In this article, I’m going to talk about why writing short stories might be the perfect gateway to starting your idea. As writers, we often find ourselves with a plethora of ideas that spring from our minds, waiting to be fleshed out onto paper. For various reasons, excuses are around every corner. As a result, ideas often stall past an outline, a brainstorming session, or even a fleeting vision that tickles one’s day.
The beginning of a story may seem daunting to start. The first few sentences, or even words, force you to think of something eye-catching, only to find your gears futilely spinning in place.
Perhaps you may have outlined a bit too much, finding yourself trapped as to how to take it to the next step. In your mind, the ideas seem sound, but on paper, a jumbled mess is all that appears.
Or you simply lack the time to take on such a time-intensive venture as writing a full novel. After all, many people only write as a hobby; a side-gig, or a moment of constructive free time. Surely, there are many other responsibilities and distractions that you would rather do. That is the voice of hesitation hammering in the back of your mind. A natural warning that writing is venturing into unknown territory.
It takes motivation to overcome the fear of the unknown. Approaching with a steeled heart prepares yourself for the mess of words you wade through.
For new, fledging writers, the prospect of this journey can leave you wishing to stay in the safety of your home, where everything is familiar. That is why so many potential writers drop their pens after a few chapters or a few pages. After seeing little progress with less than satisfactory results, many choose to abandon the journey, never to pick it up again.
In that case, why not set your goals shorter? Aim for a smaller piece of writing that satisfies that craving but will not weigh you down with expectations.
Use Short Story to Test Your Ideas
Writing a short story that teases out those immature ideas is a brilliant method to test whether anything will come to fruition.
Worry not about including all the details that are outlined and simply let yourself dive into the feeling of that idea.
Feel free to messily hack your way through grassy language and muddy plot terrain. Let yourself be swept by the currents of where your thoughts take you. Stumble into plot holes that you never would have expected. Or maybe you might encounter an unscalable wall that takes you in a completely different direction.
Once you find yourself at some landmark on your outline, close out your travel. Only then should you look back and see how far you’ve gone.
Did you write more than you think you could? Or were obstacles causing you to zigzag all over?
Did you find the ‘X’ marked on your outline map? Or have you ended up in a completely different place than planned?
A writing session that goes exactly as planned is a laughable coincidence. A hopeful outcome. Find success in the short story you have just written. And then look back and see where the trip could have been smoother.
Creating a short story of your idea tells you what other preparations may have been missing. Some ideas may not even be worth pursuing in the first place.
That will make it easier to know what the next idea, and the next one after that, may yield.
A shiny new idea may only look promising when viewed at the starting point. Only by beginning the process will one find out if it is worthy of a longer trip.