On Writing

The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing

How many of these seven deadly sins of writing are you committing?

Holly Jahangiri
5 min readApr 23, 2020


Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

1. Sloth

The definition of sloth has changed over time. At one time, it was known as the sin of sadness and despair. Dante described it as the “failure to love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind and all one’s soul.” Today, it is generally considered synonymous with laziness or indifference — the failure to use one’s God-given talents and abilities to their fullest. So what does this mean for a writer?

It means that we should stretch beyond our comfort zone and challenge ourselves to hone our skills and learn new ones at every opportunity.

It also means that we should approach each day’s work with enthusiasm and joy — joy that we have within us the ability to communicate clearly, to educate, to entertain, and to provoke thought and discussion among readers. Joy that we are able to see the world in infinite and interesting ways, and that we are able to transform that experience into words that we can share with others.

It means that instead of practicing avoidance when it’s time to write, we ought to look forward to applying butt to chair and crafting the words that will touch another person’s mind.

2. Gluttony

Gluttony is described as overindulgence and waste. Did Emperor Joseph II’s accuse Mozart of gluttony when he criticized his work, saying, “Too many notes, my dear Mozart”? Perhaps. Perhaps we commit gluttony when we indulge our passion for words and wordplay and waste the reader’s time by failing to engage, enlighten, or entertain anyone but ourselves.

3. Greed

Greed — as a sin — refers to obtaining or hoarding wealth, in particular. And some writers are very good at eschewing greed, saying, “I don’t write for money, I write for the sheer love of it. I write because I can’t not write. I write for art. I write for myself, alone.” This last bit, “I write only for myself,” could be seen as a form of hoarding. While ideas and words may not be material objects or wealth, they have value and should be shared — particularly if you accept the notion that writing is a God-given talent.



Holly Jahangiri

Writer and Kid-at-Heart, often found at https://jahangiri.us. Subscribe to my (free!) Newsletter: https://hollyjahangiri.substack.com