Yuan-Ming asked Robin Sloan:

Hi Robin, really enjoyed Penumbra! What's your tip or suggestion for making war with writer's block/apathy? I haven't published anything yet, but all I seem to have are a lot of loosely organized pieces (rants really) that meander and never seem to coalesce into something larger. Do I sort through the pieces or do I give up for a while and come back? Thanks for reading!

Robin Sloan This is always a good question. I really only made progress as a writer when I started publishing short stories—some of them very short indeed, just a couple thousand words. (And keep in mind these were self-published: on my website, in Amazon's Kindle Store.)

I think the feeling of *finishing* something is very healthy and productive. It's also addictive. It's very very difficult to finish an entire novel when you're an inexperienced writer. (It's difficult even when you're an experienced writer.) A 2,000-word story is a lot more tractable. And if you can write a 2,000-word story, you can certainly write a 4,000-word story… and if you can write a 4,000-word story, you can write 6,000… and you just keep going, until suddenly you're writing novels.

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