Monday, May 11, 2015

The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing

I recently ran across an article that included a list of the seven deadly sins
--wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. When I surveyed my own life in an effort to identify those sins in me, I came to a horrible realization.

I am guilty of all seven.

And to make it even worse (as if anything could be worse than being guilty of the seven sins that hurt God the most and impede my spiritual life), they're mostly due to...gasp!... my writing. This is not good.

How do I rid myself of these horrible characteristics and still continue to write? After all, I can't imagine not writing. I live and breathe writing. I dream writing. I wake up writing--well, at least my brain does. I'm just a hair above comatose most mornings, so I'm glad my brain feels well enough to carry on in my absence. On the other hand, I can't continue to sin against God. Identifying my inadequacies and correcting them seems to be the only way I can obliterate these sins from what I enjoy doing the most, i.e., playing with, tweaking, editing, and hopefully, publishing words. Many, many words.

Let's take them one at a time.

1.  Wrath--Anyone who uses a computer knows about wrath. Try to control it. Enough said.

2.  Greed--To my way of thinking, greed is the act of wanting more than you deserve or are rightfully accorded. Merriam-Webster defines greed as "a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed." Note the three defining words: selfish, excessive, and needed. I'm guilty of at least dreaming about a huge advance and lots of income from my hugely successful book. But... greed is greed, whether it's acted upon or just dreamed of.

3.  Sloth--Now here's one of which I am clearly guilty. I've been known to take sloth to newer and higher levels. Upper stratosphere levels. To Mars and back levels. I can find more excuses to put off sitting down and writing
--not Facebooking, not playing games or checking the latest stock averages (particularly useless, since I have no stocks) or checking my email every other second, but actually writing--than Stephen King has bestsellers. It's easy to call my sloth by other names: procrastination, writer's block, malaria. But slothfulness is not attractive  (have you ever seen a sloth? If not, see below.), nor is it productive. It's lazy.

See what I mean? This is not a handsome fellow by any stretch
of the imagination.
4.  Pride--Ah, pride. Even though I thank God every day for any bit of talent I have to write and know that it's only through His provision and His blessing that I am able to do so, I feel a bit--okay, a lot--of pride whenever I think about my books in print. Even though pride is a very human characteristic, and I don't think being proud of somebody else is sinful, it would behoove me to reel in the personal satisfaction and instead be more aware of those who have helped me in my journey to publication and to thank my Heavenly Father.

5. Lust--I don't write anything remotely lustful, so experiencing lust, even vicariously, isn't an issue with me. But lusting for success and a modicum of fame in my career is. I find that practicing patience helps tamp down my lustful side.

6.  Envy--Oh, but envy! Yes, I can relate to that. I know people who are successful at what they do most often worked very hard and earned everything they are accorded. Still it's natural to feel a little bit of "why can't that be me?" when we hear of other authors signing contracts or see pictures of them opening up their box of books, but dwelling on "why them and not me?" is envy, pure and simple.

7. Gluttony--This is me through and through. No one can devour more munchies than I can while writing. Afterwards, I'm not sure if I'm binge-writing or binge-eating. In any event, I find greed and gluttony to be first cousins. Greed is the "wanting" and gluttony is the "having." There's nothing wrong with wanting, and there's nothing wrong with having. But when taken to excess, neither one is attractive.

Not even on a sloth.

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