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The writing process is different for everyone who tilts at it, and the curiously named OmmWriter Dāna II provides an approach so unique that you’ll either be captivated or appalled. Like many word-processing apps, OmmWriter begins its efforts to eliminate distraction by going full screen, dropping away your Dock, Desktop, and everything else. Then it takes more unusual steps—the screen is wallpapered with one of eight lovely images, ranging from a snowy forest to a purpley color wash. You can select from seven ambient soundtracks (heartbeats, meditative music, and so on—the stuff of spas the world over) or opt for blissful silence. Same with your keystokes—they can be accompanied by a typewriter-like clatter, futuristic bloops and bleeps, or just nothing. And OmmWriter also turns off all notifications, keeping your email, IM, and Growl popups at bay.
If you find this image peaceful, OmmWriter can probably help you write better.
Its interface is dazzlingly miminalistic, providing a simple text box that you can position anywhere on screen, along with bare-bones option for text size and font. Make no mistake—you won’t be creating charts or complicated documents in OmmWriter. This app revolves around the process of getting the right words out of your head and onto the page. I found it incredibly powerful. The lovely, clean display and pleasant but ignorable ambient soundtrack tamed the parts of my brain that tend to wander off in search of shiny lights, helping me write this review in record time.
But then I had to import the resulting TXT file (you can also export as RTF or PDF) into Word and apply higher-level formatting. That’s a small price to pay for an app that helps me quickly crank out copy that I’m satisfied with, and while I don’t wish that OmmWriter had a built-in spell check, style sheet, or other such word-processing features, it would have been great to find options for adding my own art or music to customize the experience. And there’s no in-app help (but a decent FAQ online), which is taking the whole minimalistic thing too far.
The bottom line. Responses to OmmWriter will vary widely, and we suspect many of you will run screaming in the other direction. But if you approach writing as a process of creation that’s improved by meditative trappings, OmmWriter can be a revelation.
OmmWriter Dāna II 1.0
Mac OS 10.5 or later
Creates a meditative environment for writing without getting cheesy. Lovely, clean interface that’s instantly usable. Cheap!
No in-app help. Can’t import your own art or music, so it’s a love-it-or-hate-it app.