The imposition of ashes and writing have a lot in common.
Today, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a forty-day period called Lent. The faithful attend Churches for the imposition of ashes, representing mourning and repentance. They are required to fast, refrain from meat and celebratory rituals. It's a lot like writing.
Those who wear ashes in public, at work or play, get more than a few odd looks or sneers. They feel isolated, alone and wondering if they're just plain foolish for doing what they're doing.
It's a lot like writing. You give up the other stuff because you love to write. You go without food, water and sleep to get that last sentence just right. You don't celebrate until you get an article or book published--and that can take more than 40 days. You repent every submission and mourn every rejection letter.
And when you tell someone that you're a writer--you'll get the same odd looks, as if you had ashes on your forehead.