When I started writing I was set on completing a middle grade novel, but I wound up writing short pieces for magazines. There are lots of reasons to go this route. The word count is manageable, it's good practice on the way to writing something longer. It may be a short story that leads to a novel later on and the publishing credits are noticed by agents/publishers. Writing for magazines is also nice break when you're between projects.
I'm posting a Powerpoint I use in classrooms when I'm describing the process for writing for magazines.