Writing Short: Should You Bother If You also Write Long?

long-and-shortPerhaps because I’ve been judging a series of flash fiction contests, I’ve been noodling over ideas for short stories and articles.  In the last four years, my writing career has taken off and I’ve been writing a lot of books.  I turned in my 11th right before Christmas.  But before that I did a lot of shorter work and the reality is that I miss writing short.

Still, is it worthwhile to take time away from my book work to write short?  As I was wondering this, I ran across tbe Writer’s Edit piece “5 Reasons Novelists Should Write Short Stories.”  Reading it helped my own thoughts on the topic gel.

Diversity if a good thing.  Just as diversity is a good thing when you are talking about people, diversity is a good thing in your writing as well.  A book can take months to research and months more to write.  There are times you are going to get stuck on something — the fact you can’t find, the scene that hasn’t come together, etc.  You are going to need something else to do.  Why not write something short?  It will help give you that . . .

Can do feeling.  Short things generally take a lot less time to finish.  One problem that writers often have is a lack of validation.  We sit and work on something for months without that sense of a job well done.  Working on something short can give you that boost in much less time and sometimes we really need that boost to keep going.

Experience.  That’s another reason to write short.  The more you write, the more polished your writing becomes.  While you’re researching a book, you can be writing short pieces and developing greater polish.

Exposure.  And the more you get your work out there, the more exposure you will have. That’s important because editors google names.  This blog has helped me get work.  My short pieces on education web sites have helped me get work.  In short, having my name out there has helped me get work.

Yes, the time spent writing short is time not spent writing long.  But time spent writing yields experience, polish and exposure.  The three have generally served me well and, because of that, I’m going to continue writing both short and long.