Write the thing that calls to you

I’ve promised to write a short story.

The reason why I promised to write a short story is, funnily enough, a long story.

(I’m good at terrible puns.)

I’ve changed the subject of my short story about three times. I’ve worked on something else when I was supposed to be writing that short story. I’ve decided to write a poem instead. I’ve gone back to the first idea I had, and then put off writing it again.

Writing a short story is hard!

I’ve written two novel drafts. (Well, three if you count that terrible first one which was consigned to languish in a metaphorical desk drawer forever due to lack of plot.) I love writing novels. I’ll happily write novels, and I don’t find them nearly as difficult to write as short stories.

The reason why I struggle to write short stories is, I think, because I find it difficult to make myself care about characters and a plot that I know I’m only going to be working on for a relatively short amount of time and a relatively small number of pages. When I invent characters that I come to love, and when I think of a plotline that genuinely excites me, I get so enthused that I want to work with those for years, for hundreds of pages. When an idea grips me, I want to fill an entire novel with it.

That’s not to say I dislike short stories. On the contrary: I love reading them, and I admire people who can write them – just as I admire people who can write poetry and screenplays (I have no idea how to write those, either).

Writing is a calling. It may require skill and talent and craft, and many other things, but above all it requires passion and enthusiasm. And, as a writer, you need to write the thing that calls to you – whether it’s a short story, a novel, or maybe, sometimes, just a blog post.


EllieCourse Co-ordinator