How To Self-Edit With Software

The word itself causes the nervous system to overload. But such a thing must be done. Editing is a valuable tool for writers. Without it, our stories, our articles, anything we write would be a hot mess. But writers don’t need to feel that way. Companies like ProWriting Aid, Grammarly, AutoCrit, and Hemingway are making strides in editing software. Does this mean writers don’t need editors?

Writers will need editors, no matter if they use software. Having an editor is having fresh eyes to relieve your tired ones. The software is not perfect, and neither are editors. Having both can strengthen the writers words and the editors eyes.

How can writers self-edit their work before handing it over to the editor?

  1. Write, write, and write more. Get it all out on your first draft.
  2. Put the manuscript away. Take a short vacation, read, spend time with family. Do something that will take your mind off those words that ached inside your head.
  3. With a fresh brain and eyes, snatch that rough draft from its slumber and slam it on the table.
  4. Read it. Don’t be scared. There are places where you will have a WTF moment. Words jumbled together, making no sense. This is where you take that red pen and start marking up your work.
  5. Spend two days having fun.
  6. Take that new, painted red story, and rewrite it.
  7. Repeat steps two through five.
  8. Give trusted friends a copy with a red pen.
  9. Repeat steps two through five
  10. Use the Read aloud or similar software. Now you can hear your story. Mark the places that need improvement. You might have to repeat steps two through five.
  11. Now run your story through the editing software. Remember, like humans, these software are not perfect. Repeat steps two through five, if needed.
  12. Send to the editor.

There are many editing software on the internet. Here are the ones I use. Yes, I use them, like any other tool in my editing kit.

Hemingway App.

Hemingway transports the writer back to the day where the highlighters were the choice for students. This color-coded system shows adverbs, passive voice, and two versions of hard-to-read sentences. The app helps improve the writer’s words by showing where to reduce them. This helps to tighten up sentences, and the story.

Hemingway is free to use online and paid download. I use the online version.

ProWriting Aid

ProWriting Aid is one of the leading editing tools. It allows the writer to choose a genre and then outputs the needed changes.

The Summary Report gives the writer their key scores, Grammar, Style, and Spelling.  After the writer finishes, they are faced with how the document looks and where it needs work.

Not only does it give you all that, but it also dives in with overused words, repetition, diction, and pacing. All areas where writers, including myself, need to improve.

There is a free version of this software. I have the lifetime version.

Plus, the company will offer training sessions.


Grammarly is another fan favorite in the world of editing software. You can use it for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and conciseness. If you want more, you must pay for it. There are monthly, quarterly, and yearly rates. The paid version comes with Clarity-focused sentences, tone adjustments, plagiarism, word choice, formality level, fluency, and more. On top of that, it saves the articles.

Grammarly is nice to have for searching for those annoying commas. Like ProWriting Aid, Grammarly offers suggestions on improvements in the manuscript.

I have the yearly paid version. It would be nice if they offered a lifetime membership.


AutoCrit is like ProWriting Aid when selecting a genre to compare your manuscript with. It will let you know adverbs you missed and overused words that the writer could cut out.

Like the first two, there is a free version, monthly version, and annual version. Like ProWriting Aid, AutoCrit offers a lifetime membership and educational tools.

Why did I not dive deeper into these programs? I am highlighting them and will shovel out more later


Should you use all of them? I would. Each software has something the other doesn’t. Why limit yourself? Find all the editing you can and use them. 

What ones do you have? Why?

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