THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF WRITING –
And how to redeem yourself
THE SIN OF ENVY – Your friend lands a publishing contract, and you don’t. She wins awards for her latest novel, and you don’t. Your friend signs with an agent and a traditional publisher with a large advance and marketing budget while you sign with an ePublisher with no advances and no marketing budget other than the cash lining your pockets. We want to be happy for them but the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head leaving us with feelings of resentment, inferiority and insecurity.
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH ACCEPTANCE – Patience is a virtue. You have to believe with hard work and dedication your time will come. However, I never claimed to be virtuous so in the meantime, nurture your friendship. Be genuine and sincere with your congratulations. With any luck, you’ll be next one to sign a lucrative contract.
THE SIN OF PRIDE – You did it! You signed on the dotted line to have your book published. You won several awards for your debut novel and you have an agent, a large advance and marketing budget. You start believing you’ve written the next Great American Novel. All hail the wise literary expert. It’s easy to fall into the role of a pompous, self-righteous know-it-all.
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH HUMILITY – Keep your success in perspective. Keep in mind there are authors that are less/more/and just as talented as you. To be genuinely humble, you teeter between self-esteem and conceit and you don’t want to gain a reputation for being a smug, self-important author. It’s bad PR.
THE SIN OF GREED – You negotiate for a larger percentage for royalties; a larger advance; a larger marketing budget; more creative say for the title and cover art; more rights – more, more, more! We all want to receive our fair due but when is enough, enough? In the course of negotiation for more, you could talk yourself right out of a contract.
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH GENEROSITY – Be realistic in your negotiations. Be willing to give and take. If you’d like a specific title or particular artwork for your book, offer some ideas for promotion and marketing associated with the title and cover you’d prefer. It’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate your time for more money.
THE SIN OF SLOTH – The perils of procrastination and in our lethargy, we waste even more time by creating our own excuses for not writing. And we have to ask, does our sloth cause writer’s block or is writer’s block the reason for our laziness?
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH PERSISTENCE – Writers write – every day, on holidays, when they’re sick, even when they just don’t feel like it. It is at these times we need to push ourselves to achieve our writing goals. Keep some inspirational and motivational clips near your work area for when you need a nudge or inspiration.
THE SIN OF ANGER – We get angry when we receive rejection letters, when our editors want revision after revision after rewrite on our book. We get angry at less than positive reviews and less than expected royalties. Anger causes frustration and again, we have to ask does frustration cause writer’s block or vice-versa. It is important to keep emotions in check to prevent creating our own problems.
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH SERENITY – Just keep telling yourself – “Grant me the Serenity to accept things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference”. Let it go. Rejection letters and bad reviews are part of the business.
THE SIN OF LUST – Beyond the sexual connotation, lust is the fulfillment of self-gratification. You have to ask yourself “why do I write?” For the accolades? For the money? Bragging rights? Is the desire to fulfill those needs overshadowing every other aspect of your life? Writing is my chosen profession but I find great joy in my personal life as well as my professional career.
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH BALANCE – Every action should be fraught with purpose but sometimes that purpose is merely rest and relaxation. When you seem to be consumed with your writing to the exclusion of everything else, take a break, walk away, and regain your perspective.
THE SIN OF GLUTTONY – You can never be too rich or too thin. Baloney! That’s where tyrants and anorexics come from. And as a writer, too rich may not be a problem but food combined with our sedentary profession can lead to secretary spread.
REDEEM YOURSELF WITH MODERATION – You need to be disciplined in maintaining a healthy lifestyle including a healthy diet, exercise and adequate sleep. It’s too easy, being self-employed, to neglect the basics of good health.
It’s important to keep ALL things in moderation – including Envy, Pride, Greed, Sloth, Anger, Lust and Gluttony. But now you know how to redeem yourself from the punishment of Purgatory, you know… just in case.
Mia Bailey is currently writing for Siren Publishing.