The concept of a distraction-free environment for writing evidently has substantial appeal for a lot of folks, given the number of applications available that purport to provide one, both on the Mac and for the iPad. Perhaps it would appeal to me as well if I were writing a novel or short stories, but for the kind of short-form journalism and blog prose that is my stock-in-trade, and being an intuitive multitasker, I find the “distractions” of a busier, more variegated work space stimulating (although one has to exercise self-discipline and stay focused on the project(s) at hand). However, one “distraction-free” writing app I find aesthetically interesting is OmmWriter Dana, which has been around for a while in its two OS X iterations (one of them free), and now is available in an iOS version for the iPad, as well (not free).
Dana, incidentally, is a Sanskrit and Pali word meaning giving. The developers says it is Sometimes also referred to as the practice of cultivating generosity.
The major difference between the OS X and iPad versions is the keyboard. With OmmWriter for iPad, you can amplify the keyboard as well as adjust its position to your liking, rather than having to adjust your writing to it.
You can save work created in OmmWriter for iPad as a .txt or export via email as a .pdf. OmmWriter for iPad currently does not offer a spell-check.
OmmWriter Dana is a lightly-featured, full-screen text processor intended to help focus the user’s mind on writing in a pleasant, soothing, attractive and non-distracting space, hopefully making the muse’s whisper easier to hear. While OmmWriter predates the iPad, it’s whole concept seems especially tailor-made for the iOS user interface.
OmmWriter’s interface in any of its versions (there’s one for Windows PCs, too) is Zen-like in its simplicity, with scattered, leafless trees punctuating a barren, snow-covered winterscape. If that’s not minimalist enough for you, there are also plain white and textured gray backgrounds a button-click away. You can also choose from a selection of tranquil background music themes featuring soft music, bells, and other relaxing tones to play in the background as you work, or opt for no music.
The base version of OmmWriter Dana is freeware, but there is a paid upgrade version that offers more background options—seven audio and eight visual experiences, including two visual chromatherapy backgrounds created in consultation with a color therapy expert that employ dynamically-changing color techniques to subconsciously promote tranquility and to stimulate creativity.
Another visual experience is intended to stimulate writer creativity through use of subliminal inspirational text that changes with every session. The additional audio experiences have been designed to provide background sounds that promote concentration. One reproduces the sounds typically heard in a library, while the other tries to simulate the sounds an unborn child would hear inside the mother’s womb. I only tested the free version, OmmWriter 1, which, aside from fewer audio-visual options, is identical to the OmmWriter 2 paid edition.
I find it all quite charming, although it can be perhaps a bit too peaceful for someone like myself with a tendency to drift off all too readily at the keyboard during late-night composing and editing sessions.