I used to write a tonne of short stories and probably have a whole box full of incomplete ones in my parent’s attic. That’s because when I was studying Creative Writing, we were often assigned short stories as it was a much easier way to complete a writing exercise and for the tutor to assess our writing ability. I kept this practice up in the few years immediately following graduation and did fairly well. The first story I submitted to a contest was placed and included in an anthology. But that was 5 years ago and I haven’t had any success with short stories since then.
I have written a few short stories since then and submitted a few to contests, but otherwise I have all but abandoned short stories. I used to set targets for how many stories I was going to submit in each year and fell behind every time. This year I have submitted a grand total of one story, and that was only last month. This is because once I became serious about completing my novel (which is very close to the end of the second draft!) and getting published, I realised that I only have a certain amount of free time each week for ‘personal writing’. Working on a short story takes time away from my novel, meaning it will take me longer to complete it and it is more likely that I will miss my self-imposed deadline.
There are some exceptions, like when I get a really good idea that just won’t leave me alone. If I read about a contest or publication I am particularly interested in and think I have a shot at then I will submit something to them. That’s why I have still submitted a few stories to Magic Oxygen, since they plant a tree for every story they receive.
I’ve also taken a quick break from my novel right now because I read about a publisher that accepts the type of writing I do and I had an old story lingering on my hard drive that I’m adapting for that publisher. Even if they don’t accept it I can always submit it to another publication or even publish it as an Amazon short. That would actually give me a good test run for when I eventually publish my novel.
The only problem is that the short story is now running away with me and becoming longer than anticipated. And I’m becoming overly attached to the characters in the same way I do with my novel characters. And it may turn into a novella. This might have been a mistake…