The Worst Thing

“What’s the worst thing?” I was asked in my zoom workshop.

“The worst thing? What a writer can do? Let’s see.” I said. “The worst thing is being staid”.

I had to spell the word to make sure they got the right meaning.

“You know what ‘staid’ is?” I asked.

:Yes,” Tamara answered. “Unadventurous. Dull.”

“Correct. And you know where the word ‘staid’ comes from?”

There was silence.

“It’s the adjectival use for the past tense of ‘stay’ which is ‘stayed’ so the worst sin of a writer is being rigid, unadventurous, unchanging, unwilling to take risks, staying the same.”

I let that sink in.

“Living things evolve,” I said. “Let your writing evolve. Take risks. Don’t worry if some don’t take off. Others will hit their mark. But you don’t know if you don’t try.”

We took a short break … and we all came back a little different.





  • do you agree? what do think the worst sin a writer can commit?

25 thoughts on “The Worst Thing

  1. I have never thought about that question – what the worst writerly sin is. I’m impressed you had an answer ready to go. Having thought about the question for a good two minutes, I can’t come up with a better answer. Like all art, judging writing is pretty subjective. So I think you’ve gone for a good answer that every writer can think about in relation to his/her own work. It sees writing as a trajectory rather than a series of individual enterprises. But I am going to keep wracking my brains to see if I can think of something different.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What is the worst writer sin? I think the worst writer sin is plagiarism. Inspiration by another writer’s style – wonderful, and absolutely a great way to try out a new style, technique, or subject matter and expand one’s horizons. Quoting another writer with proper permission and attribution – sure. But flat-out plagiarism – unforgivable.

    I think remaining staid is the second-worst writer sin.

    Liked by 1 person

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