So in a quest to find new tools to help me with my summer writing, I stumbled upon a cool, indie program called OmmWriter. Basically, it’s a word processor whose main focus is to taking all of the user’s distractions away and helping them to focus on their writing. They do this by using a combination of ambient music, a full screen, distraction - fee background and a clean, icon - free interface that fades away when you’re not using your mouse. The description on their site looked fantastic, and I jumped at the chance to download a free copy of their program, DANA I. Another copy, featuring more fonts, ambient noise tracks and typing sounds is also available for purchase and the awesome price of PayItForward - meaning that you can pay whatever you like for the program (this is something that I wholeheartedly respect their group for doing, and was the last push I needed to finally try the program out).
First of all, the background music can be a bit annoying at times. I’m using the free version of OmmWriter and it comes with three songs that constantly play as you use the [program. The tracks included feature strings, gongs, and others. While these tracks sound amazing and definitely do help you focus on what you’re doing, I could definitely see how it could annoy certain users.
The second focus is typing sound. There is definitely an auditory pleasure to the act of typing itself; indeed, I’ve read about some authors who have never upgraded to using a computer or laptop, simply because they enjoyed the aesthetic of working and typing on a typewriter. The creators of OmmWriter seem to have taken this idea to heart by including a variety of noises that sound with every keystroke. For me, this was very enjoyable at first because the noises that come with the free version are quiet and, honestly, very pleasing to the ear. However, there is still the sound of actual keyboard in the background, which I already thoroughly enjoy. However, this complaint can be countered with the point that OmmWriter was made with the focus of headphone use in mind, so the key noises will obviously drown out the sound of the keyboard itself. So, this isn’t that much of an issue for any new users or devout fans.
Next, there’s the font and text size features. The free version, again, only came with a few options but still prove to be pleasing to the eye, with ariel, Times New Roman, cursive and typewriter-esque fonts all available for the user to enjoy. Again this is fantastic to look at and type with, but if you’re a writer who is attempting to be published (such as myself), you’ll only find yourself using two of those four options simply because no publisher will accept a manuscript that is difficult to read, such as the latter two.
My final note is the lack of printing, line spacing, or paragraph spacing features in the program. If you’re looking to print your freshly completed manuscript in order to mail it to a publication, or change the spacing of your lines to make note-taking easier, you’re going to end up using another word processor just to do so. Again, this gripe can be countered with the fact that OmmWriter was created with iPad users in mind. Still, it would be nice to see this feature in the Mac version. My previous complaints were all based on the opinion of the user, but this, to me, is the biggest shortcoming of such an aesthetically pleasing program.
In conclusion, I will say that OmmWriter is a fantastic tool to use if you’re finding it difficult to sit down and focus on writing. I typed this entire review using it, in fact! It takes up the whole screen, there’s no icons to pull your eye, and I definitely found it easier to focus on what I was doing in contrast to using WordPerfect or Microsoft Word. However, its lack of practicality forces me to opt for good ol’ fashion Word instead. The program itself is a fantastic idea, and it definitely helps you focus on the writing in front of you, but it is my honest opinion that at the end of the day, when you’ve completed your work and have to turn it in to a publisher, you’re going to have to lose all the bells and whistles, go back to the good ol’ fashioned Word and get work done. Software like this is great and the people at OmmWriter should definitely keep doing what they’re doing, but it just wasn’t for me. I don’t think that the writer needs any of this stuff to do work. You just need a regular old word processor. Or just a notepad and paper! Stop getting caught up in the experience of writing and just, well, WRITE!
Thanks for reading! More to come, stay tuned!