Tag Archives: Hemingway App

Writing Apps for Every Writer

Writers may not be cooks, knives at the ready, but we certainly need our own set of tools to get the job done. The problem is what works for one writer may not (and usually doesn’t) work for every writer. There are no set rules: don’t use a bread knife to carve a chicken, for instance. If the bread knife leads to a finished novel, then fuck rules, right? Instead, focus on which tools work best for you, which brings me to writing applications.

To be clear, I will be focusing on internet-based, no downloading necessary writing applications in this post (the majority of which are free). In the course of my research, I was a bit stunned by how many options are available to today’s writers. Below I’ve included some of my favorites. Take a look, and see how incorporating the writing apps below into your creative process could help you be a more productive writer.

750 Words

I’ve been using 750 Words for less than a week, but so far it’s keeping me on task. That is, I’m accomplishing the goal of writing 750 words, at least, daily. For thirty days, the website is free to use. After that, the creators ask that you become a member to continue using the service. The fee is $5/month. It offers a distraction-free writing environment, foregoing bells and whistles. The goal-based, minimalist environment encourages you to produce something (anything) every day, a habit many find necessary to being a writer at all.

When I sit down and log into my account, I don’t necessarily have a plan. I free write. I resist the urge to edit, to self-critique. Whether you continue to use the service or not after the end of your thirty-day trial, you’ll still have access to your writing and stats—another great feature. And honestly, at the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee, if it keeps you trudging onwards, do it.

An example of stats from 750 Words
An example of writing stats from 750 Words (Credit: 750 Words)


Write Like Hemingway (Just Get the App)

Earlier this week, I read an article in the New Yorker regarding a new app for writers, the Hemingway App. The app was created back in September by two brothers, Adam and Ben Long. Adam works in marketing, and Ben works as a copywriter. They wanted to create an app that would help them, as well as others, write clearly and boldly—like Hemingway.

At first, I kind of scoffed at the idea that an app could do that for a writer. When I showed a fellow contributor, her response was one long laugh (and that contributor is a pretty hardcore Hemingway fan). However, I decided to give the app a try. To use the Hemingway App, you have to paste text (to my knowledge there is no word limit) into a field. Using code, the app reads the text. Anything highlighted yellow is labeled “hard to read,” and anything highlighted red is labeled “very hard to read.” The app will also highlight adverbs, phrases that “can be simpler,” and passive voice. It assigns your text a grade, and anything below a ten, is considered “bold, clear writing.”

Just for fun, I pasted the paragraph above into the app. The app gave me general information, like that the paragraph is seven sentences long, includes 111 words, and 492 characters. The above paragraph received a grade of eight or “good.” Two of my sentences were labeled “hard to read.” Specifically, these two sentences: “When I showed a fellow contributor, her response was one long laugh (and that contributor is a pretty hardcore Hemingway fan)” and “Anything highlighted yellow is labeled ‘hard to read,’ and anything highlighted red is labeled ‘very hard to read.'”