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.
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!