We all have quirks in our writing. For many years I enjoyed constructing long sentenced, semicolon studded, purple prose. This isn’t ideal when you are embarking on academic study so I learned to self-edit and proofread.

Once I had improved my scholarly writing, I found my new skills were impressing my managers at work. Then when I started blogging, I realised clarity and economy is even more important. But what if you are short on time? Is it possible to take a shortcut, and use technology to enhance your written skills?

Try the Hemingway App

The answer is yes. There is a simple, free web editor called the Hemingway App. I’m not claiming it is a new arrival because it has been around for some time, but it is worth revisiting and remembering. To get started, go to the link and choose whether to start writing – or editing.

If you want to start working within the app without interruption, click ‘write’. Once you are ready, you can toggle to ‘edit’ and Hemingway will assess your text. You can also edit your existing drafts, by copying and pasting it into the editor. The clear highlighting will make suggestions for improvements – so you can amend as required.

What is readability?

The readability is an important part of the app. Hemingway uses an algorithm to work out the educational level required to understand your text. This is more about your prose than the content. After all, it is possible to write about complex issues by using straightforward language.

In fact, Ernest Hemingway’s work scores as low 5th grade, despite his adult audience.”

If your readability is scoring high, up to 15th grade level, then your text is dense and hard to read. Your readers will find it boring, and be wishing for fewer adverbs and a sprinkling of full stops. I don’t tend to obsess about grading my text, but I do see an immediate clarity in my writing when I start proofing.

Make an impact with your writing!

You can use this app for any kind of prose writing: business cases, web content, instruction manuals, white papers etc. Hemingway makes suggestions, and you can choose whether to break the rules or not. I’ve only used the free web version which works brilliantly for me, but there is a desktop app available to buy.