Just Finished Recording the Last Week…
Heinlein’s Rules workshop was an eye-opener again for me. By teaching the rules this way, talking about aspects of each rule for six weeks, I could start to see the beauty in the simplicity of the rules and why they boil this incredibly complex business down to such a simple foundation.
And why Heinlein called them “Business Rules.”
They really are business rules. And motivational rules.
And thinning-the-herd rules.
I was so lucky to stumble on them in the fall of 1981 and decide to just do them without missing starting January 1st 1982. Over 40 years ago… (yikes) I would have been thinned out of the writer crowd at that point. After seven years, I was on the verge of tossing in the towel anyway.
What they did for me was to finally get me out of the stupid teaching from school and allow me to apply logic to the craft.
Why was I writing slower and less to get better when every other art and sport demanded to get better you do more and practice more? Logic…
Why was I learning from people who had never done it instead of learning from the long-term masters like Heinlein, Bradbury, Ellison, and so on? Logic…
Why did I think I could make something better by touching it again instead of leaving it alone and moving forward to the next story? My skill was the same the first time through as the third time. Logic…
And on and on and on like that.
5 very simple rules.
As I said in the class, if you have a million want-to-be writers before Rule #1, by the time you get to the end of those simple five business rules, you will be lucky to have a dozen professionals.
And the part that I didn’t talk about, and that almost no professional writer does talk about, is that Heinlein’s Five Basic Business Rules are just the foundation. You build up from them and that’s when it gets even crazier.