While reading and watching the SBI Action Guide, I was completely convinced of my ability to build a profitable website. - Svetlana Rubejov, SBI! member since 2012

How to Add by Subtracting

Written By: Cath Andrews in Strategies for Business Growth | September 8, 2017

How to Add by Subtracting

A chef adds flavor to a sauce by reducing it. The water that evaporates adds intensity to the ingredients that remain.

film director tells a more focused story through editing. Deleted scenes, as excellent as they may be (check these deleted scenes from one of my favorite movies of all-time), get snipped to optimize the story.

A writer isn’t done when there’s nothing left to say. She’s finished when there’s nothing left to remove! ✂️…

So here’s a clever little hack to try…

Aim to reduce everything you write by 25%. Then by 25% more. Pretend your life depends on it — you’ll be astounded at how much isn’t necessary.

Yes, it takes more time. As French philosopher Blaise Pascal first said (Mark Twain said it later)…

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

In business, it can be the difference between getting read vs. deleted! So…

Taking that extra time is an investment. Your writing, and your reader’s reaction, and therefore your business, will be stronger for it.

Need a Hand Getting the Words Right?

The free Hemingway App helps you say more with less.

Hemingway App

It prompts you to simplify long, hard-to-read run-on sentences and overblown language. And it highlights stylistic no-no’s like unnecessary adverbs and the passive voice.

Want to get off to a quick start? Check out this video from Mary Schaefer.

Go to it! Get short!

P.S. We’re not saying to chop it so short that your writing lacks necessary depth. Perfect writing length is like the perfect length of ribbon to wrap a gift. How long should that be?

Long enough to get the job done perfectly, and not an inch longer.

Here’s a chopping exercise….

Did this P.S. add useful depth, or should we have chopped it?


Have the opposite problem to writing too much? Here’s a cool tool to help beat writer’s block!

Cath Andrews

Cath Andrews

Cath is Head of SiteSell's Content Team, where she writes on a wide variety of topics for new and experienced Solopreneurs. She lives between her homes in Italy and Scotland, and in her spare time writes prolifically for her two SBI! websites.
Cath Andrews

Latest posts by Cath Andrews (see all)

  • Great info!

  • Kai Hu

    sounds great!. From what I can see, it isn’t free, however. It’s $19.99. Did you see a place to get it free?

    • Hi there Kai,

      No, you should see the free version from that link – try this: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

      • Hi Cath! Thanks for your reply. 🙂 So… I went to that link you shared, clicked the “desktop app” — green button. that brought me to a page that says it’s $19.99. How do you get to the free version? Could you send me the link? Thank you!

        • OK so you don’t need to click on the button. Just use the app exactly as it appears on your screen when you click the link. Where you see their text, just cut it and then paste your own text there. 🙂

          • Oh… OK, now I get it… you delete the text on the page and copy in your own text…. cool! thanks for your help and patience, Cath!

          • My pleasure – glad we worked it out in the end!

Join The Solo Build It! Community

Get the latest in best-practices and advice for your online business. Let each new article be delivered to your Inbox for free.