How To Write A Short Story Every Day

A simple guide to getting stories written

I love writing short stories.

Maybe a little too much as I tend to write them rather than doing other things like talking to people and going outside.

But, there are a ton of reasons to write short stories.

One, you get the rapturous joy of finishing something. There is absolutely nothing better than typing “The End” at the bottom of a piece.

Now, if you write books you get that feeling once, maybe twice a year. But with short stories you can get a small piece of that satisfaction far more often.

There are plenty of other reasons to write short stories as well.

One, because of their length you can try out ideas that you wouldn’t normally want to write. With a short story, you don’t need a grand story capable of filling out an entire books.

All you need is enough story for seven pages at most. Heck, you can go a lot smaller than that. I love flash fiction. And with that you can go done to 100 words if you really wanted to.

I mean Ernest Hemingway once told a story with six words, so you never have to worry about going too short.

And it can be like the minor leagues for your ideas. For example, you start working on an idea and you realize that there is far more story than you thought there’d be.

You keep writing and writing, and quickly you realize that this isn’t a short story. It’s a book.

So, you bump it up to the majors and start working on it like the bigger project that it is.

In keep with this idea, short stories allow you to experiment. Want to write a story without writing the letter “m?” I don’t why you’d want to but you could do it.

Want to write a story completely in second person? A short story would handle that better.

Heck, recently, I tried to write a story using only dialogue. I failed but here it is:

Now, let’s get to the writing.

So, why should you write a short story every day?

Well, it’s a challenge. It’s always good to push yourself.

Let’s say you do manage to write one every day. In a year, you’d have 365 short stories.

Maybe a lot of them don’t work. But I’m sure someone of them would. That’s 365 opportunities to experiment. Imagine all the ideas you could work out if you had all those ideas down on paper.

Even if you pare it down by a third, you still have over a hundred stories.

I’m sure many of you are like me and tend to write in your head. I’ll have dozens of stories swirling around and it can be tempting to just keep them there.

So, if you can get them done, even just the bones of the story, then it will help in the long run.

Or, you write down the idea and never get around to the story.

I’ve done that a lot too.

So if you are committed to writing a story every day you can make a dent in that long list of story ideas.

Plus, I don’t know how many times I’ve had an idea kicking around that I really liked, but when I finally got around to writing it I found the story didn’t work at all.

So, here’s how you can start writing a story every day.

First, the night before, I have what I’m going to write ready the night before. I usually start with the title. Then, I write the ending. Usually, I just put a note what I want the ending to be so I don’t forget it.

Once, I have the title and the ending the story pretty much writes itself. It’s just a simple matter of getting to the end.

That’s the next tip for writing one every day.

Start as close to the end as possible. Far too many stories I read sound like the beginning of a longer work. It should be the other way around. You need a full story including a conclusion, otherwise you’re just writing a scene.

And, don’t be afraid to go short. There’s really no point in trying to hit an arbitrary word count. If the story is only 700 words then that’s all it needs. Even if it’s only 300 words, as long as it has a beginning, middle, and end, you have a story and to add more will just muddle the story.

And if you’re worried about coming up with new ideas, you will be surprised how many you think off when you’re writing. Every time I write a story I end up with 3 or 4 ideas after. That’s 3 or 4 new stories.

Also, every time you have a twist or turn in the story, you can write a similar story where the character makes a different decision.

So, get a title, get an ending, and get writing.

You’ll be writing a story every day in no time.

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.

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