A month or two ago, I wrote a short story for a contest. Prompt was for a first date. There weren’t many entries, and the prize was just points for the website hosting the contest, but – I won! Depending on how I do in the flash fiction contest, I might try to entire a contest every month or so. Maybe even some with real prizes.
There was a debate on one of the writing sites about whether being a published short story author eases your chances of publishing a novel. My story’s far from being sent to an agent (I realized I need to write the whole thing in first person POV, make the female MC stronger, and make her husband less of a jerk), but who knows. Maybe in that time I could get a couple things published?