One thing that we've learned, in a decade plus of helping people write and preserve their life stories, is that longer isn't necessarily better. Of course, if you have your heart set on writing a magnum opus, knock yourself out! But most of us don't have the time or inclination.
In conjunction with our Daily Writing Challenge (which you can still sign up for if you haven't yet), we thought we'd show you some books we've done that feature a collection of short stories. Each of these clients committed to writing regularly, perhaps on a lunch hour or early in the morning. After a certain time, they ended up with a wonderful collection of short vignettes.
We recommend this process for everyone who wants to preserve their life stories. (We call it the Low Hanging Fruit method.) Writing this way, one random story at a time, is much easier than trying to write a chronological account in chronological order. Many people use this collection of short stories as a springboard to write an integrated account, adding transitions and commentary as they find an order that makes sense.
But some of our clients decided to leave well enough alone, and publish a collection of short stories more or less as is. The results are always charming. We may not get the entire picture of a person's life, but the stories read more as a conversation--as if you were sitting down to dinner with the author, hearing the stories one at a time.
If you are following our Daily Writing Challenge, you will end up with a collection of short stories. It's up to you, of course, what you do with them. But these books may give you some ideas, and convince you that sometimes, short is sweet.