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An adaptation of Heinlein’s Rules

August 28, 2011

As you see, I am reactive and brief about posting on this blog. I intend to keep it this way. I want to focus my time on fiction writing.

However, one post I feel, I do have to make. As a statement of intent and my work philosophy.

Anybody who reads this will probably be familiar with Heinlein’s rules.

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

It is his “racket”, as he put it, to make a living at writing fiction.

Having spun around, taking in the wisdom of long-term professionals and taking a few educated guesses with my bullshit detector when they contradicted each other, I came up with the following.

  1. You must write. (Never changed)
  2. You must finish what you write. (Never changed, either)
  3. Don’t edit, don’t tinker, just fix. Listen to your beta reader.
  4. Upload your work to all the major markets. Let it stay there.
  5. Do not fiddle with it. Write the next story instead.

Heinlein’s idea behind his third rule was that some day there would be an editor desperate enough to buy any drivel, even yours. Other people follow this rule, because editing does not teach them anything about writing. Writing the next story does.

I don’t know if that’s true (How could I?). But I will follow those rules until death.

Writing this way is way more fun, too.


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