Monthly Online eZine  
News And Views For Working Writers

 INside Scoop
 IN Her Own Write
 Pen IN Hand
 Write On!
 Screen & Stage
 Top 10 Resources
 Book Reviews
 Items Of INterest
 Global Offerings
 INside Services
 Bill The Bard
 The Writer At Work
 Games & Puzzles
 Classic eTexts
 Free Software
 IN Banners
 Who's IN
 What's IN
 Editorial Calendar
 Join IN's Team
 Contacting IN

IN Front Cover


Learn To Be A Better Journalist

Buy Classic Literature Collections

Acclaimed Screenplay Writing Software

Books On How To Write Fiction

Become A Well Paid Travel Writer

Vote daily and raise our ranking!

January, 2008

Bev Walton Porter

Seven Deadly Sins
Avoid them
By  Bev Walton-Porter

Last month we explored the Seven Virtues every successful writer should have. In keeping with the theme of virtue and vice, this month, we examine the seven deadly sins every writer should avoid. 

It's okay to lust after the written word and to cherish the process of weaving sentences, paragraphs, and pages, but don't get overly attached to your work. Lust for your own writing can result in a blind eye toward purple prose and unnecessary flourish.
Readers care more about the story and the characters, not how many esoteric vocabulary words you learned this past year. Lyrical passages and descriptions can be nice, but not when they're overdone. If an editor suggests changes to your work, don't bristle and complain. An editor's job is to make sure our work shines bright. Quite often, that means your editor may have to snip and prune to present your work in the best light possible. Let go of unhealthy word lust and trust in the editing process. 
Gluttony, as it pertains to the writer, is related to creative hunger and not losing sight of it. All too often, writers have to remind themselves why they first began to write. Most of the time, it's not because they wanted to get paid or get published – that desire came later. As a child or young adult, most writers wanted to express themselves creatively and share their story vision with readers.
Stay hungry for the right reasons, but avoid crossing the boundary into unfocused gluttony. How many times have you heard a reader proclaim she didn't read a certain author anymore because she felt the author was phoning it in instead of genuinely caring about the work? Writers who lose the taste of creative hunger and become gluttonous and overfed with fame and fortune may have committed the biggest sin of all. Hunger is essential for a writer's spark; gluttony is detrimental to a writer's creative survival.
Don't be afraid to give as well as receive. Maybe you have a hot tip on some freelance jobs for the upcoming year. Will you share that information with others, or will you hoard it, hoping to get a jump on the perceived competition? If you answered with the latter, you've been infected by greed.
Networking is the lifeblood of any successful freelancer. By sharing opportunities and new information on a regular basis, individual writers – and the community as a whole – will benefit. Every industry goes through cycles, and freelancing is no different. Some day, not too far in the future, it may be you who needs a helping hand or a hot job tip. Remember that next time you're tempted to keep valuable information to yourself. The person from whom you withheld information could be the same person you need for future assistance or advice. Greed doesn't pay off, but networking almost always does. Practice being gracious, not greedy. 
Some days it's easier to plop down on the couch and read or watch a movie than write – especially when you're struggling with a chapter or your characters aren't behaving. It's not that you don't want to write, it's that you're feeling blocked or trapped on your current course. Why climb that painful hill when you can relax, kick back, and not worry about it until tomorrow? The answer is that if you let sloth get under your skin, tomorrow may turn into next week, next month, or next year. These are the times when writing can be the most difficult and also the most rewarding.
Nobody ever said writing was easy – it's not. You know that, and I know that. The general public doesn't know that; many of them believe books pop onto the shelves in a magical, painless way, when the rest of us know most books are birthed in the most deliberate (and often painful) sorts of ways. Giving in to sloth is the easy way; it's anything but the Writer's Way.
If you find yourself stymied in your quest for the next scene or sequence, or your characters are misbehaving, don't give up and give in. Instead, work on another project for the time being. Get your creative juices flowing, and then switch back to your main writing project. Work for at least 30 minutes, and then take a break if you're still making no progress. A little forward movement, however small, is always better than no movement. No movement = sloth. 
Working with human beings on anything creative can have torturous moments. You may encounter a writer or editor who will not only rub you the wrong way, but who'll scrape your nerves raw. When you're dancing on your last nerve, it's easy to lose your patience and risk lashing out in inappropriate ways – but don't do it.
The publishing industry is a small microcosm of people who know other people who know other people. Editors change houses frequently, and the one editor with who you lock horns at one house may turn up at the publishing house you're querying six months from now. Before you unleash your wrath upon a fellow writer or editor, remember the folly of damaging or destroying bridges you may have to cross later. Realize there will always be challenging situations to face in working relationships; however, don't give wrath a chance to tank your writing career. 
So you've been submitting a manuscript for a year now to no avail. You've received rejection after rejection, yet you've kept your chin up, and you continue to work revisions like a madwoman. Your friends have been supportive and your writing buddies have commiserated with you
You get a phone call one day: Your closest writing buddy sold her book. Indeed, you are happy for her, but you can't stop asking yourself, "Why her and not me?" You feel the slimy green tentacles of envy creep into your gut.
Envy is a poison, and once it infects your soul, it tends to fester. Cut envy off at the source before it takes root and sours your writing relationships. Realize you're not in competition with anyone except yourself.
Be gracious and genuine in your happiness for your writing colleagues, and know that when your time comes – and it will – they will return positive energy to you threefold. Envy, when unchecked, can lead to bitterness and lost friendships. Don't give in to envy!
Authors are expected to help market and promote their work. Publishers look for marketing plans in nonfiction book proposals, and editors want to know how you, as the writer, plan to get the word out about your work. You are not only selling your words and your writing, but you're also selling yourself.
Beware of lurking pride as you travel the road of self-promotion. No matter how long you've been a scribe, you can always learn from others, regardless of how many decades of experience you have under your quill. Ignoring readers, bashing other writers, penning mean-spirited reviews (for the sole purpose of bringing other writers down a notch) and developing a snobby, diva-like attitude are quick ways to make enemies and wreck your reputation.

When it comes to the seven deadly writing sins, it's easy to be led astray by their seductions. It's a challenge to step outside ourselves and regulate our habits. Keep a small group of trustworthy friends and writing colleagues around you for occasional reality checks, and don't be afraid to serve yourself up a slice of humble pie when the situation is warranted.

IN Icon

Bev Walton-Porter is a multi-published author, freelance writer and writing instructor. Her work has appeared in numerous publications since she turned full-time writer in 1997. Her latest book is Sun Signs For Writers. She lives in Colorado with her fiancé, two teenagers and four lovely felines.

Sign Up and Use Our New Forums! Voice Your Opinion! Discuss Our Content! Ask for Writing Assistance. Post Your Successes, Queries or Information Requests. Collaborate with Other Writers.

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049

IN This Issue
Creative Karma
Rejected! Now What?
Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Virtues
Essential Ingredients
The Last Quill
Done At Last!
Part III: It's A Fact
Part II: It's A Fact
Part I: It's A Fact

Support IN
Receive Free Gifts
$20.00 Voluntary Contribution
$35.00 Voluntary Contribution
$50.00 Voluntary Contribution

New Novelist Software

Effectively Manage Your List

Writers Digest 101 Site Award

Your Ad Here

Traffic Swarm For Writers

Hottest Books This Month!

Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

Our Own Banner Rotator System
Any banner seen below is either our own or one of our members.
Support the cause - click a banner.

Want Your 468x60 Banner Above? It's FREE For Newly Published Books

© Freelance Writing Organization - International 1999-2049
All Rights Reserved. Copying in any way strictly forbidden.
Our Disclaimer Is Based Upon McIntyre's First Law: "Under the right circumstances, anything I tell you may be wrong."