Select Page

Last week I put an index card on my desk, which I see every time I sit down to work. On it are Heinlein’s five rules for the business of writing:

  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

I first became aware of these rules on Dean Wesley Smith‘s website. He has a lot of great thoughts on them.

Yesterday I wrote about rule four, but the only one of those rules that I have consistently stuck to is rule 1: You must write.

In recent years, I have found finishing what I start to be a challenge. My computer is littered with incomplete manuscripts.

When I put index card on my desk, I made the commitment to follow those rules. I didn’t think that it could make much difference, but I am glad that it has. My current story went through a challenging period, and I was beginning to convince myself that I needed to start it again, or give up on it completely.

Having the rules as a constant reminder helped me push through those doubts and once again the story is flying. I wrote over 3,000 words on it today.

I have a lot more thoughts on these rules, and how I intend to apply them, but right now my focus is on sticking to rule 2 and finishing everything I start.