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The Only 5 Rules for Writing You'll Ever Need, and Won't Do

By Edited Nov 1, 2016 3 7

Get Slammin'
Are you looking for advice on writing and how to write? Looking for the workshop, that after completion, will give you a certificate and then you can call yourself a writer? Perhaps workshops aren’t your style—you’re a new media, Internet, type and are seeking online sources for answers and success. You’re looking for that one website with the system that’s going to give you the keys to “break in”?

The good news is that the only thing a person will ever need as their guide to being or becoming a writer is available—free. That’s right, free and readily available to all!

The writer and successful author that revealed his simple five step rules for writing success even joked that he would gladly give these rules to anyone, even his counterparts. And when his generosity in potentially helping his competitors through revealing the secrets to his writing success was questioned; he stated that he could afford such generosity because he knew that almost none of them would follow his rules.

Short & Sweet

5 Rules for Writing

The writer was the successful science fiction author, Robert Heinlein. His five rules for writing are as follows:

1.) You must write.

2.) You must finish what you wrote.

3.) You must refrain from edit, except to editorial order

4.)  You must submit your work to market.

5.) You must keep the work on the market until sold.


Pen to Paper

Heinlein, Writer & Author

Heinlein is credited as being one of the “Big Three” science fiction masters (Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, the other two) of the Golden Age of science fiction. He is credited as being one of the leaders in helping the science fiction genre break out of the low-paying pulp arena or “ghetto”.

Heinlein, Science Fiction Master

The beauty of Heinlein’s five rules for writers is in their simplicity and reliance upon action and execution. Their essence lies in application. Indeed, each one is certainly a call to act. They are commandments that apply equally to all with writing aspirations. Anyone that aspires to write can and must write.

“There’s a big difference in those that write, and those that want to see themselves as having been published.” (Source: Dan Simmons, writer, Hugo Award-winning author)

The Writer Writes

In reference to Heinlein’s rules and their applications, writer and author Dean Wesley Smith says it best, “If you’re a writer and think you’re the exception, you are fooling yourself.”

The Writer's Station
After considering Heinlein’s five rules, a person really can’t call themselves a writer until they’re actively engaged in the process—rule one. That call to action is where most fail. Procrastination and excuses abound. Those that aspire allow the process to intimidate. Everything from not having enough time to household chores distracts and interferes with the creation process of writing. Yes, bringing to being what we envision is difficult and why most simply will not write.

Heinlein lays out a simple roadmap, easy and uncomplicated--just as it should be. Heed Heinlein’s 5 Rules for Writing and get writing!



Dec 9, 2011 6:43pm
Interesting article, liked it a lot, thanks for sharing.
Dec 10, 2011 5:42pm
Thanks for the comment. I hope the article helps.
Dec 16, 2011 9:20pm
Excellent tips for writers.
Dec 20, 2011 11:41pm
well said, and then to earn money you have to keep on writing more and more.
Dec 21, 2011 12:29am
I struggle with the first two steps more than I care to admit. Thanks for the reminder that without following this simple steps, nothing can be achieved as a writer.
Dec 23, 2011 8:24pm
No doubt that the hardest thing about writing...well, uh...is to ACTUALLY WRITE!
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