Heinlein’s Rules for Success in Writing

You must write.

You must finish what you have written.

You must put what you have written on the market.

You must keep it on the market until sold.

Robert A. Heinlein was possibly the leading American science fiction writer of the 1940s and 1950s and a popular writer until his death in 1988.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1929 and served as a radio communications officer on the USS Lexington, the U.S. Navy’s first modern aircraft carrier. He was discharged from the Navy in 1934 with pulmonary tuberculosis, and tried different ways of earning a living until he submitted a story to Astounding Science Fiction magazine in 1939.

He wrote a series of young adult novels which I read as a teenage boy, and I read most of his novels and stories during his lifetime.

His rules for success in writing is that most people who think about writing never actually start, those who start never finish, and those who finish either never submit their work for publication or become discouraged at the first rejection. He had a fifth rule, Do not rewrite except to editorial order, which I have omitted.  His idea was that any writing is marketable at some level of publication, and that if you think of a better way to write something, you should write a new and better story or article.  I think everything Heinlein wrote was marketable at some level, but this is not necessarily true of less talented writers.

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One Response to “Heinlein’s Rules for Success in Writing”

  1. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Reblogged this on Tales of Unwise Paths.

    Like

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