Seven Deadly Sins and the Writer

Michelle Ule

Blogger: Michelle Ule

Sitting in for Wendy Lawton, whom I hope is no longer waiting for a plane in Duluth . . .

What are the seven deadly sins for a writer?

The usual ones:seven deadly sins and the writer, recognizing greed, sloth, gluttony,lust, wrath, envy, pride, writing life, publishing, editing, spell check, Michelle Ule

  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride

How do the seven deadly sins play out in a writer’s life?

Let’s take them one by one.


Fundamentally, lust is a desire for something you do not have.

The list can be endless for a writer, but the biggest one is the desire to be published and/or famous at all costs.

As in any sin, there are good aspects of it: lust can also drive a writer to work hard.

But, it’s always important to examine goals. What is the point of all of this?


Holy Spirit Interactive provides an alternate definition of gluttony that goes beyond food. Here it is:

  • Wanting more pleasure from something than it was made for.
  • Wanting it exactly our way (delicacy).
  • Demanding too much from people (excessive desire for other people’s time or presence).

The last two definitions apply the most in the publishing arena. Some writers aren’t content to work with editors–they want their manuscript to reflect only their work.

Other writers require an inordinate amount of time from their agents, writer friends, editors, publishing houses, marketing folks–you get the idea.

It’s always helpful to ask ourselves, “Do I really need to contact this person and demand their time right now?”


An alternate form of gluttony–see the three definitions above, greed is most often connected to money, power and fame.

For the majority of writers, the desire may be there but if you’re looking for money, power and fame, you might consider another line of work.


Sloth can take many forms, but basically boils down to a writer who can’t be bothered to run spell check.

It’s seen in folks who believe their first draft is perfect and requires no editing, because they’re too busy to deal with it.

Most writer probably struggle with a different form of sloth: the inability to get themselves into the chair to work.

It’s amazing how many things can get in the way of your writing time unless you’re disciplined.


You can recognize wrath in comments like this:

  • “Those gatekeepers don’t know what they’re thinking not picking up my book.”
  • “Why won’t anyone buy my book?”
  • “Why does this computer not work?”
  • “Where can I find a publisher who wants my work?”
  • “Why would someone publish that trash when my book is so much better?”

And so on.


I’ve written before about envy and the writer.

Envy is one of the seven deadly sins because it destroys relationships.

It’s important to remember that each of us are on a different writing and life journey.

What works for one writer may not work for another.

The book that garners great attention may have cost the writer far more than you are willing to pay.

Envy can be a natural reaction, it just doesn’t need to be shared or acted upon.

When I feel envy, I confess my sin to God and try to thank Him for what He’s doing in another writer’s life.


Pride is the cornerstone in many of the above attitudes. It’s all about me, right?

Don’t most of these seven deadly sins revolve around our demand for attention?

Isn’t that demand to be a famous bestseller what caused Satan’s fall?

Examine your heart

Publishing is a relational business–between you, your God, your agent, your friends, your publisher and the public.

While we’ll applaud you when you succeed, no one really wants to work with someone who exhibits the seven deadly sins.


I’ve found there’s a bittersweet humility from seeing my name on the cover of a book.

What do you do to combat any of the seven deadly sins in your writing life?


The 7 deadly sins & the writer. Which apply to you? Click to Tweet

What do greed, sloth, envy, pride, lust, wrath and glutton look like in the writer’s life? Click to Tweet