Heinlein’s Rules for Living as a Writer

Growing up Robert Heinlein was one of my favorite authors. My father is the one who introduced me to his work and between that and Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War I became forever hooked on good science fiction.

As unbelievably imaginative as Heinlein was, he was also an extremely pragmatic writer. A good friend of mine shared with me an article at Open Culture that spent time looking at an old Heinlein essay about how to write speculative fiction.

The original essay has a lot of great advice and insight into Heinlein’s process for writing, but the the Open Culture article highlighted the rules, as Heinlein saw it, for writing speculative fiction:

1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you start.

3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

4. You must put it on the market.

5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

Simple and practical advice for not just writing speculative fiction, but for writing anything that calls to you and making a living off of it.

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