Improve Your Writing with the Hemingway App

Want to instantly improve your writing? Use the Hemingway app.

The world knows Ernest Hemingway for his punchy prose. Brief and active, his words evoke feeling. Plus, anyone can relate to Hemingway’s writing. He didn’t search for big words (although I sometimes like “hard” or obscure words).

If you want your writing to reflect the brevity-with-action that characterizes Hemingway’s writing, I’ve got the tool for you. The Hemingway app can also improve your productivity and reduce distractions.

hemingway app improve your writing

Hemingway Forces You to Improve Your Writing

The Hemingway app requires you to write better in many ways. Simple ways to improve your writing include:

  • Avoid adverbs
  • Use active voice rather than passive voice
  • Get rid of as many “to be” verbs as possible
  • Vary your sentence length
  • Break up your paragraphs (especially for web)
  • Avoid complicated sentences

Take an piece of text you have written, then copy and paste it into the Hemingway editor. The app will analyze your writing, looking for the worst offenders, based on the length of your piece.

Additionally, you will receive insight into the grade level of your writing. Aiming for a level of between seventh grade and tenth grade probably makes sense for most blogs. You want your writing to be readable by a wide swath of the population.

Once you enter your work into the editor, Hemingway takes over, making it easy to help you identify problem areas. It’s a quick and easy way to figure out how you can take your writing up a notch — just by making a few changes to your article.

Boost Your Writing Productivity

Hemingway can also boost your writing productivity. It’s designed to take over your screen to a certain degree. You can’t move the window containing Hemingway to the side. You can make it bigger or smaller, but my efforts to place Hemingway side by side with an Internet browser window were largely a failure.

It also helps that Hemingway confronts you with a blank page. There aren’t bells and whistles. You start writing, and that’s it. You can’t play around with formatting when you write straight into the Hemingway app. If you are looking to improve your writing speed, Hemingway can help because there isn’t anything to pull you away.

Ernest Hemingway improve your writing

At first, I found the blank aspect of Hemingway annoying. But then I realized that it is a great way to shut out distractions. Arrange matters so that Hemingway fills your screen, and you won’t have to worry about other distractions on your computer. There’s just you and the blank page. Nothing else to see. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Once you’re done, export the results to a text document on your desktop or even export it to html. Then copy and paste the text into your blog platform’s editor, and add formatting, links, images, and whatever else you want from there.

It does get distracting to write with the “edit” functionality turned on, though. During the writing phase of your article, click on the “Write” button. It will turn off the color coding, and stop showing you the word count. This allows you to just go for it. Once you complete your article, you can turn on the “Edit” feature and see where you stand.

Trying to edit as you go is often a frustrating effort that slows you down. The fastest way to write articles is to sit down and focus on them, and then go back to edit.

Bottom Line

While you might not want to write exactly like Hemingway, chances are that your writing could benefit from a little tightening up. Just getting rid of passive voice and cutting down on the adverbs can make your writing more dynamic.

This app can help you improve your writing, while boosting your productivity. I’ve found it worth the $6.99 I paid for the desktop version. And, when I have a little time, I might return to old posts and use Hemingway to clean them up a little bit.

What do you think? Could something like Hemingway improve your writing?


3 Responses to Improve Your Writing with the Hemingway App

  1. While not in the app which I only know from the above post, the post reminded me of Hemingway’s concept of “the one true sentence.” I have found the concept to be very effective in both my own memoir writing and in the writing of people I have coached and edited. Hemingway’s one true sentence is an effective tool for better writing.

    Every piece of writing—-whether a book or a section of a book–contains a sentence that encapsulates what the piece is either trying to say or avoiding saying. This is called the “one true sentence.” Elsewhere in your story you are probably trying to maintain appearance or the public version of a lifestory but in the one true sentence truth reveals itself. Once you find that sentence in your writing, you can grasp immediately if you are on target with your writing or not.

    For instance, a story that is ostensibly about how generous your mother was may contain the sentence: “My mother was always amazed at her ability to be strategic about her giving.”

    Now that sentence, “My mother was always amazed at her ability to be strategic about her giving,” forces you to reevaluate your mother’s generosity. Since when is generosity “strategic!” In spite of the dozens and dozens of other sentences, this one true sentence forces you to pay attention to what you are writing. Now you have to stop and consider the nature of your mother’s generosity. You may just end up writing a new piece, one that is more faithful to what was really happening. Often these stories that spring to mind are the family-approved versions. The one true sentence is the writer’s unconscious making an effort to tell the truth.

    There are other times when the one true sentence does not force a rewriting but merely suggests strengthening what is being said.

    Try reading something you have written with the one true sentence in mind. Once you find it (and it may take a while to develop the knack), the one true sentence may just provide you a new tool to invigorate your writing.

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