The worst place you can be as an aspiring writer is to have a couple of dozen stories partially complete, but no finished first drafts. I ran into this problem a lot early on. I could spend an entire night going from story to story without ever actually finishing anything.
Sure, it’s good to have an idea file full of settings, character profiles, opening scenes, and plot outlines. It’s a necessary part of writing and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do that. What I am saying is that eventually you need move past the planning phase and pick one of those stories from the idea file and finish it.
Do it in one sitting.
Pick one of your favorite unfinished projects, or at least one that you already have a decent outline for, and head to your writing place. Lock yourself up with a pot of coffee (or any other appropriate adult beverage) and don’t rejoin society until you’ve reached the end.
In a way, this is similar to taking the NaNoWriMo approach of getting the words out. Only in this case, you’re getting the plot out. Don’t worry about style or the quality of your writing at this point. Go back and clean it up after it’s over. Just freakin’ get it done.
When you’ve finished your first draft, congratulate yourself. Trust me, the first time you can say “The End” to a short story, you’ll feel great. You have just taken the first step toward publishing.
After the rush is gone, put the story away for a day or two, and spend some serious free time thinking about it. Try to go through the entire storyline in your head and figure out if there are any major problems with the plot. Play through the characters’ actions in your head. Are they acting like the characters you want them to be?
Now that the fun and easy part is over (the writing), you are ready to get to the not-so-fun and not-so-easy part. The rewriting.
But don’t worry. After the rewrite, things get fun again. Or worse, pending on your point of view.
Either way, then next step is where you try to get your story published.