Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein came up with this list in 1947 to describe what he saw as the rules governing speculative fiction. But it applies just as much to non-fiction and business writing today.
Don’t be fooled by the brevity of the list. It’s hard to adhere to all five rules.
Rule One: You Must Write
Rule Two: Finish What Your Start
Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order
Rule Four: You Must Put Your Story on the Market
Rule Five: You Must Keep it on the Market until it has Sold
Rule #1 is self-explanatory. On its own, Rule #2 explains why there are so many aspiring authors and so few successful ones.
Getting Rule #3 right is about knowing the difference between fixing your mistakes and overcooking your ideas. And adhering to Rules #4 & 5 is what distinguishes professionals from hobbyists.