It’s always winter when I write. Beautiful, calm, soothing white winter.
As a child growing up in Colorado, there’s a very unique, comforting, secure sense of being snowed in. If you’ve never experienced it, I really can’t explain it to you. But may I recommend a winter in my hometown. Looking out over vast expanses of snowy terrain begs for cozy indoor activities like reading, cooking, and writing.
Which is part of why I use OmmWriter. I love it. I’ve tried using Writer for the iPad, but Omm is my prefered app. While Writer is very functional, providing the same respite from distractions via a clean, simple interface, it lacks this: aesthetics.
OmmWriter adds just the right amount of visual and audible beauty – via different senses and cognitive levels – to add those crucial elements of surprise and delight that differentiate one product from another. These elements are optional via very simple, unobtrusive interface controls. I use the winterscape background, but if you want plain white, you can choose that option. For audio, I toggle between the simple eastern chimes and default soothing tempos. Audio can also be toggled off if you prefer to work in silence or want to play your own soundtrack.
The sounds associated with keyboard taps are especially appealing. They’re kind of like addictive little feedback candies; I love the sounds so much that I want to hear more, which inspires me to keep writing. One option sounds like water drops in a vast, abandoned cave. Another sounds like a softer, muted version of a classic typewriter. The third sounds like soft, splattered poppings of hot oil. But really, download the app yourself. Go ahead, do it. Here’s the link. It must be experienced to be appreciated.
OmmWriter references research conducted to make this app the most beautiful, functional app possible, with a singular goal: to help writers focus by removing distractions. I wonder if their research into background image options included Denis Dutton’s writings on aesthetics:
Darwinian psychology has other interesting applications to aesthetics. Consider landscape painting and calendar art. Studies of landscape preferences repeatedly show a human liking for alternating copses of trees and open spaces, often hilly land, with animals, water, and a path or river bank that winds into an inviting yet mysterious, bluish distance. This preference for the landscapes of the Pleistocene era, which has been experimentally verified as a cross-cultural constant today, shows up in the painting of early European artists, such as Albrecht Altdorfer and Salvador Rosa, and is found today on calendars in kitchens and offices worldwide. It is very marked in 19th century Australian landscape painting, the result of European artists taming their new vistas. It can be seen in the design of public parks from New York to Kyoto to Melbourne.
See the hills, trees, open spaces and bluish distance of that snowscape? Perfect. I also wonder if their research included studies on pink noise. Given the calm, soothing feelings that the audio choices evoke, I’m assuming one could find evidence of pink noise patterns through careful analysis.
OmmWriter is beautiful on many levels. It is aesthetic in terms of sight and sound, appealing to our visceral cognitive levels. Through elegant simplicity, it provides a calm framework for storytelling. Via special attention paid to aesthetics, OmmWriter is an app that I can’t wait to use again. It makes me want to write and write often.