I finished my first novel in 2009, and I was lost. I'd never even heard of a query letter. I did my best to read every article and piece of advice I could get my hands on, and back then, everyone said to build a writing career you must submit to literary journals. And I did. Lots of them.
But I've noticed lately that most novelists now don't submit to journals. I totally understand it in many ways. After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and our novels are our children. We put them on the pedestal of importance when we have free time, and rightly so. But there are some definite benefits to making time for other, smaller pieces.
Here are a few:
If you're wondering how you'll fit short fiction/poetry into your already hectic schedule, I get it. Surprisingly though, it may be easier than you think. There are times in our days when we have ten-fifteen free minutes, and it'd be difficult to make much headway on our novels in that amount of time. Or maybe you're stuck at the doctors office or are in line at the DMV -- that's when you pull out your phone and start writing. I do most of my short fiction writing on my phone, in fact.
I hope I've convinced you to submit and to experiment with shorter works. You won't regret it. Promise. :)