How You Can Share Stories Without Clicking Share: The First Steps To Writing & Publishing Short Stories Offline
Confession time: I have not always been a fan of the word content.
(Though as an expression of my mood and at-peaceness with the world, yes, I’m all for being content with my lot in life.)
But I recognize when I have been beaten. Nearly 46% of millennials post content online (that catch-all term for photos, videos, memes, and more) they’ve made, and that number rises to 60% when we take into account publishing and sharing more generally.
It’s very much a form of communication, but it can all feel a bit impersonal when it’s reduced to numbers like that. And while it may be the course for the near future, that doesn’t mean one has to follow that course every day.
That’s why, every once in a while, it’s nice to unplug. Unplugging itself can almost feel like a radical act (and it’s an achievement we believe should be rewarded!), whether you’re out there baking bread, reading books, or some other crazy analog adventure.
And while millennials are considered some of the best social storytellers, you might be surprised to learn it’s still satisfying to learn to tell stories offline, too.
So this is how you can write - and share - your story away from the algorithm-heavy, content-hungry machine we all love and adore.
What You Need To Write A Short Story (Without The Internet)
I suppose this area is misleading because you are reading it on the internet, but pretty soon you can stop reading the internet and start focusing on the fun of your very own short story. Here’s what you need:
Grab A Pen & Paper - As the first point in this The Write Practice list suggests, getting your story out as fast as possible is important to your creative flow. Though you might type more words per minute than you can write by hand, the temptation is too strong to edit as you go. Rather than get caught up in fancy line breaks and adjustments, go with the flow of pen on paper and let the story come to you.
Know At Least 5 Words - This breakdown from Jerry Jenkins gives you a few target short story lengths. Knowing your goal can help you pace your beginning, middle, and end, from the blazingly fast Micro Fiction (5 to 300 words) to the more leisurely Traditional Short Story (1,500 to 5,000 words).
- Embrace These 5 Elements - Don’t get caught up on nailing everything in your first draft. Maybe one character’s name changes. Maybe you slip back and forth between tenses. You’ll fix that later. Just know that a solid story will touch on character, setting, plot, conflict, and theme. Keeping them in mind is the first step to finding that right balance for your new short story.
This is just the first step. Soon, you’ll have a draft that can be tinkered with, revised, and released into the world. While the internet is playing a larger and larger part in that publication process (and there’s no denying the benefits of some of the amazing writers groups and writers communities online), there are still ways to keep going that are relatively unplugged.
Most bookstores have new journals, anthologies, and collections of fiction you can look over. Some may still even accept classic submission methods like stamped envelopes! But times are a-changin’, and you may have to be willing to bend (but not break!) as you get your unplugged short story into a traditional, printed journal.
It can be a bit more of a process, but you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at the results. What about you? Do you still leave room in your writing process for a bit of analog fun?