I knew this day would come, the day I looked back and noticed that I haven't been writing nearly as many blog posts as I promised I would. It's not just blog posts either. It's happened to my journal entries, and every other form of creative writing I used to love so much.
Noticing this problem, I search all around for inspiration. Then it hits me like the hard advice of your favorite teacher: Writing cannot rely on inspiration. A writer has to get into a routine, then inspiration comes. The muses visit those who patiently and faithfully wait for them. Beauty and creativity are found in the design of things, design is found in the order of things, and we cannot find that order unless there is some order to our own lives. There is a vital spiritual dimension to inspiration that requires commitment.
The reward for writing goes deeper than that though. It is truly therapeutic to write. Writing calms and slows down your thought process to a more manageable pace. It makes you think more critically about what you're thinking. Each thought of a writer goes from the mind, through the heart, down the veins of his arm, and into his hand. Then finally, once it has gone through this thorough purgation, it enters the world through some other man-made creation -- a pen and paper or a computer, neither of which took as much careful reflection to create -- then the writer purges his thought yet again by reading and rereading what he wrote.
If only we gave as much care to our words in everyday conversation, maybe then we wouldn't be so misunderstood. If only we gave as much thought to our actions, maybe then we wouldn't have to live with so much regret. These virtues of patience and self-examination are the qualities that originally attracted me to writing. It's not so much the art itself that I love, but the way it directs me in my formation of character. Each word is a representative of the wisdom and history that precedes me. Every sentence is a step toward either the road to perdition or the Way to heaven. To write is to examine one's conscience. As Lent approaches, I therefore cannot think of a more practical way to examine my own conscience than by writing a blog post from the heart every day.
If there's anyone who would like to join me in this Lenten challenge, we would be glad to post what you write on our blog. These Lenten posts don't need to be long, and you don't have to give us one every day. The posts just need to reflect some valuable lesson God taught you during your Lenten journey. I understand our Lenten commitments ought to be personal, but there's no reason why we can't share the helpful insights that God gives us as we strive to draw closer to him during this holy season.