

We begin to listen and the distractions which draw our attention away begin to lose their hold on us.

The words we seek are within us.

How will we begin a new writing practice for Lent this year?

Where will our writing practice take us today?

[Image by mrsdkrebs]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s website is and his email address is

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