In this essay, Turtledove first describes how he started reading Science Fiction through Heinlein's "juveniles", that is, what are now known as young adult novels. He then explains how he took inspiration from an article by Heinlein in the January 1974 Analog titled "Channel Markers". Among other things it contained what Heinlein called "Five Rules for Success in Writing". They are:
- First: You must write.
- Second: You must finish what you write.
- Third: You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
- Fourth: You must place it on the market.
- Fifth: you must keep it on the market until sold.
In 1979, Turtledove was single and unemployed so he resolved to write for an hour a day each day. At first it was easy but became more difficult after he began working full time as a technical writer. Turtledove kept at it, doing the occasional short story, but mainly working on what would become the Videssos Cycle. He did sell the short stories and ones he had previously written by keeping them on the market until someone bought them. It took three and a half years but he finished the Videssos Cycle and sold the novels to Lester del Rey.
Not long after, Turtledove wrote a fan letter to Heinlein thanking him (hence the title of the essay) and explained how he took inspiration from Heinlein's article. Turtledove didn't expect any response but did receive a short note from Heinlein congratulating him on his success. To date, Turtledove calls it one of his proudest souvenirs from the writing business.
At the time of the essay, Turtledove explained he continued to write for an hour each day except if he were too ill, out of town or had a family obligations such as a wedding or funeral. He felt he was reaching the point where in the following few years he would be able to make freelance writing a full-time job. In retrospect, he succeeded.