7 Deadly Sins of Writing

Too many writers condemn their work before it ever gets a chance to see the light of day.  But not you!  Because you will never succumb to these 7 Deadly Sins of Writing…

  1. BORING: Writing that just doesn’t relate to the readers experience is. . . well. . . uh. . . boring.  Successful writing gives readers something they can see and feel, something that touches them emotionally, something that moves their hearts and leaves them changed.
  2. PREACHY:  Sure, your message is important, and it’s vital that you get it across.  But preaching to your readers (or lecturing them) is deadly.  A wise writer learns how to draw the line.
  3. IRRELEVANT:  If readers cannot see how your writing pertains to their own lives, your work–however beautiful and well-crafted and heart-felt and necessary–will accomplish nothing.  A reader is always asking, “What’s in this for me?”
  4. FLAT: Characters, dialogue, quotes, illustrations, anecdotes–these are just some of the writing techniques you can use to bring your writing to life.  Remember Show, Don’t Tell?  You’ll hear it again and again, because it is so very important.
  5. STUFFY: You know stuffy writing–it has long paragraphs  and endless, convoluted sentences.  It makes great use of gargantuan, redoubtable words of seemingly great importance. Stuffy writing is more interested in impressing readers with the writer’s smarts than in expressing his or her idea.  It pays little attention to reader-friendly formatting (which is to say, the pages are crammed so full of words there’s hardly any room for white space between them).  Yikes!  Sounds like an Econ text!!
  6. POORLY RESEARCHED:  You’ve researched and you’ve researched, and finally you think, “Ah, who cares about these silly details?  No one will know anyway.”  Wrong!  Someone will know.  And one inaccuracy can ruin the validity of your otherwise good article or book.  Yes, research can be time-consuming, but that’s your job.  It must be complete and thorough.
  7. SLOPPILY EDITED: Is there a dot over every i and is every t crossed?  Is your spelling correct and your punctuation accurate?  If you want to see your writing in print, you have no room to be lax in the mechanics. If you have a weakness (Mine is spelling.  Maybe yours is punctuation.) make certain you have a sure-fire back-up plan (I have my star speller husband, and no, you can’t borrow him!).

There you have ’em.  Go forth and sin no more!

There are three rules for writing the novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

Somerset Maugham



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8 responses to “7 Deadly Sins of Writing

  1. It’s just like parenting tips. You know them, but sometimes you just need to be reminded. Thanks.

  2. Wonderful reminders of the importance in getting the writing right! Thanks, Kay!

  3. Thanks for coming by, B.J.

  4. James

    Superb! Bravo, we say! Now let [me] check and see if I spelled ‘bravo’ correctly.

    Seriously, great article

  5. jesselunsford

    This may, and should, be common sense for some, however I am brand new to the field and found it extremely helpful. I will keep this information with me. Thanks.

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