Hemingway Mode

The so-called “Hemingway mode” would prevent the writer from making any edits while writing. This would be a nice feature to have.

When I saw this headline, I imagined it was a request for functionality that forces you to write in short sentences. With loads of subtext. And to stand up when typing (electric contacts in the seat of the chair?).

I’m disappointed this is not the case. :confused:

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such a great idea! obviously, one could use cognitive control and do the same without needing a specific software ‘mode’, but it’s nice to delegate that to a machine!

Is Hemingway Mode supposed to print out each letter as you type it on hard copy, and scroll that up from your keyboard as you go? No, wait… that’s a typewriter. Should Scrivener dispense shots of your favorite hard liqueur (“Write drunk. Edit sober.”)? You want it to disalble the backcwspacwe key? :wink:

At some point, you have to exercise some self-discipline, and while there are programmers out there who will give you these kinds of hand-holding tools (such as the “Freedom” app), I don’t think Keith is one of them. Good luck with your feature request though. I for one woould n ever want such ar featrerure.


We do need a LIKE button in these forums! :smiley:

The humorous responses aside, this was a serious feature request.
There are several programs out there which have this feature.
The first of which I am aware of is “Blockwriter” which was a project of Khoi Vinh of the New York Times.
Nathan Kotodny’s cloud-based “Draft” has a similar feature.
Scrivener started out as a tool to create first drafts. It excels in this. Preventing editing while drafting, a/k/a “Hemingway mode” is a way to eliminate distractions, just like full page composition mode in Scrivener does. Or Writeroom.
Typewriter scrolling is a useful feature. My suggestion to Keith is to add an environment which discourages editing while drafting as well.

I don’t know how easy this would be on a mac, but in windows, you can download a tool from microsoft that allows you to remap your keyboard how you see fit. You could try and making the backspace/delete (whichever it is on a mac, can’t remember) not do anything whatsoever, and make the “tilde” key on the far left of the keyboard be your deleter. Something that would make you work to delete something. It wouldn’t be the perfect solution of not being able to delete at all, but it might make deleting so frustrating that you don’t do it.

All right, to be serious, if you search the forum for “blockwriter” you’ll probably find that some of the very first posts to the forum involved experiments with the idea (and in fact Keith even wrote a sandbox version of the editor). Ultimately it was never included in the software so I wouldn’t expect that to change any time soon. It was a fun idea, but the feature line has to be drawn somewhere.

It was also fairly horrible in practice - I hated it. Besides, we get enough confused emails from users who have turned revision mode on by mistake and can’t understand why all their text is now in colour - imagine how frustrated the support emails would be if users suddenly found they couldn’t delete or edit. :slight_smile:

This sort of thing falls under “gimmick” to me. The trouble is that it wouldn’t even work for its intended purpose: if you could turn this mode on, you could just as easily turn it off. So if the idea is to impose discipline, the problem is that you would still need the self-discipline enough to keep the feature turned on, and not switch it off and tweak - and if you have such self-discipline then you could just as easily apply it to not fiddling with the text until you’re done in the first place without such a feature. Ultimately, it would only work in a program that didn’t allow editing at all, so that you wrote in that program and then exported to another program for editing.

Here’s a serious way to accomplish greater focus on what you are writing, and not on what you’ve written:

Set up Composition mode to use the smallest possible text area (hold down ALT to adjust paper height). Set the Text Scale to something big enough to show you only a few of the words you’ve written.

It won’t disable your delete key, but you won’t be able to see more than a few words at once, so the temptation to read and edit should diminish greatly.

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Humorous reply – feel free to ignore

I accomplish the same thing much simpler. Just write crap that is so bad that doesn’t deserve to be projected onto a retna. No reading. No editing. Straight to the trash folder.

Works like a champ for me!

Welding goggles would work really well in that regard too-- unless you have a monitor like mine. I tried color balancing it once, but even the minimum screen brightness was too bright to do some of the adjustments. Turn that sucker up to full brightness and it will burn my silhouette into the wall behind me.

I believe that too would result in a solution. Blindness makes reading a tad more difficult especially if it is a sudden onset case.

Ah, Letterbox Mode.

Why don’t you just write your first draft on paper with a pen, or maybe dictate it into your computer with some sort of voice recognition software?

Or, just man up, dude.

Using the same colour for the text and the background can work well, though. My friend got through writing about half her NaNo on the bus this way. I recommend turning off spell checking while doing this, to avoid strange red squiggles under invisible words.

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:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: This thread is too good!


Before posting I did look for “Hemingway mode” and found no references.
I did not search for “blockwriter” or any of the various other programs that have this feature.

:slight_smile: I like the sound of that solution. You just type and type and type, with no visual prompt to indicate what has gone before. If you are desperate to see what you have written, you could select the text so that it is revealed by the selection highlight. I suppose that an alternative method is just to dim your screen when you want to start typing like this, which would have the same sort of effect.

But I suspect it would drive me mad… almost as mad as I would be driven if I could see text on the screen that I wanted to change but that I was prevented from changing. Even “Write Or Die” allows you to go back and edit the text.

On a sidenote, every now and then, I find that my fingers have become offset by one key on the keyboard, and I am actually typing one letter to the right of what I think I am typing. This black-text-on-a-black-background method would be brilliant fun. I would never know whether my work was being encrypted until I switched the colours back to normal. And then I would have to try to work out what I had originally meant to write – substitution ciphers are easy enough to crack, but I’m not sure my dubious prose is worth the effort!