When I was doing a Writing Course years ago, I remember being appalled when asked to cut down a short story by half. Impossible!
But, no, it's not, and the good thing was that it gave me confidence to edit more effectively in the future. No line is ever inviolable, and no word is so perfect that something else can't substitute for it - if you need to chop things back. The great thing about the English language is that you can almost invariably find a synonym for any word.
I posted the following on Facebook today:
For years we've been getting the nasal spray Flixonase in a plastic squirter. Simple and not too unenvironmental.
Now the product has morphed into a wide plastic package - the kind you have to use an axe to get into - and most of what's inside the package is air. Not only do these packets take up much more room on the shelf at the pharmacy, but they are a total waste of resources. Neither the packaging nor the container is reusable in any sense.
I attached photos of the package, front and back, including one of the previous models for comparison.
Plenty of room on Facebook, so I could use as many words as I wanted, and play a little with the text.
But I wanted to put the same thing on Twitter, and of course, even with their doubling of the size of a tweet a couple of years ago, you're still limited in how many characters you can use.
So I called on my old skills, and produced this:
Exactly 280 characters!