Writing Wednesday: The 7 Deadly Sins of Creative Writing


If you have been writing professionally for a while now, or at least attempting to, you’ve probably learned some writing lessons the hard way. Once you’ve seen your work marked up or rejected enough, the key dos and don’ts of writing become abundantly clear. But for those writers hoping to get started in the literary world, these errors may not seem so obvious.

Of course, for every writer there is always learning to be done and a little dose of cautious realism can be helpful for all of us.

So before you compile your next manuscript and send it off with hopes of publication, take a moment to ask yourself if you have committed any of these seven cardinal sins.

1) Pride

Hubris has been the downfall of people with the potential for greatness for years. From ancient Greek tragic figures, like King Midas, to modern leaders like General Custer and Adolf Hitler, this overconfidence has proven deadly time and again. In terms of writing, this blinding inability to realistically view your own strengths can cause you to stubbornly ignore any helpful advice or fail to follow the correct and appropriate pathways to reaching your audience. Shoot for the stars, sure, but also be respectful of the dues you must pay to get there and the people who can help you.

2) Greed

If you’re in it for the money you’re doing yourself a disservice. While we are all for believing in yourself and being optimistic, quitting your day job and assuming that your first novel is going to be that big break that gets you in the Oprah Book Club is a dangerous bet to make. Keep writing until you have something that you’re proud of, whether it succeeds financially or not, and you will find greater fulfillment than the “bestseller or bust” mentality brings.

3) Lust

Lust is all about surrendering to your basest desires and it’s easy to see how this could get your writing career off track. If you become too desirous of any one thing – another person, a personal achievement or anything that takes you away from writing – you are apt to lose the focus and discipline needed to turn your passion into a full-time job.