10 Writing Virtues

The following sounds rather pompous and bombastic, but a writer’s words should exceed his grasp, or what’s a Heaven for (to paraphrase Browning).

This actually came about from a list I made when thinking about what traits a character should possess–then I thought, “If Character should have virtue, so should Writer.”

Morality1. Morality—My personal code of conduct by which I choose to create Story and by which I live the Writing Life in the face of others’ laughter, mocking, derision, and jealousies. To build the Ark with the sound of derisive laughter in a cloudless sky.


courage2. CourageMy ability to confront pain, fear, and intimidation of rejection; facing and then charging into the barriers of fire set by others to intimidate me; I insist to continue to create Story even in the face of certain defeat and with no guarantee of reward.

helpinghand3. Benevolence—Giving of my talents, time, and knowledge to those who ask or need help as well as receiving the gifts of others who possess talents and knowledge I need to be successful.

4. Respect—Far exceeds my mere tolerance for another Writer’s work, genre, conduct, and success. My moral appreciation of and acknowledgment of the contribution and value of another Writer. By accepting the work of another Writer without prejudice, I place intrinsic value on my work, genre, conduct, and success.

honesty5. Honesty—Truth not as a weapon but as a door through which Reader chooses to enter because of, rather than in spite of, my words. Truth is the foundation of Virtue and from which all other Virtues stem; for, even a truthful statement can have dishonest intentions.

Honor6. Honor—A harmonic imbuement of Words and Actions, of Discourse and Deeds; a condition of Love that establishes and grounds my personal dignity and character.

7. Loyalty—Devotion to the craft and art of Writing more than the merits and rewards of Writing itself; Faithfulness not only to Story-Making but to my own skills, craftsmanship, talents, and desires.

8. Patience—A serenity I achieve in the face of the most strenuous circumstances in which I endure and overcome self-defeating doubt, long-term difficulties (both within and with out), and ignore the provocation of others without anger or annoyance.

forgiveness9. Forgiveness—Giving up all claim to the offenses and shortcomings of others and, more importantly, my own offenses and shortcomings. There is freedom in forgiveness: When I forgive someone, that person is set free from my ire and pain. When I forgive myself, I am free to become a better person.

Hard Work10. Knowledge—Relying on the day-to-day, hard-working experience of application rather than vicarious experience of others to acquire expertise and skills as a Writer to better achieve practical understanding of Story-Making. Persistence, determined, and dedicated hard work is knowledge in action.

See you in the stacks.

LMG Swain


1 Comment

  1. Wonderful. I agree. Writers who do not possess such values may in fact create good antagonists. But the hero (I think) must be the most convincing. Great breakdown of crucial elements! Thanks!


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