The Writing “Sin” of Greed

The November / December 2012 issue of Writers Digest featured an interesting article on “The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing” by Janice Gable Bashman and Kathryn Craft. Using the 7 Deadly Sins as a starting point (and what Catholic writer can’t respond to some good old-fashioned guilt?) , the writers go on to describe how writers suffer from greed, lust, gluttony, pride, sloth, envy, and wrath and what to do about it.

Honestly, I’m suffering from the whole gamut, and while these “sins” may not be a topic of conversation the next time I go to confession, it’s obvious that I have a long way to go to curb my writing demons. As with anything else, admitting that there is a problem is the first step! For the purpose of this article, I thought I’d focus on the sin of greed.

Greed in writing looks toward the uncertain reward of tomorrow instead of embracing “the joys of writing that are available today.” It’s wanting to rush the process in order to reap whatever rewards may await us instead of being willing to bide our time and make our work the best it can be.

I do enjoy the writing process, but I am also a person who likes to cross things off my to-do list. “Write Novel” has been living on my to-do list for quite a while now. I want so much to take my pen and cross that item off. As much as I enjoy having a project to work on, I like the sense of accomplishment that “having written” gives me even more.

I’m currently in the process of revising my novel – typing it from its handwritten version into a Word document, making changes as I go. Even once that step is completed, I know I still need to read through it and make more changes. Then, once I have it as good as I can get it on my own, I need to have it professionally edited. All the while, my insides are shouting, “But I want to share my story! I want it to be done!” Yes, writing greed is alive and well in me.

How do you keep yourself from rushing to the finish line?

 

 

 

 

About AnneFaye

Anne Faye writes from Western Massachusetts and is the author of The Rose Ring and Through the Open Window, and blogs at http://www.annefaye.blogspot.com/. You can follow her on Twitter at @AnneMFaye
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9 Responses to The Writing “Sin” of Greed

  1. Nancy Ward says:

    I have been trapped so many times by that daydream of the glamor of arriving as a published author. Even though I have published dozens of articles in Christian and secular magazines, edited many publications and books, and write a blog, I still am tempted to daydream.
    I have been writing a series of books for many years and have been turned down by the best Catholic publishers. Each revision teaches me new spiritual lessons and another window of possibility for publication opens unexpectedly.
    I love to write. It is my charism and as such is given to me to serve the Body of Christ. My greatest joy is writing for the Lord what he inspires. He takes my personality, my role in life and my experiences right now and creates a blog or article or book chapter to bring others close to him. In the creative process we are partners and we grow closer.
    So the greed may be in wanting to spend more of my life writing, but that is just wanting to spend more time in his presence. Is that greed or humility? I think it is surrender.

  2. Ann Seeton says:

    My husband. He is my first editor past myself. His editing is dispassionate and ruthless.

    Recognizing the value of what he does, I try very hard to cooperate and be patient.

  3. Margaret Nava says:

    The nice thing about finish lines is they can be moved. I try not to do too many writing projects at one time and, unless I have a firm deadline, I try to finish one thing before starting another. Notice the word “Try.” There are always exceptions and being flexible is key.

  4. Don Mulcare says:

    Thank you Anne, Nancy and Ann,

    Writing may promote the capital sin of pride, but getting someone to critique, edit, publish and eventually read our creations goes a long way toward strengthening the virtue of humility.

    A question for Anne: Why do you hand-write your first draft when you already have Word? Did you ever “cut and paste” (scissor and staple or Scotch Tape) the fragments of a document together during the editing process? It brought such satisfaction when the contents of the stitched-together paper scraps could be finally “typed” (using a type writer) and the cut-pasted Frankenstein dropped into an actual waste basket.

    When word processing became available a learned colleague predicted that it would not make any difference to the final product. For me at least, it has made a tremendous difference, freeing the writer from the menial, laborious, time-consuming and often frustrating tasks associated with controlling an arranging scraps of paper.

    Thanks for sharing your insights and encouraging your readers.

    God Bless,

    Don

    • Don Mulcare says:

      Thank you Anne. I’d love to see a sample of your penmanship. Mine defies interpretation at times. Notes on pad pages serve as reminders of late night ideas. The “word processor” smooths them out and sorts them so I can sew them together. Thank you so much for sharing on Greed. Looking forward to your next “sin” in the series.

      God Bless,

      Don

  5. Connie Clark says:

    Wonderfully written and thoughtful post, Ann. I wrote an article some years ago about how I “gave up” on the writing dream. Not on writing, mind you, but on the whole “being a published author” thing. Instead, I focused on my plots, characters, and on just relishing the process. Looking back now, I knew I wasn’t ready for the “being published” thing. My kids were very small, and I didn’t have anyone to watch them if my workload increased and I had to market a book while writing another one. I can also see now that it was all God’s timing. He knew what was right for me, and when.
    I had to trust in Him (which I wasn’t very good at).
    But look at the saints. They struggled with sin all the time. They fought the battle and that’s why they’re saints. Going through the writing process–as unrewarding, and even painful as it is–is a bit purgatorial, in the sense that it can help with the pride and envy and all that.
    Ann Lamont says that focusing on getting published is like going to a Japanese tea ceremony just for the caffeine. Now I say all this as someone who has had a lot of books published (over a very looooong career and a lot of rejections). But I hope you can forgive yourself for those “sins,” because I think it’s all part of a necessary process of growing as a writer and growing into the person God means you to be.

  6. Anne Faye says:

    Thank you all for your comments! Don, I have written a novel on Word before. I wrote this one long-hand as part of a writing experiment. I found that I actually enjoyed that process very much.

  7. Anne Faye says:

    Don, believe me – the hardest part of this adventure has been reading my own handwriting! :)

  8. Don Mulcare says:

    OK Anne,

    Now I don’t feel so bad about my own script.

    God Bless,

    Don