Short-form Writing is My Bread and Butter

Fewer than 500 words can earn you a living

Maria Shimizu Christensen
3 min readOct 2, 2021


Photo by Bhuwan Bansal on Unsplash

I’m lazy. I’m also busy. Reconciling the two is a challenge, but short-form writing helps. A lot.

Not only is it easier to churn out short pieces, they’ve garnered some of my highest reads and earnings despite rarely being distributed. They get consistent views over time — weeks later — and account for the bread and butter of my earnings as a writer.

What is “bread and butter” when it comes to earnings, you ask? Think of it as a whole bunch of lower earning pieces that amount to enough money to pay the bills when you add them all together. The key is quantity.

You don’t want to ignore quality, because short-form writing has to offer something useful, helpful, informative, entertaining, or funny in few words. That makes you scrutinize every word you write, and writing it is often more difficult than long-form writing. But, quantity can earn a living.

Long-form writing is like a steak dinner, or a fancy dessert, to me. It’s special. It takes more time to write, and I generally have to spend at least a little time researching things and looking up links. The quality is there but there’s far less quantity. It provides the extra money I can spend on a steak dinner. Or dessert.

So what exactly is short-form writing?

If you Google the question you’ll find answers ranging from 100 to 1,000 words. Not exactly helpful. I employ two forms — one page articles and 150 words.

One page of a Word document is short-form. I can get somewhere around 500 words on one page, depending on format and content. I don’t worry about how much shorter a piece is than one page, it just needs to be over 150 words and under 2 pages.

150 word stories really fall into micro short-form, and I love writing them. It’s surprising sometimes how few words it takes to write something important or thought-provoking. You might think it seems like lazy writing — and sometimes it is — but as I said before, it’s difficult to pare things down to the essentials and it requires technical skill.

I submit every 150 word article to The Shortform. This publication has more than…



Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life.