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Lust is greed; love is a gift
The punishment for lust, according to the Bible, is being smothered in fire and brimstone, which sounds pretty horrific if short-lived.
I reckon a more imaginative punishment for lust would be to spend eternity naked with the ex you never want to see again. If I were into punishing people for lust, which I am not.
There’s nothing wrong with a little lust from time to time; especially if the object of that lust is Cillian Murphy or my husband. Or, you know, both because I’m greedy.
Lust is defined as a passionate desire for something. It’s sinful if you’re going to get all preachy and judgemental about it (let’s not; this is a judgement-free zone). I’d go further and add that lust is a greedy and single-minded passionate desire for something.
But wait a hot-damn minute: shouldn’t books be written with passion?
Yes. Yes they absolutely should be written with passion, otherwise why the hell are you writing at all?
Lust and passion aren’t the same thing. Lust can be pretty destructive. It can eat away at us, making us envious and craven; undermining our confidence and getting in the way of our message.
I’m a big fan of writing with passionate love; I’m not a big fan of lust.
Here’s the difference: love is an intense feeling of deep affection. Lust is an all-consuming single-minded gluttonous pursuit of something.
Lust is greedy; love is a gift.
In an episode of The Secret Lives of Black Women podcast, the hosts interview Dr Renee Horton. She said a few really wise things—one of which made me pull over the car, rewind, and listen again.
She said that love is a gift, to be given without any expectation of anything in return.
What a beautiful way to view the world and love and other people in general. It takes the weight of expectation off others to reciprocate and doesn’t push people into doing or feeling things they don’t necessarily want to do or feel.
And it’s a much more pleasant way to live because it means I can offer my own gift of love or friendship without any strings or weight attached to it. It means I’m not constantly waiting for validation from outside.
For me, writing is a similar gift to give to the world. I try to write my books and my articles without any expectation of receiving anything in return, just a hope that my words reach someone who might need to hear them.
If I can put my words out there free of strings, for people to take or leave, and not wait for comments or replies or validation, it leaves me free to write more. To create more. And if someone does reply or comment or goes further and buys from me, that is a gift too.
I’m not saying don’t market your books and services; of course, you must market your books and services or nobody will know they’re there.
Write for your audience for sure—but without any expectation of receiving anything in return. Like the Bhagavad Gita says, you are entitled only to the action, never its fruits. You are entitled to write your best words, but you are not entitled to people’s praise or reviews or even their money.
It’s a much less stressful way to work. When I’m constantly worrying about whether or not people will read it, enjoy it, buy from me, it gets in the way of what I’m working on.
When I let go of those expectations, it frees me up to do my best work, and removes the taint of desperation that hangs onto expectations.
Put your work out there. Write the best book you can. Sell it as best you can.
Then let it go without expectation because you cannot control what people think of it, what they do with the information you give them, and what they do next.
All you can control is your actions and your own expectations.
Start Writing Your Book Today
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.