Heinlein Should Know!

There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Finish what you start. Keep submitting until it sells.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Heinlein’s Rules for Writers Rule One: You Must Write Rule Two: Finish What Your Start Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story on the Market Rule Five: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold

-Robert A. Heinlein

8 comments

  1. I can kinda do #1 and on occasion have gotten past #2. I tend to trip up at #3, cuze what I do finish is craptastic, so #4 and 5 are moot.

    That’s okay, I accepted that I’ll never be write for pay, so I just write for my blog. … Would that count as a form of #4?

      1. Disagree about Rule 3 being weakest. Too many authors keep revising a work rather than submitting it. It becomes a form of avoidance. Finish the thing and get it off to a publisher. If it needs to get rewritten they will let you know.

  2. Rule #2 – oh yes. I have a dozen stories started that need to go somewhere. One just unfolded how it might possibly work. The “flavor” of the story wouldn’t solidify. Taking three weeks away helped. More than I want to admit.

  3. #1 I was not familiar with. From Grumbles From The Grave perhaps?
    #2 from Notebook of Lazarus Long in Time Enough For Love.
    #3 In the speech Heinlein gave to Annapolis cadets back in 73 I believe. That speech was later printed in Analog under the title Channel Markers. And, yes, the rules are dated in that many well known writers of that era paid the rent with short stories published in any of the large number of SF&F pulps of the day, even serializing some novels as well.

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