Subtraction is Addition

Most of the time I’m sent a text with too many words, or a high level vocabulary, I stop reading it.

That’s not because I disrespect them. I feel like they disrespect me. I like simplicity. Simplicity is getting the point across with the least amount of words possible.

You understand the topic if you can explain something with simple words and minimal jargon. That’s where the saying “Explain Like I’m 5” term was created.

Simplicity is considerate. You appreciate someone’s time and you allow them to consume your thoughts without extra work.

Most of the time when writing, your first draft will have as many words as possible on a page. After the first draft, you will begin the editing phase. During the editing phase, you should be removing as many words as possible.

Derek Sivers gave me the idea of placing one sentence on each line. Does that line actually make sense to be there? If not, cut it.

Dr. Seuss wrote ‘The Cat In The Hat with only 236 different words. His editor said he couldn’t write a book with only 50 different words. Dr. Seuss proved that false when he wrote Green Eggs and Ham, one of the bestselling children’s books of all time.

Subtracting adds value to your work. Just as subtracting adds value to your life.

The world pushes us to add things to our lives, but adding is not always what needs to be done.

Subtracting things from your life now will allow additions in the future.

Addition causes bloat. When you add too many things you become a hoarder. Don’t become a hoarder. Hoarding comes in many different forms. You can hoard items, thoughts, words, and more. Minimalism is freedom.

“In the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out.”

Austin Kleon

Addition often comes as a debt to yourself. Like a credit card with 25% interest, but you keep adding unnecessary items anyway.

The snowball of adding things becomes an avalanche. The avalanche comes in the form of distractions. Distractions from the world and it’s creativity.

Published on: January 7, 2024