Thursday, September 18, 2008

When Heinlein kicked my ass

Here are, in abbreviated form, Robert Heinlein’s rules of writing:
1. Write.
2. Finish what you start.
3. Rewrite, but not excessively
4. Submit
5. Resubmit

The first time I gave this whole writing thing a try was about ten years ago. I wrote a short story, which was really more of a cathartic way of dealing with a tragedy in my extended family. I researched markets and settled on the one magazine that I was going to give the honor of printing my masterpiece. (Note: sarcasm.) I got the rejection letter a few weeks later, and rightfully so as the story was pretty awful.

So, I had made it all the way to No. 4 on Mr. Heinlein’s list -- and then I got no farther. I wasn’t heartbroken or insulted. My reaction was more to say, “Huh,” and throw the rejection letter in the trash. But I didn’t resubmit. I didn’t write any other stories. That was the end of my writing career.

Now here I am a decade later, trying again. I’m a better writer, but I’m not suffering from any delusions of grandeur. I know I’m not as good as I can be or as good as I need to be. So here are Jennifer’s rules of writing:

1. Write.
2. Finish what I start.
3. Accept critiques and criticism without discouragement.
4. Rewrite until it’s as good as I can make it.
5. Don’t give up.
6. Become a better writer.

1 comment:

orogeny said...

Good luck from a random Internet stranger!

I took a long break, too. It really helped to go to a spec fic workshop (in my case, Viable Paradise).

It's a tough mountain to climb, but what the heck--we're all on the road to Mordor together. =D

Again, good luck to you.