That's the point I wanted to make but you made it a lot better than I probably would For someone like me who's tried to write a novel since I was in my early teens but has yet to finish one, trying my hand at writing short stories has been really positive for several reason. First of all, like hawls points out, I can finally complete a first draft. That means I finally have a complete story to work with and I finally get to work on other important skills as well, like getting feedback, editing, rewriting etc. Second of all, completing a first draft, then moving on to "stage 2" (feedback, editing) and so on until you have a complete story that is finished, gives a strong feeling of accomplishment that I don't think should be underestimated. It's a good feeling to not put away a story because you got tired of it but because it's actually done. A short story has a plot, a protagonist, a beginning, middle and end but, at least for me personally, it's a length that I can actually finish, edit and complete. And I absolutely think you can learn a lot by working on 'a smaller scale' (no offense, short novellists) before starting your novel. Which I'll get back to at some point! The final reason I enjoy writing short stories is because I love the creative freedom (see below) and I think it teaches me a lot that I can bring into novel writing at a later stage. Allow me to use a music analogy; I think some musicians are experts at listening and learning from other genres and artists they don't usually listen to or that are very different from the kind of music they make. A guitarist in one of my favorite heavy/screamo bands once admitted that he stole a certain rhythm from Madonna! And I think that's a great thing, to not shy away from something because it's not necessarily 'your style' or 'thing', but to listen and try to learn and maybe it's something that'll show up in your own music at some point. When I'm writing a novel, all my thoughts, planning, plotting and writing go into one story, one world and a certain set of characters, for months (if not years) at a time (and I still can't finish a first draft...!). And it's all in one style or genre or whatever you wanna call it (one style of music). When I'm writing short stories I can write one genre, with one certain plot and one type of character one day and something completely different the next. I feel like it gives me a very wide creative freedom if that makes sense and it allows me to test and learn from a variety of different genres and styles (music styles I don't usually listen to) without having to commit to a year of novel writing. I can write something really dark and depressing one day and something light and funny the next, or allow supernatural things to happen in one story but not in the next and so on. Finally, I just wanna state the obvious that sometimes seems lost in this thread. It's not a competition. If people like writing short stories and think people can learn the craft of writing from it, that doesn't mean you are inferior or a lesser writer because you only write novels. It takes a lot of talent and skill to write a good novel and just the same to write a good short story. Sometimes that seems lost on some people, although I'm not pointing fingers. Then again, I'm a simple man. I write because I love writing and creating stories. Sometimes an idea fits better in a short story and I enjoy that. Sometimes it fits a novel and start planning and expanding that. I write both and enjoy both and think you can learn a lot from both.