The Seven (Not So) Deadly Sins of Writers

Originally posted on February 9, 2011 at 3:25 PM

In descending order of least deadly to most deadly, the seven deadly sins of those who possess the oats to calleth themselves “writers.”

7. Pride

“She holdeth her head higher than the sludge around her, for she art but vain.” –Shakesmear*

Let’s face it: pride is the least of the sins, because quite frankly, all writers have this. What besides a desperate belief that your ideas are worthy would possess someone to write them down? Carry on. As you were.

6. Gluttony

“He eateth like a pig.” –Shakesmear

The writer faces not the avarice of the stomach, but the avarice of the ego. We are all gluttons for an audience (read attention), and I doubt that we shall die from it.

5. Lechery

“And in the womb a fiery tug begins, like the unraveling of an endless spool of yarn.” –Shakesmear

Ah, the lust for words. This sin is fine in moderation – nay, healthy even – when a writer delves into books and dictionaries in quest for the most perfect, the most beautiful of words. But let this sin rule your life, and you’ll soon find yourself the most haughty of creatures, heaping the sexiest of words into your work until you become the admired, the feared, the dreaded… pompous jackass.

4. Avarice

“But lo! The possessions of a worldly king are not enough. Only little minds seek more.” –Shakesmear

The lowest of creatures at the writers’ table. This covetous being demands critiques and suggestions and services, but gives nothing in return. A sister devil includes the writer unwilling to help those around her with hits, plugs, and promotion out of the idea that more for thou art less for me.

3. Wrath

“She rages! She storms! She tremors! She poops.” –Shakesmear

The rageful writer is the only speck of good in a sea of wrong. Rejections come from idiotic agents and editors, critiques are spoken by blasted fools, and every rolling thought, like vomit, gets spewed onto the public blog in all its fury.

2. Envy

“For the wicked woman looks at another’s things and says not, ‘How lovely,’ but, ‘I want that.’” –Shakesmear

The bane of any writing community, the envious artist slinks around like a snake, pretending to be a friendly admirer but secretly wishing ill and striking when the time is right. Watch your back (and your ankles); this sinner will rejoice at all of your failures.

1. Sloth

“Indeed, I layeth me down and took a nap.” –Shakesmear

Six fatal sins have preceded us, but sloth is the deadliest of all. For what writer has the right to call himself a writer if he doth not write? Only the idlest of us pretends the writer’s lifestyle but fails to fulfill the requirements of the word.

For shame, sinners, on your knees then!

It’s okay. Even if you suffer from all of these deadly sins, you’ll probably make it. It’s not too late to repent. In that light, I’d like to leave you with this inspirational quote: “You can do it; put your back into it.” –Ice Cube


*Shakesmear is entirely made up; I am Shakesmear. He is simply a convenient way to create quotes that exactly suit my purposes (and to avoid looking up actual quotes). Clever, huh?

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