There is nothing more geeky than when geeks start geeking out about their geeky tools that they use to do geeky things in a geeky way. Seriously, go read Lifehacker and the million other efficiency blogs or software development blogs and you will read tons of content about tools.
It’s the worst kind of fascination.
In the spirit of that, I’m going to wax poetic about OmmWriter, the coolest little writing tool since Notepad or stone tablets and a chisel.
What is OmmWriter?
Boy, that is such a great question I just asked rhetorically pretending to be you, the esteemed reader. Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you… ahem
OmmWriter is the most incredibly zen distraction free writing software I’ve used and I’ve used a lot of them. Let’s see, WriteRoom, JDarkRoom, Byword, OmmWriter, iA Writer, weird plugins for emacs and vim, Wordpress’ distraction free mode, some Chrome web apps, and gosh I’m sure there are others that I’ve forgotten. Oh, that one writing tool, Scrivner, that’s the one. I think that had a distraction free mode in there too.
The point is, I seem to have a deep affinity for this kind of app. It harkens back to the typewriter and the blank page and the creativity that has a tendency to flow when your mind has nothing else to do but to fill the blank page with words and ideas.
The ability to just be creative and let words flow is what makes writing so much fun, but if you live in Word or Google Docs, you are going to be in some kind of creative nightmare where you are caring more about what amounts to typesetting than writing your content.
A distraction free editor is for creating content, something like Word is for editing content and maybe some formatting I don’t know. Yes, you can write in any tool, but a distraction free experience is a different kind of thing, just like handwritten letters are a different thing than sending email.
Well now I’m distracted… oops…
So, OmmWriter does the distraction free writing thing, but it does it by being more than just a full screen typewriter app. I love those kinds of apps, but OmmWriter adds another layer of sensory input that other apps really don’t seem to pay much attention to — sound.
The sound of OmmWriter is what makes it such a joy to use.
OmmWriter plays fantastic background music for you as you type. I don’t know precisely what genre to label it, but it’s that kind of relaxing, mediative, chill out kind of music. I’m not big into that new age spirituality stuff, so I don’t know what to call it, but the music is sort of like those soundscapes CD’s that Target always has on display next to the greeting cards.
Also, you can pick a keyboard sound. That’s right, the app will play sound when you type. You would thing that is distracting, but it really isn’t. With the right setting, it gives a sense of rhythm to what you are creating. It is as if your words and stories are singing a song as they are created.
As a creator, this kind of sensory feedback is awesome. Instead of trying to be as quiet as possible, the act of making stuff adds a little bit of noise to the world. It’s as if these very words are shouting to the rest of the world “LISTEN TO ME!”
That is a powerful thing.
OmmWriter You Complete Me
The other part of the app that really completes the sort of zen writing experience is the visual elements. OmmWriter gives you a few fonts to choose from, some tasteful and relaxing backgrounds, you can set font size. All of that is neat, but not extraordinary.
What is extraordinary is that you can set the area that you are working in. Sort of odd right? I thought so too at first, but then I played with it a little and I realize that on the white background with trees, I really liked having my text stop just above the tree line.
Pretty bizarre right?
I mean really, who is so particular about text box placement that it matters? Well, I’m not a designer, but being able to tweak it a bit to what felt right created an altogether better experience for me.
What OmmWriter really is…
As someone who builds things, OmmWriter is sort of like a near perfect execution of a very simple idea. Taking distraction free writing and turning writing into a kind of meditative experience really changes things.
My daily writing is now almost a daily meditation. It helps me empty my thoughts into some digital journal that maybe someday gets edited and shown to the world. Maybe.
For now, OmmWriter is at its best when it just does its thing. I open the app and it greets me with a calm, relaxing state. Ready to create.
That’s what makes it so cool.
P.S. I unpack more ideas in Creative Genius