So, I started experimenting by writing short stories. It paid off. My first flash fiction short story (480 words) was published recently in Every Writer's Resource.
Writing short stories will help you improve your writing in a number of ways. It helps you tighten your writing, increase your creative thinking, and you will learning more about the skill of writing. In addition, some will argue that writing short stories, may be better for the new writer, in the long run. That remains to be seen. Anne Allen discusses why-you-should-be-writing-short-fiction on her blog. Check it out.
Also check out some of the sites I use to practice and improve writing skills. One of the things I do on a daily basis is one word. This exercise sends one word, every day to your email. You have 60 seconds to free write. It is a great way to open your mind, let your imagination roam, and if by chance you suffer from writer's block, this will help.
Other sites like five-sentence-fiction offer a single word as a prompt to write a five sentence story. But, probably one of my favorites is dailyfig.figment.com. This site is offers a daily writing prompt and so much more. It is a great resource for writing advice. I'm sure there are others.
The resources available are many to help all of us succeed as writers. Go for it! I'm pulling for you!