Kill Your Darlings (in Writing and Business)

Editing can be quite painful because it requires you to delete portions of your writing that you may particularly like — but may not be pertinent to making the sale or telling your story.

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch said it this way in his 1916 publication “On the Art of Writing”:

Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.

Both William Faulkner and Stephen King echoed Couch’s sentiments. King says in his book On Writing:

…kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings…

While this advice is given specifically to writers, I believe it applies equally to entrepreneurs.

How many different business projects are you currently working on right now?

Probably too many.

It’s the curse of the entrepreneur: Too many ideas and not enough time to effectively execute them all.

Right now, I’ve got more than a dozen different business projects at various stages of development. And that’s not counting client projects.

These projects are my darlings, but some of them need to be killed off (or sold off), especially if I want the most promising ones to survive.

What “darlings” do you need to kill?

-Ryan M. Healy

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Ryan Healy

Ryan Healy is a freelance copywriter, list manager, and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and