Avoid These 7 Deadly Sins of Writing

6 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Whether you're writing articles for publication or copy to promote your business, you may be committing these seven deadly "sins" in your writing. Here's an explanation of each sin as it relates to writing, along with links explaining each sin in more depth and offering tips to avoid them.

  1. Lust
    As storytellers, we want our articles to have emotional impact and capture the reader's attention, especially now with online publishers competing for page views and eyeballs. But sometimes we take this desire a little too far by over-promising in our headlines or using sensationalism to sell the story. 
    Toxic Storytelling: When Trauma is Sensationalized
  2. Gluttony
    In The Art and Craft of Feature Writing, Wall Street Journal reporter William E. Blundell discusses the dangers of too much background material, which some writers use as a crutch to avoid writing. If you become a glutton for research, it's hard to digest the information and break it down into bite-sized pieces for your readers. Likewise, gorging on too many projects at once can lead to missed deadlines or burnout.
    Too Many Articles Killed the Freelance Writing Star
  3. Greed
    Some writers are so worried about the competition that they refuse to share leads or ideas. Being greedy may cause other writers to stop sharing with you, but generosity fosters collaboration and allows you to build community.
    Help, Don't Hinder, Fellow Freelance Writers
  4. Sloth
    Some writers lift quotes from other publications instead of doing their own reporting. Some don't even bother to include quotes, even when the story would benefit from the inclusion of real people and experts. These shortcuts don't endear you to editors or readers.
    Is Social Media Making Journalists Lazy?
  5. Wrath
    When a client or editor lose their cool, it's tempting for the freelancer to fire back an angry email or vent on social media. Remember, though, that once it's in writing, you can't take it back. That's why it's usually best to take a few cleansing breathes before responding.
    Calming an Angry Client
  6. Envy
    Jealousy isn't productive unless it challenges you to work harder and aim higher. Unfortunately, when another writer lands a book deal or a plum assignment, we often get mired in wondering "why not me?" when in actuality there are lots of opportunities to go around.
    5 Ways to Deal with Writer Envy
  7. Pride
    Many a proud writer has refused to take criticism or rewrite their story to an editor or client’s specifications. But that writer needs to realize that writing for publication or business clients means keeping them happy and putting their needs above your pride.
    Dealing With Negative Criticism

Confession time! Have you committed any of these sins? Anything you'd add?


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