For the last few Novembers, I’ve tried to commit myself to winning National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. In a nutshell, the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Is it hard? You bet. Can it be done? Absolutely. It’s always been a bit of a dream of mine to write a novel, so NaNo is something I’ve really enjoyed participating in. And one year, I won! My novel still isn’t done and needs tons of work, but I’d highly recommend NaNoWriMo to anyone thinking of writing a book. It kicks off on Saturday!
One of the trickiest challenges I have faced each time I’ve participated in NaNo is just staying focused on writing. I find I am easily distracted online. (Damn you, Facebook.) A friend introduced me to Ommwriter to me a few years ago, and it has been a godsend for my concentration and a remedy for writer’s block.
Ommwriter is a software application for your computer. It turns your entire screen into a word processor environment, free of any bells and whistles. Just a blank slate waiting for your words.
And boy, is it an experience. The interface is so simple and easy to navigate. There are just a few buttons to toy with. There’s no text formatting either, though you can choose between four fonts and a few sizes in which to pen your words.
While you work, Ommwriter plays your choice of delicate ambient music or the sounds of a coffee shop or nature, carefully composed. It adds soft, typewriter-esque sound effects to your every keystroke. You can also choose from a few minimalist backdrops to fill your screen with. (My favorite is the wintry scene lined with trees.)
When I’m ready to take my piece to the next level, I’ll open it in another word processing application and add any formatting during the editing process. The only point of Ommwriter is to write. A novel idea.
The whole experience is gentle, almost meditative, like yoga for writing. Whenever I really need to focus on writing — whether it’s a novel, a blog post or an estimate — I turn to Ommwriter. Its bright, customizable interface is relaxing and keeps all potential distractions at bay. Ommwriter is available at a pay-what-you-want price, though it’s suggested you pay $4.11. Download it here.
Tell me, what helps you concentrate on writing? // susannah