One of my writing objectives for this year is to become more prolific. In the past it would take me forever to write a story, edit it and get it to the stage where I was happy with it. In fact, I was very often never happy with it yet would give up on it before it was ready and move onto the next one.
Short stories, despite (by their very nature!) being short can often take a stupidly long time to get to an acceptable stage. Indeed, I’m still working on a story I started four years ago, and sometimes it’s difficult to know when to stop. However, what I’m finding now is that by focusing more on flash fiction, I’m producing work very quickly and this has a very positive psychological effect. Granted the piece might be super short but often the hardest part of writing, for me anyway can be thinking of a good idea. Once the idea is there, it’s not so difficult to get some sort of story down. Therefore by getting into the habit of producing lots of very short stories within a short space of time, you’re effectively exercising your creativity, so that as soon as you see a picture or phrase or hear an anecdote, you start to naturally concoct a story, and once you’ve finished one, you mentally move onto thinking of a new one.
I’ve also found that a piece of flash fiction can either be a standalone piece or developed into a short story or scene in a novel, so for many reasons it’s a useful genre to try to write. I’ve already produced more writing in the first four months of this year than I did in the whole of last year so I feel quite happy so far.