Submitted by scifiwriterb on Sun, 04/16/2006 - 8:57pm

Hi all,

I'm sharing some advice given by Dean Wesley Smith in which he said aspiring writers should follow Heinlein's rules for writing.

Dean wrote:

Those of you thinking about making a living at this business, you must know and follow these rules. Heinlein wrote them into an article back in the '40s, and they still apply 100% today. If you think you are an exception,
you are fooling yourself.

Heinlein's Rules

Rule #1: You must write.

Rule #2: You must finish what you write.

Rule #3: You must never rewrite (unless to editorial demand, and then only if you agree)

Rule #4: You must mail what you finish.

Rule #5: You must keep the story in the mail until someone buys it.

That's it. So simple, so hard to do. The killer are all five rules.

#1 kills those who think they want to be a writer but just can never find the time.

#2 kills those writers who are so afraid of having anything finished.

#3 kills everyone because of the huge myth that rewriting is critical. (Myth fostered by universities and people who can't write a saleable word).

#4 kills every writer with any kind of fear.

#5 kills every writer who thinks that someone else's opinion is more important than their own.

Such simple rules, so very, very hard to follow.

Good luck!


A link to Heinlein's Rules is at