Committing any of the seven deadly sins in life can do damage to your soul (or your pocketbook if you tend to think along different spiritual lines). Committing them in writing can put you in an author’s graveyard before your next lines are fresh on the page.
It’s not a writer’s style that can be sinned against. After all, each writer is unique. Even a writer whose voice doesn’t necessarily grab a certain audience can still be a hit among others. A writer can also change and learn as their writing progresses.
The seven deadly sins can become apparent during the actual process. They can keep a writer from doing any number of things: writing, editing, submitting. They can also make it hard for a would-be author to gain respect in any sort of venue. Even a good writer can fall victim to the sins and place themselves in a deadly rut. Watch out for the big seven in your writing so as not to fall prey to a fate worse than editing.
1.Greed – Those with a powerful hunger for money should put away their laptops right now. While there are bestselling novelists that have made a good living with their craft, there’s hundreds more waiting for the chance just to see their work in print. If you want a career that will bring in the big bucks, you may need to rethink your future in writing. Greed will get you nowhere. For the most part, it’s about the love of doing it.
2.Gluttony – For some writers, there really is too much of a good thing. Don’t hide away from the world by immersing yourself in your work. While you do need to put a good amount of time into it for both practice and production, writing night and day gets old and can keep you from acquiring the life experience that good writers need. Get out on weekends. Take vacations. Take a break every few hours to watch TV, read a book, or do something with friends. Everything is good in moderation. Writing is no exception.
3.Lust -Let’s consider ‘lust’ in this case to be the inability to disconnect yourself from what ‘turns you on.’ Every writer has their love, the genre that they enjoy, write well, and become attached to. However, never letting yourself take a breather from the same old thing is sure to put you in a writing rut. Let up on your normal form of writing and try something different. If you write a lot of fiction, do some research and write some articles. If your main focus is romance, flip it around and try something with a touch of terror. In the world of writing, it’s safe to spread the love, and you might find something you like even more.
4.Envy – It’s okay to admire someone else. Having an author who inspired you to write is a good thing since it got you into it in the first place. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery in the modeling world though, in the writing world, a unique voice is of much value. Just because you like the way someone else writes doesn’t mean that their style is for you. Don’t let that slight twinge of envy that they’ve been published and you haven’t lead you to give up your own style to mimic theirs. They’ve been done. You can be different.
5.Wrath – This sin can be found in all stages of writing. Creating, editing, submitting, and waiting can all bring out feelings of irritation and anger. While a little bit of fire can keep you going and make you work to make your writing better, too much can keep you from continuing with your process. Don’t let a temper over writer’s block or a lack of patience keep you from a job well done. Step back, take some time, and return to it when you’ve cooled off. A fresh start and an even temper will make the process easier.
6.Sloth – This one is a no-brainer. If you’re too lazy to put the time into writing in the first place, nothing’s going to come of it. While there’s too much of a good thing, a slothful writer won’t even come near to that level. Set time aside for writing, more if you’re going to make a career of it. Don’t slack when it comes to editing. Do your research. Push through the process no matter what stage you’re in. It might seem like a long road to results, but doing nothing will only get you nowhere fast.
7.Pride – Taking pride in hard work and a job well done is a good thing. Believing that your work is so good that it doesn’t need improvement is not. A writer has to learn humility. First drafts are rarely going to sell and rejection is inevitable. Someone unwilling to make big changes to their work when called for is going to find themself at a standstill. Put away your pride and take helpful hints from editors. Proof and change many times. Don’t let your ego get in the way of producing great work.
Keep your virtue as a writer. Avoid the seven deadly sins and stay on the path to writing success.