I started a year ago. I want to learn how to write. I sat a goal, a novella in 24 months. No idea about what. The advice you get on learning how to write is, write. So i practise by writing short stories. I had problems finishing them. So I started posting to the contest here. I force myself to post something each month, both flash and sort. Now I am 14 months into this. Not an inch closer to a novella. I assumed that it would be hard SF or space opera or thriller as this is what I read. But… Does it really help to write short story in preparation for a novella? I can't see me writing 20000 words the way I handle say 3000 words? (usually shorter) And… Looking back on what I have written I find that most of my stories are sort of the same mode. Although I try to follow the prompt they all tend to be small, cute, romantic, funny stories involving relations between two or three characters. There are usually fragments of my experiences inside them. Of course exaggerated, bent, taken out of context, but still, I can see it. Is this the true storyteller in me? Should I force myself to write in another way than I “naturally” do? I can't see my mode/style fitting hard SF or thriller or space opera. Can't say I am upset about it. I will give it three years, and we will see what comes out of it. But could some of you experienced writers say something about: Does it really help to write short story in preparation for a novella/novel? Should you force yorself to write in another way than you “naturally” do?