If you want to be a writer you need to write a lot. You need, ideally, to write every day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes at a time. The more you write, the better you will be, and the better things will flow. Of course, every writer has good days and bad days, days that are more productive and days where trying to get the words down on paper (or on a screen) is akin to getting blood from the proverbial stone. Yet to be a good writer you need to continue anyway, no matter what.
A good way to do this is to write short stories rather than novels, particularly if you’re just starting out. Short stories are a lot less daunting than sitting down to create a 100,000-word book (although not necessarily any easier – a short story needs to be much more tightly executed than a novel), and since people’s attention spans are shorter than ever these days, short stories are gaining in popularity. Here are some other reasons to write them.
People Will Find You
The more you write, the more people will discover who you are and enjoy your writing. An author who produces just one (albeit good) novel is going to be less well-known than one who produces two or three short story collections within the same time frame. The more short stories you write, the better because more people will read them and, hopefully, review them. It is the review that is so important because when an author has reviews, Amazon (and other platforms) will begin to recommend their work, thus allowing them to reach a far greater audience.
There is a theory in a business known as the ‘rule of seven’ which states that you need to have contact with someone, in some form, seven times before they will buy from you. This could be said to work in writing as well, so the more times someone sees your name or hears a recommendation about you, or even reads a review of your book, the more chance there is that they will buy it.
Different Pricing Structures
When you write short stories, it is far easier to offer different price points which will be lower than what you would charge for a longer novel. A reader who has never read any of your work before might be hesitant to spend $10 or more on an epic novel which they may or may not enjoy, but they will happily spend 99 cents or so on a short story which will give them the introduction to you that they need to be more confident in buying your longer work.
For those who already know your work and enjoy it, if they see a new short story on sale for around a dollar, they won’t hesitate to buy it. Enough of these quick sales and you could be making a small profit. Remember, though, that it is incredibly hard to make a living as a full-time author and having another job or income stream may be useful.
Short stories are short – obviously. It’s their length that makes them so popular and is another good reason for writing them. Many people can’t devote hours and hours to reading a book unless they’re on vacation or have a lot of free time. Most people are so busy that reading, unfortunately, falls to the bottom of their list of things to do. If you offer these busy people a collection of short stories that they can dip in and out of they will be far more likely to read them knowing that they don’t need to invest the time to get to know a full character cast or remember important plot points if they haven’t been able to read for a week or more.
It Feels Good
For those who enjoy writing it feels amazing to write short stories because you can take a couple of hours to yourself and just get it down on paper. That endorphin rush is incredible; it’s a natural high that, along with a feeling of accomplishment at completely an entire story, will make you feel good for the rest of the day. It can create a great feeling when you have finished your writing tasks. Some people may seek alternative options to gain feelings of relaxation. If this may be the case, many websites are available for you, with additional accessories available. If this interests you, be sure to check it out. Endorphins can block pain, so making yourself write when you’re feeling unwell may even help you to feel better, at least for a while.
Trying New Things
When you write short stories, you can try lots of different ideas and methods. Writing a novel means having to stick to one style and one idea, and that takes a lot of energy – it takes a lot of planning too. Writing short stories is an entirely different thing altogether because you don’t have to plan; you can just start with a tiny idea, a fragment of a sentence, perhaps, and start writing with no idea where you’re going or who you’re going to get there. Some of the most interesting short stories start that way and if you’re excited by the idea that you can do anything, be anyone, go anywhere in a story then short story writing is going to be something that you enjoy.
Short stories allow writers to practice their craft too. With different styles coming through in different stories, a writer can work out what they enjoy the most so that if they do decide to write a novel, they already know which style works best for them, and which one they will be able to focus on for a much longer time.
Use Your Ideas
If you find that you are always coming up with ideas – more ideas that you could possibly use if you stuck to just writing novels – then why not put them into short stories? You can use them all then rather than just filing them away and forgetting about them. It’s a shame when that happens because some of those ideas might be absolutely amazing; they could be the one that people remember you for.
Using as many of your ideas as possible, perhaps even combining them to create one story, is a great idea and uses your creativity to the full.