Writing

3 Reasons New Writers Should Try Writing Short Stories.

ShortsA few years ago I began writing short stories and eventually took the plunge in submitting some of them into competitions.  After having little success, I became disheartened, especially after paying entry fees and receiving no feedback.  Eventually I gave up my short stories and began wondering if they were becoming a lost art.

Last year, however, I attended a Short Story Workshop and posted on my blog advice on Writing the Short Story.  Now I am delighted to see that lately there has been a bit of discussion about the short story form.  Due to people’s hectic lifestyles,  shorter attention spans and indie publishing, there is renewed interest – May was unofficially short story month.

On her website, Joanna Penn discussed 5 Ways Short Stories Can Boost Your Writing Career, and Anne R Allen had great explanations on why Short is The New Long: 10 Reasons Why Short Stories are Hot.

So for new, unpublished writers, I’ve come up with three reasons why you should try writing the short story:

1. Short stories help you get to the point quickly.

Short stories don’t need a lot of build-up on setting and character development, so you need to get to the action right away.  This enables you to help hook your reader in, which is a great help when you want to write longer pieces.  Also, getting to the point quicker can assist with writing your resolution – an added bonus if you struggle with endings.

2. Short stories tighten your writing.

With a much shorter word count than the novel, short story writing can help you with the editing process.  You need to use fewer words in order to get your message across, so you need to make every word count.  Entering competitions is a great way to help reach that all important quota (just because the form is shorter, it doesn’t mean they’re any easier to write).

3. Writing short stories helps build up a body of work.

Short stories are a lot less time consuming.  Novels can take months and even years to write – however, depending on the length, the first draft of some short stories can be written within a week, even within a day.  You receive quicker feedback from your beta readers, so you have a better understanding on how your writing is progressing.  A larger body of work can tell publishers that you are taking your writing seriously.

Feeling inspired by this resurgence, lately I’ve been bringing new life into some of my short stories – how about you?

What are your thoughts on the renewed interest in the short story? Do you write them? Have you ever entered any into competitions? Were you successful? Have you given up on competitions and submitted them to publications instead?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

Blogging · Writing

The Art of Slow Blogging.

galapagostortoisesmallAlthough I enjoy blogging, I have been experiencing blogging ‘burn-out’.  Between blogging, my studies and my writing, it has become a bit overwhelming.  This is why I have decided to join the ranks of the slow blogger.

Apparently, slow blogging has been around for a while.  I have only just discovered it, thanks to author Anne. R. Allen.  She wrote about The Slow Blog Manifesto and she makes some very convincing arguments on why writers should take it up.  The emphasis for slow blogging is on quality and not quantity.  This makes perfect sense, because as writers, our readers judge us by our content.  If we write something that grabs the readers’ attention, they’ll want to come back for more and this goes for our blog posts as well as our stories.  For the most part though, our time is better spent focusing on our stories.

Following my post on 5Ways to Bring back the Muse, I read another post by Anne about the overwhelmingly high expectations upon writers these days.  Once again, this is where slow blogging makes sense.  Time is important to readers and writers alike, and if you feel pressured into producing a high quantity of blog posts, not only will you as a writer feel burnt out, but readers will be inundated with too much in their inbox.

Other writers are beginning to explore slow blogging and questioning how often should fiction writers blog.  Author Jody Hedlund has also entered the debate on whether Blogging is a Time-Suck for Writers, and asking Do Agents and Editors Expect Novelists to Blog?

Blogging is a great way for writers to practice their art and connect with readers, yet everyone is different; what works for one does not necessarily work for others.  While some may thrive on being constantly on the go, others like myself, are not one of them.  Perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me, which is what makes slow blogging so appealing.

So, now that we have entered a new year, I will be taking slow blogging to heart.  I’ll be blogging on an intermittent basis.  Blogging will slow right down in order for me to concentrate on my priorities, which is complete my last year of studies and work on my various writing projects.

Ideas about blogging has changed and putting the emphasis back on what’s important – our writing.  This is what we as writers do best after all.

Have you discovered slow blogging? Have you suffered from blogging ‘burn-out’? Are you a writer who blogs or a blogger who writes? As readers, do you see blogging as a good way to connect with writers?

Image of Galapagos Tortoise by Debbie Johansson.