Friends, I want to tell you about the new love of my writing life. It may be old news to you, it may have been around a while. But to me it’s new like a fresh love affair. Like a charged glance across a crowded room. It’s so new I can’t stop singing its praises. What is it, you ask? It’s an app called OmmWriter, and it is nothing short of amazing.
Now I do a pretty decent job of getting my writing done. I’ve written and published two 300+ page novels since May 2012. Future readers: That’s 15 months. I write on weekdays and my goal is 500 words per day. As I’ve mentioned before, however, I don’t actually feel like I’ve accomplished anything until I hit 1,000 words. If I’m being very honest, I will feel a nagging sense of unfinished business if I shut down Word without having committed at least 1,400 words to digital paper.
But I’m very easily distracted. In writing this blog post, I’ve already checked Facebook twice and Twitter once. And I have the sounds turned off on notifications.
I know I can’t write with my 4 year old at home, so I work on my novels when she’s at preschool. I prefer the house to be empty, but if one of the older kids is at home I can work with my noise-cancelling headphones on. I’m annoyed, but I can compromise.
So, and here’s where I finally get to my fucking point, readers, several days ago I met Ommwriter. It’s…what? an app? I don’t know, but this is what the website says:
OmmWriter is your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace.
It’s available for PC, Mac, and iPad, and –oops I just visited Facebook again. And peeked at Twitter.
THIS is why it takes me an average of 3 – 4 hours to hit my word count. Because I keep fucking around. Adjusting the music selection, transferring laundry from washer to dryer, getting the mail, texting a friend, running to the grocery store, or harvesting my fruit in Animal Crossing New Leaf. I know it doesn’t have to be that way because occasionally I’ll look at the clock and see that it’s nearly 4pm and I’ve wasted the majority of my time. I leave to pick up my preschooler no later than 5pm, so now I’ve got one hour in which to redeem my sorry ass. And many times, that works. When I make the decision to hunker down and make progress–I do.
What the Ommwriter does is put me there without the time constraint. It takes me immediately to that flow state in which words are just coming out and before I know it, I’ve blown past my goal (the real one, not the fake 500 word one) and in a fraction of the time.
How? Can’t you just shut down your browser/unplug the modem and have the same effect? No. And here’s why:
Ommwriter delivers exactly what it promises: A private writing room. It fills your entire desktop with a soothing background. I chose this one because it reminds me of the beach. As my writing fills the page I get closer to the water. There are no formatting selections to slow you down (Ooh I need to italicize that. But wait, I should consult the Chicago Manual of Style, first–DISTRACTION!) You just type. And format later.
The sound is a critical piece of this puzzle for me. You can choose ambient music if you like. I think the train is particularly nice. It’s kind of noisy at first as the train leaves the station and gets up to speed, but by the time it hits its stride of soothing trainnoise, your writing will be flowing along too. No chugging, no rushing, just a nice even speed that gets you from here to there. After 25 minutes the audio loop pulls into the station. Look up, and you may have written a thousand words or more already.
My favorite part is the keyboard sound that accompanies your typing. I like a manual typewriter sound, myself. Or you can go for something that sounds like a water drop, or that soft cursor click of old school computers–like when Doogie Howser updated his diary at show’s end. There are seven choices, including silence.
Maybe looking at it you’re thinking, So what, I can accomplish the same thing by taking my laptop to Starbucks/the park/a rubber room. Cool. Go do that. Ommwriter works for me. Works so well I’ve doubled my word output and halved the time I spend at the keyboard. Which means I could finish Lexy Cooper #3 a lot sooner than I’d anticipated OR I can write 2 or 3 days a week and enjoy more of the summer. Maybe I’ll use the time I save to write a Lexy Cooper screenplay. Or a YA prequel featuring Lexy in high school. Or finish my long-shelved non-mystery about the summer Skylab fell.
Whatever I decide to do (or not do!) I am thankful to Ommwriter for giving me more productivity in the guise of tranquility.