Heinlein’s Rules

Piggybacking on the idea of writing into the dark, or without an outline, I’ve been also trying to follow what’s known as Heinlein’s Rules. These are 5 rules dealing with being an successful writer, written by Robert Heinlein in 1947. The rules are simple to read, difficult to follow.

  1. You Must Write
  2. You Must Finish What You Write
  3. You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Unless To Editorial Order
  4. You Must Put It On The Market
  5. You Must Keep It On The Market Until Sold

The execution of the rules has changed in the last 72 years, but they are still just as valuable today as they were then. I don’t have much issue following rule 1, or 4 and 5. All the stories I’ve finished I’ve submitted to publication. 3 I’m trying hard to keep, using the concept of cycling. Rule 2 is the one that stops me cold, where I get bogged down in the messy middle, and want to switch gears to a younger, hotter idea.

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Eli Jones
Eli Jones is a spectulative fiction writer and data analyst living in the Cascadia Bioregion.