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Writers' software month: OmmWriter Dāna

If you're a writer and like trying out new software, October is turning out to be an awesome month. We've got Word 2011 coming October 26, which I've been using for a few weeks. It blows all other Mac versions of Word out of the water. Following Word just a few days later is my personal favorite, Scrivener 2.0. The updates to Scrivener are going to be huge, and I think all the fans of Scrivener 1.5 are going to be knocked off their feet. Then there's a recently released iPad app simply called Writer that introduces a revolutionary feature I hope most other desktop writing programs will incorporate one day. But first, I want to start off by telling you about an OS X app called OmmWriter Dāna.

Brett first told you about OmmWriter almost a year ago, and I raved about it again just a few weeks later. This was when OmmWriter had just been previewed as a beta. The app was new, fresh, and novel (no pun intended). It only runs in full screen mode, and when you launch it you are put in the middle of a snowy field as relaxing, almost hypnotic music plays in the background. The words you type seemingly appear floating in the fog of the winter landscape. The picture and the music might seem like fluff, but it serves a very important purpose: to create an intimate relationship with writers and their thoughts. It isolates you in a way from the bells and whistles of your computer. It succeeds overwhelmingly in doing this too, especially when you wear headphones as the application suggests you do.
Now out of beta, OmmWriter comes in two versions: OmmWriter Dāna I and OmmWriter Dāna II. Dāna I is a free download and well worth it. Dāna II is the paid version of OmmWriter that gives you additional background images and audio tracks. What's cool about Dāna II is that the devs at OmmWriter don't have a fixed price for it; they let you decide what to pay for it based on what you got out of using Dāna I (though the minimum proposed price is US$4.11).

As most writers know, some writing projects are better suited to different apps. In my opinion, OmmWriter happens to be suited best for when there's an idea budding up in you, but you haven't quite fleshed it out. Its lack of traditional word processing features is its strength, but it also means it's probably not the best app to use for massive, complex writing jobs.

Part word processor, part work of art, OmmWriter is a must for people who journal, blog, or do any kind of writing where creativity and idea-generation is key. Give it a try. You won't be sorry, and just try telling me those default keystroke sound effects aren't the most mesmerizing clicks you've ever heard.

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