The Writer’s Seven Deadly Sins

1) Anger

A writer shall not get angry with her/him self when

  • The words don’t fit together like a 1000 word puzzle
  • The words come but the story remains elusive (or the other way around)
  • The words fit perfectly but the Editor says, “Not for us, thanks.”
  • When the reader reads a meaning into the words the writer did not intend
  • When the voice in the writer’s head is negative


Anger – Seven Deadly Sins

2) Envy

A writer shall not wear envy in his/her soul

  • When a peer has successes
  • When the story works itself into near perfection without the writer (think of those stories that almost channel through, as if the writer is only a medium for the fingers tapping the keys as the words appear on the page)
  • When the good mojo (following on from above) has evaporated and the hard work requires the butt affixed to the chair until the story is finished
  • When the character’s bliss, happiness, riches, lovers, gifts of prose, are greater than the writer’s own life – don’t kill ‘em off
  • When the sun is shining and the boys are a ‘whistling  (could be a lover, the imagination, a double latte at the corner bistro, or when the reading group is having lunch at the beach drinking pitchers of margaritas while you are stuck at home with the butt affixed to the chair finishing Chapter 7, don’t moan and howl, stick it out)


Envy – Seven Deadly Sins


3) Gluttony

A writer will not overindulge (step away from the chocolate kisses, hearty Merlot, credit card purchases)

  • When the words do not fit together like a 1000 word puzzle
  • When the words are stuck
  • When story sails in with a dream and out with the sunrise
  • When the editor says great job, rewrite due in one week
  • When story receives a bad review
  • When the voice in your writer’s head thrashes the work and berates the passion – step away from the chocolate kisses, don your Nike’s and walk it off


Gluttony – Seven Deadly Sins


4) Greed

A writer will not hunger, yearn, crave, or covet …

  • For what a peer has earned through merit, hours burned and invested, effort, sacrifice, or raw talent
  • Want without a willingness to sacrifice or working hard (broadly covers looking for the easy road)
  • Take without a willingness to give up or pay forward
  • Steal from another and claim ownership
  • A blind need and desire for the talent of another. Hurtful actions result in self recrimination – in the words of Willie S., be true to yourself and in my words trust in you


Greed – Seven Deadly Sins


5) Pride

A writer stands tall

  • He/she will accept help when needed and/or offered without self loathing
  • Be willing to make changes
  • Remind oneself that every writer faces stage fright at the start of a new story: what if I run out of story ideas or my words are flat on the page
  • Not accepting or confessing to the writer’s own self the concept of the story is weak, needs work, or should be abandoned for a while
  • Always have humility, even after Oprah calls, the book reaches the best seller list, and the book-movie deal inks a seven figure deal


Pride – Seven Deadly Sins


6. Sloth

Do not give way to the sultry languor that steals over the writer in you

  • A writer will not watch reruns of Law and Order (or Dancing with the Stars) all weekend long and later complain he/she doesn’t have enough time to finish the WIP
  • A writer will not litter his/her mind with doubt, negativity, wallow, nor sip more than one cup of pity me in one sitting. If you must roll around in your despair over a rejection then do it quickly and start afresh
  • A writer will not be dispassionate about the words. He/she will cut ten percent off the final draft, remove excess adverbs, delete ‘that’s’, eradicate to be verbs, and above all, remove concepts or favorite lines (some ideas don’t belong in a WIP and should be saved for a future WIP)
  • Setting a deadline and not meeting it, again and again, and again (commit and respect yourself)
  • Writing without a minimum commitment to the study of craft – Yes, Annie Lamont gave us permission to write a shitty first draft, but the second, third, and forth, require polish, which is craft.
  • Writer is too lazy to do the hard edit


Sloth – Seven Deadly Sins


7. Lust

A writer’s lust

  • If you must, lust for a perfect opening line, in lieu of it coming out right the first time be willing to write and rewrite, even if it takes a hundred tries
  • If you must, lust for more time to read, write, edit, create
  • If you must, lust for passion to continue writing, through life’s challenges, the white noise, the heartache, and the general drama of being human
  • If you must, lust for your voice to sing upon the page
  • If you must, lust for the strength to endure the long, long, road ahead. Regardless of where the writer is on his/her writing journey, the road is fraught with potholes and never ending challenges. The writer must keep fear and uncertainty at bay.


Lust – Seven Deadly Sins


What writing sins do you commit? 


>>Artwork provided by my talented daughter, Caitlin Elisabeth Granger<<

She is a sophomore at University of Art and Design, Santa Fe, New Mexico :

The Seven Deadly Sins for my Digital Photography final.  For my final for photography I decided to do a project that I have always wanted to, but never had the courage. It was outside of my comfort zone with photography and so I finally decided to push those boundaries. For my final, I chose the seven deadly sins. The seven deadly sins are anger, greed, sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, and pride. In the beginning, I had many different ideas on how I wanted to approach it. I started off just shooting with pride and when I was going through the images I realized I was interested in the story behind it as well as just the sin. I put the images side by side and decided maybe that’s what I would do, have two images side by side for each sin. The next sin I shot was lust and that’s when it hit me during the shoot that I wanted to do double exposures. Layering the two images would create a complete different story that would let you into a world that I wanted you to see and then what I didn’t want you to see, but was unavoidable. I then took the concept of the seven deadly sins by bringing a different detail in that they all had in common; they are all the same race. I did my research before I started this project and noticed that race is almost never brought up with the seven deadly sins, its like it was an untouchable and almost controversial subject. Because of this, it made me want to push the boundaries and this project is what I produced.

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

46 thoughts on “The Writer’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Hi Amy, both Caitlin and I thank you kindly. It as harder for her as it was a final, and for me, a challenge to think about what was truly a writer’s sin other than not writing!

  1. Jo Heroux

    Now that’s an ambitious take on the prompt! Tackling all seven and bringing in the writer’s sins. I would never have thought of doing that, but enjoyed reading your take on each.
    Lot’s of effort and hard work are apparent in this one. Well done.

    • Thanks, Jo. It was a gift really as I knew about the pictures. I asked Caitlin if I could use them, and the rest was just a matter of writing. Although, since I’ve written and posted I’ve had time to reconsider the list that is worth updating over time.

    • We’re human, Kelly, and easily tempted to go to the dark side, which is why we have to remind ourselves. It’s hard to be human somedays, truly, but I think we do a good job most of the time.

    • Thanks much, Andrea. A list that requires refinement over time. I know it was a project that pushed her, and was surprisingly, controversial.

    • Aw, Pam, we both send you hugs and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You would love my sweet girl, she’s a goodie.

  2. Brenda and Caitlin, kudos to you both, you creative ladies!
    To anger I’d add:
    When constructive criticism comes your way, bless and curse not. Bless those who took the time to read your shitty first draft. (This does not apply to you or me Brenda, of course not, but I have a writer friend who can’t take constructive criticism, even though it’s much needed 😉
    To envy I’d add:
    When someone’s platform is a Beverly Hills mansion compared to your humble cottage.
    Thank you ladies!
    Debra recently posted….Inch by InchMy Profile

    • Debra – wonderful additions, which I will add today. I think this is one of those lists that I can refine over time or as my mind wraps itself around the concept further. I found it challenging to write because in truth the only two sins we are guilty of is 1) not writing and 2) listing to the negative voice in our head. As the mom, I was more impressed with my daughter’s work, but that’s the mom in me.

  3. Interesting way to fill the prompt. As I don’t believe in the concept of sin I can’t say I have any, and as I simply write what comes, when it comes, the only thing I can think of to add is – I get depressed during periods of writer’s block, but that’s probably a common thing for all writers *smile*
    Gill recently posted….The Seven Deadlies – GBE2 promptMy Profile

    • Gill – and there is that, is there such a thing as a sin. Hard to say and not a topic I would ever debate since I often wonder the same thing, but I did find it interesting exploring the theme for the writers. I don’t give way to writer’s block. If I feel my head is empty of amazing prose, I write letters. Somewhere in the page I find something to explore further. Try it sometime.

    • Lalia, we all have our own interpretation of the concept, which is why reading is such a pleasure and why in writing there is not one way to write. This is a wonderful thing. Thanks much for stopping by.

    • Corinne, both Caitlin and I thank you kindly. I have this wonderful idea of working on a book of poetry and her images, a mother/daughter project. Now I have to convince her..

  4. Great! Awesome!

    Like most writers, I have indulged in all of these sins at one time or another. The key is to forgive myself, to get up, dust myself off, roll up my sleeves, and get back to work. More than anything, I must trust my path as a writer — to stay true to my vision, even when the work doesn’t get done as quickly as I would like.
    Nadine Feldman recently posted….Happy Independence Day!My Profile

    • Nadine, thanks kindly. We all have our issues. Writers like most creative types have some sort of demon to contend with at one time or another. You’re right though, the trick is to get over whatever it is and keep moving. My biggest challenge early on (glad this one is behind me) was trusting my voice. That was a huge one for me, not the issues are different, but not so big to overcome.

  5. This post kinda makes me want to cry. With relief. OMGoodness, writing is hard! And so many things get in the way. So, the words sometimes magically come and then disappear for you, too? You mean, I’m normal? Then I can continue. I can keep writing. Whew.
    And when Oprah calls, I promise I will stay humble. At least appear to:)

    • Kjersti-Yes, sweetie you are normal indeed (if writers were ever normal, probably a relative concept). I used to think I would remember the words, but I don’t, so I force myself to write them down or type them up as soon as they appear. Ah, Oprah, I’ve never watched her show and have no business thinking she will find me here, but I love the magic her name welds over the writer’s dreams.

  6. My sin, or flaw, is that I spend too much time writing, and other things end up falling by the wayside. So maybe its my inability to find balance. That’s it. That’s what I struggle with everyday!
    Monica recently posted….Puppy Fever!My Profile

    • Monica, it’s a curse or a blessing, this passion. I struggle with the same issue as well, as noted what I should be working on.. As for the housework, it’s not at the top of my list, but once a week I hoover up the dust bunnies

  7. What a powerful collaboration (though I realize Caitlin did it for school)! I will be reflecting on the words of this impressive credo coupled with profound photography.

    My writing sins? I am often far too concerned with the product rather than the process (I know, I know! Other people call that procrastination … I hear ya!).

    Great job, Women!
    Astra recently posted….The Math of Summer CampMy Profile

    • Astra, you made me smile. I think about the product after the writing. My biggest sin or problem is getting bogged down in what to write first. I am always writing, but stop and say, should I write a short story or do this or that, then later I think.. NO finish the new WIP. Makes me crazy. We both thank you kindly.

  8. Absolutely incredible work Brenda, I enjoyed every word I read about the writer’s 7 Deadly Sins, and the amazing photography accompanying them. Your creativity never ceases to blow me away! I fell into all the categories, but if I am honest gluttony is probably the worst. The strategically placed cookie jar is going to be moved… Many thanks for an awesome article.

    • K- it was an interesting write for me, one because I am on the fence about sin, but then for a writer, what are the only ‘sins’ – not writing and listening to the negative voice within. Yes? On the other hand, I was delighted my girl allowed me to use her images. I’d like to do it again.

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