Guest Post: WRITE FIRST by Heidi Ruby Miller

Do you wish you could write more? Guest blogger, Heidi Ruby Miller, author of AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT, reveals how she increased her daily word count. Keep reading for a chance to win a copy. You’ll want to, because her spicy sci-fi romances rock with action!

Heidi Ruby Miller, author of AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT

Heidi Ruby Miller, author of AMBASADORA and GREENSHIFT

I resolved this year to WRITE FIRST.

It was my way of seeing if I could write more. And it worked.

Believe me, I was more surprised than anyone. Over the past five years I had steadily worked out of the century club (100 words per day) to the millennium club (1000 words per day), but then I stalled. I have always been a slow writer, probably because I labor over every word and character motivation, each plot point, the cadence of individual sentences, blah blah blah.

Outlining helped me tremendously once I started graduate school. The planner that I am, I usually had a nice beginning/middle/end worked out, then went from there. When I began to do more extensive outlines (80 pages long), which detailed each scene, I had a rough first draft in no time and a direction to move with the story. That’s when the 1000 words a day came quite easily.

To jump to the next level (like Robert J. Sawyer with his 2000 words a day or Susan Mallery with her 20 pages a day) I needed a little extra mojo. Turns out the solution was simple—write first.

I decided to try my new tactic in 2012 after talking with horror writer and my co-editor of MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT, Michael A. Arnzen. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, he does focus words—words that he focuses on all year in order to make improvements in his life and career. My words were WRITE MORE, but that seemed too broad, so I decided upon WRITE FIRST.

And that’s what I’ve been doing since January 1. I wake up half an hour early to… work through a yoga routine.

Okay, I know you were expecting me to say “write,” but with as much time as I spend on the computer, I wouldn’t be able to move if I didn’t stretch and breathe first thing in the morning. But then I write. Before I change out of my pajamas or make a cup of tea or surf through all my social media sites or before my husband gets out of bed, I sit down and write for at least 30 minutes. That may not seem like much time, but it’s enough to get a few hundred words in or a few pages revised. More importantly, it brings my story front and center in my mind where it stays all day long.

It becomes a trance-like state for me during the rest of the day. No matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about my characters, plotting scenes in my head. This compels me to sit back down in front of the laptop and keep writing. Before I know it, I’ve sometimes had 3000 words by day’s end or revised four chapters. More typically, I hit 2000 words, but that’s double what I was doing last year at this time.

Granted, I accrue this word count during various sessions throughout the day, not in one sitting—I would have a constant migraine if that were the case. But it’s working. January 2012 was my most productive month ever. So far February is falling a little shorter with only an average of 1500 words per day, but that’s still 500 more than most days last year. I blame the small lapse on the launch for my latest novel GREENSHIFT, which came out on Valentine’s Day. Obviously, more marketing time was required this month. I fully expect my productivity to kick into overdrive in March… by simply writing first.


GREENSHIFT by Heidi Ruby MillerBe entered to win a copy of GREENSHIFT or AMBASADORA or both by telling us in comments what you’re reading right now and leave your email address disguised something like heidirubymiller AT gmail. Winners will be drawn randomly on March 1, 2012, and announced on March 2, 2012. Good luck!

About Heidi Ruby Miller

Heidi Ruby Miller has been putting too much sex in her Science Fiction since 2005 because she believes the relationship is as important as the adventure. She loves high-heeled shoes, action movies, Chanel, loud music, and video games.

Heidi also teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program the same month she appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The writing guide MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT, which she co-edited with Michael A. Arnzen, is based on the Seton Hill program and her novel AMBASADORA was her thesis there. Another tale in the Ambasadora-verse, GREENSHIFT, was just released this month.

Heidi is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, Broad Universe, SFR Brigade, and Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA).

She lives near Pittsburgh with her writer husband, Jason Jack Miller.

You can find out more about her books and read her author interview series at

Divinely Inspired Dark Writing Prompts at Michael A. Arnzen’s GORELETS

“Dark Promptings” is a special series of guest-written creative writing prompts at, aimed at sparking the imagination’s gasoline for writers from any genre… but with a dark or devious discoloration.

Guest contributors are folks who wrote articles appearing in Arnzen and Miller’s fat new non-fiction book for fiction writers of all kinds, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction.

My dark prompts, selected from the Bible, are now fiendishly available. Check them out!

Dark Promptings: For the Bible Tells Me So with Lee Allen Howard

Writers and creative people: drop on by Many Genre’s meaty weblog to learn more about the book, or order Many Genres today.

The Sixth Seed and Severed Relations Featured at Many Genres, One Craft

As a contributor to Many Genres, One Craft, an anthology of how-to articles for fiction writers seeking advice on how to improve their writing and better navigate the mass market for genre novels, my work is featured on the MGOC site. Check it out!

Your Very First Editor

MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT Now Available for Purchase!

Editing is the art and craft of shaping and refining a manuscript into a publishable book. But gone are the days of a publishing house editor doing this work for the writer. For editors, buying books they think will sell has, of necessity, become the first order of business, and often takes most of their time.

So, before you submit your work to a publisher, introduce yourself to your very first editor: you!

Many Genres, One CraftThat’s the start of my article about self-editing in MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction (Headline Books, 2011), an amazing anthology of instructional articles for fiction writers looking for advice on how to improve their writing and better navigate the mass market for genre novels.

MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT gathers the voices of today’s top genre writers and writing instructors affiliated with Seton Hill University’s acclaimed MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction. This hefty book is like a “genre writer’s workshop in a bottle”! Every contributor is a seasoned veteran in the industry or an up-and-coming writer. Many are bestsellers who have won multiple literary awards for their potent and entertaining genre fiction.

More importantly, these contributors know how to teach genre fiction. They are all trained teachers, visiting authors, or published alums from the MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program offered by Seton Hill University—the only grad school dedicated to writing commercially-viable genre novels of quality.

One of the things that prevents otherwise good storytellers and writers from achieving publication is an unpolished manuscript. In my article, “Your Very First Editor,” I teach practically how to hone your prose and make it shine, increasing your chances for sale.

MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Powell’s, and other fine locations.

You can read the introduction on scribd.