Flexing the writing muscle

To be honest, writing is hard.  Creating a brand new world is hard.  Creating characters who are almost living, breathing, changing creatures is hard.  Creating and maintaining a narrative that brings the reader on a breathless and captivating journey is hard.

I’ve never managed to maintain a long narrative.  The best I’ve done is a 40k word short story for my HSC major work (part of Australia’s university entrance assessments), and I never did love that piece of work too much either.

Now I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.  As I try to plan, all I’ve managed to do is find gaping plot holes in own proposed narrative.  The temptation to procrastinate is strong (I acknowledge I greatly lack discipline.)

Since I’ve never managed to finish more than a short story in my life and I’ve not actually written a short story in the last 4-5 years anyway, I thought I might be better off flexing my writing muscle by returning to short stories before trying to write a whole novel (or, gasp, trilogy!)

My plan of approach is to set myself a genre, use a random image generator to help that spark of inspiration, and try to write a couple of short stories.

Hopefully that exercise will help get my writing muscle going, and hopefully I’ll produce a few gems through this exercise too!

The most common advice I hear/read for aspiring writers is “write everyday, anything, something.”  What are your tips or tricks to try and improve your writing capabilities?