I write this title assuming that you, the reader, are in fact a writer too. And as a writer, you know the importance of habit.
Habit is the foundation of writing.
It isn’t something that is sprinted or completed quickly, it’s something that you practice and eventually hone.
But habits are tough to adopt, unless they offer us some sort of instant gratification, of course.
Writing, however, offers no such thing.
It’s a gruelling and demanding activity that demands too much from the mind and body. George Orwell once wrote (in his book Why I Write)
Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
And he’s right. There’s no reason someone should write unless they feel they have something good to say. And getting that something good across to the reader is like undergoing surgery. It will (and better yet, if it’s really worth saying, it SHOULD) tear you apart.
So, on the back of this, here are three reasons you need to be writing short stories, and daily.
1. It develops your abilities
Character development, grammar, plot development… short stories require a lot of writing skill in only a short space.
More importantly though, short stories help you develop your ability to be concise with what you’re saying, which is more valuable than anything.
Did you ever read Catch 22 by Joseph Heller? I did, and it was 200 pages too long. I understood the point behind the book after about four or five chapters. I know it took Heller years and years to write (eight years in total I think) but I found there to be too much fluff and not enough substance.
Cut the crap and keep it short.
2. It keeps you motivated
Coming back to the notion of instant gratification, short stories — especially published short stories — help you with the desire to be heard and valued as a writer.
Committing to eight years of writing without a soul reading your work is a challenge in itself. I’m not to say it can’t be done, but by publishing regular short stories, you can reap the rewards and channel that motivation into the work you’re really trying to commit to.
3. It develops habit!
I’ll keep this point brief because it’s obvious. By writing regular short stories, you can build an unbreakable writing routine that’ll have you churning out the words in no time.
So, in the words of Stephen King
Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.