Seven Writing Sins: Lust

I want.  I love.  I need.

Lust, at its most basic, is an overwhelming need or desire.  It is unhealthy in its excess.

I want to be a writer.  I don’t hide that fact.  Goals and dreams are healthy components of a positive life style. 

I love writing.  Writing fills something within me and I have never been able to not write.  Even when pen and paper aren’t handy, I write in my head.  I love the way words fit together to create something magical.


I need to get published…

I hear this often and my silent response is: or what?

What will happen if Writer A never gets published?  Because if we are talking odds, they are not in any writer’s favor.  What will happen to the quality and focus of the writing for those who lust after publication with a passion so deep they can’t fathom a healthy life beyond a byline?

Over the past year, I’ve read about this debate on many blogs and forums.  It kind of goes hand in hand with the greed question.  Why do we write?  What do we wish to gain?  But more than that, lust impacts what we will sacrifice to get there?

Already, I spend a lot of time on my writing.  I create new stories, edit them repeatedly, submit, hone, learn, write, edit, blog, etc.  My free time is filled with writing tasks.  Yet I have a family and another job.  I have a husband and a dog.  Parents, friends, church and volunteer committments. 

I simply do not have the time or energy to lust after publication.  I want it.  I would love a byline.  But, in the end, my self-worth is not tied up in publication.  This allows me to keep my focus centered on quality, rather than on the burning desire to find my name on the front cover of a book.

In your opinion, what is the difference between lusting after publication and pursuing the healthy goal of seeing your book on the shelf?  How do you manage your time so that you keep your momentum but don’t cross the line into need?

10 responses to “Seven Writing Sins: Lust

  1. I think my age helps to keep things into perspective. I am 53 which isn’t old but I have packed several lifetimes into my 53 years, you’d have to know me to know that this is true. Because I am older I have the perspective of having gone through the burning desire, realized that it was not necessarily healthy and moved on to trying to write the best I can and hope that it is good enough for publication somewhere. I don’t even necessarily have to get a book published. I am glad when someone finds an article of mine good enough to publish in a magazine, journal, newspaper or blog. I have been paid for my work and I have written for free. I do love seeing my name in print but I am not going to waste energy “needing” for that to happen. I am going to use that energy to write and enjoy the ride.



    • Ardee-ann,

      It’s nice to see a writer so centered about their goals. You must really enjoy the entire process of writing with this attitude. Kudos for finding the peace that many of us seek and may never find!


  2. Easy. I confine my compulsive needs to other things.

    I’m not identifying them.

  3. I don’t think I manage my time well. Sometimes, my need for publication is overwhelming, almost as much as my need for naps. I have yet to neglect friends or family because of these need, though, so I think I’m in pretty good order. I would say neglecting others would be the line for me.

  4. I take an “art for art’s sake” mentality. For me, it’s not about seeing one’s name in a byline – it’s about creating art for the sake of its own existence because that in itself is worthwhile.

    I heard this alot in art school but didn’t quite understand what it really meant until a few years after I graduated.

    • Well, your art is beautiful in it’s own right. You definitely deserve the bylines you’ve garnered along the way and I hope to see many more out there over the years.


  5. I suppose lust is unhealthy when all you’re think about is writing and publication and not doing anything to get there. If you’re not writing and submitting, you won’t achieve that goal no matter how much you desire it. Honesty is key here, too. Pursuing your goals with integrity and respect for yourself and others (writers, editors, agents, family, etc.) is an important part of the process.

    • Laura,

      Your comments were perfect. I tried, but didn’t come close to saying what I meant as succinctly and eloquently as you.

      Integrity and respect are essential. Thanks for the reminder.


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