Saturday, October 19, 2019

Seven Deadly Sins for Writers

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

One thing that great novels consider is the search for self. Good writing brings us into story and, as we enter another’s world, we allow the protective shield around our hearts to peel back. What we see in the protagonist, we often begin to recognize in ourselves. Good storytelling does that. A prime example is Jane Austen’s delightful novel Pride and Prejudice. 

The novel revolves around the importance of marrying for love instead of economic gain or social prestige, despite society’s pressure otherwise. Elizabeth Bennet, determined to only marry for love, suffers the repercussions of her hasty judgment of both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. Eventually she learns the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. Mr. Wickham, who she had deemed good turned out to be calculating and self-serving. Whereas, Mr. Darcy, his pride relinquished and heart exposed by his love for Elizabeth, proved to be kind, generous, and forgiving.

In the beginning of the novel, however, we see a different Mr. Darcy. His words and actions proclaim a high opinion of his own importance. We would agree with Elizabeth that his prideful demeanor would make poor husband material. Austen clearly shows us the potential for such a prideful match in the acceptance by Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte Lucas to the marriage proposal of the wretched and self-centered Mr. Collins, whose pride in himself is magnified throughout the novel.

While it is easy to recognize pride in story, this high opinion of ourselves can often creep into a writer’s psyche and not be discerned until it is well ingrained into our lives. Success has the power to do that—where we finally reach that pinnacle where we are the leader in our field, the sought after advisor, the recipient of a plethora of awards. While excellence and self-confidence should be the goal of every writer, believing the hype has the potential to shoot arrows at humility.  

Those of us who have not reached that height of recognition are not exempt from the snare of pride.  Pride manifests itself in surprising ways: concentration on self, difficulty in admitting mistakes, comparing ourselves to others, dominating conversation, attempting to outdo experiences that others relate, or lack of gratitude. Instead of being grateful for the gifts God has bestowed, we focus on our lack of abilities. This self-pity is also pride (1 Corinthians 12:14-25.) 

Anger drives pride. Never satisfied with where God has placed us is a subconscious attempt to aspire to the position of God and not acknowledge our dependence on Him, preferring our will to His. Our self-glorification robs God of the glory due His name as well as the unique mission He has for each of us. I contend that pride is the most insidious of all the deadly sins, deceitfully luring us into what we perceive as the safety of self-sufficiency but, instead, thrusting us into a world where truth is what we make it to be. We thus become Eve in the garden choosing to please ourselves rather than live under the protection of God. 

Our world reels with pride, not emphasizing personal responsibility but, instead, emphasizing self. The importance of social media for the writer has the potential to lure us into the pride trap—checking how many likes or comments on our posts and being upset if our standard is not met, despite all our efforts.

The opposite of pride is humility. Submission to the Lord and giver of life, who gave gifts to His children for His glory and our good. Some are called to write just for His pleasure. Others as leaders and teachers to nurture the gifts of others. Whatever He has called us to, let us write with humility to the praise and glory of His Name. 

We were chosen by God to be born in such a time as this. A time of great persecution for those who believe and live by the truth of God’s Living Word. The eternal impact of our words explode when written by a humble heart. Whether our writing is for the world, or just a few.


Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Well said Ms. Emme. God's blessings ma'am.

  2. Emme, beautifully written as always. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels. And my all-time favorite movie. I own a copy on DVD and have watched it countless times. A few years ago, I discovered my twin sister holds this same fondness. Guess we really are alike. :-)