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Zen & Paper – the art of writing

April 1, 2014.Oliver.0 Likes.6 Comments

“We are all at the mercy of our wild monkey minds.
Incessantly swinging from branch to branch.”

— Nicholas Carr


I need one hand to hold a pen, the other one to touch my beard; the rest is pure writing. Pondering over a blank page where only a few lines seem to form the vague roadmap for the mind. In fact the margin is not even the limit. I project my thoughts onto walls, let my gaze go for a stroll outside the window, rotate the pen to stir some inspiration or touch the paper trying to grasp ideas alike. If writing is the celebration of thoughts, what is typing?

Mind clouds

Whenever I want to put my thoughts down in writing I need paper and pen. The feeling of carefully carving a sculpture of words out of a block of thoughts. The act of writing, the mind like a cloud: tiny droplets of inspiration that unite and soar until it cannot hold any more and needs to release the moisture. Writing like rain lashing down on paper – sometimes  a short shower only, other times a true thunderstorm of thoughts…

Thoughts made visible

While the paper shows the ability to soak up my thoughts, the screen seems to repel these imaginary drops –  a strange „lotus effect“ when I sit in front of the computer. I might be able to see them, but they don’t sink in. The evident difference between writing and typing…
When my hands rest on the keyboard and my gaze is fixed to the display I feel somewhat paralyzed. I feel tethered, miss the movement of my hand, the pen leaving a trail of thoughts on the paper, I lack the flow. But there’s also way too much distraction, the screen cluttered with „visual noise“ like a window of a street café with way too many flashing lights…

Meditative workaround?

Bateau sur l'eau by Sebastien Wiertz

Bateau sur l’eau by Sebastien Wiertz

Whenever I create a piece of content for the digital journal I tend to write and scribble before I type and edit, my strange approach to digitizing ideas.
Already a while ago I stumbled across a wee virtual companion that may change my writing habits or at least improve my lack of creativity when not using paper and pen, making the screen a bit more absorbent when it rains thoughts: the OmmWriter.

„Away from the humdrum noise“

A tiny piece of software and a delightful concept, trying to minimize distraction and maximize the pleasure of writing. A range of neat features, pleasant design and attention to detail.
Similar to the „zen mode“ in the WordPress editor the full screen environment creates „your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace“. You can toggle between four different typefaces and font sizes, select one of the unobtrusive background images, switch between relaxing background music or soundscapes and enable one of the available keyboard sounds. The written text can either be copied from the editor or saved as text file or PDF document. The small option buttons, the subtle scroll bar as well as the simple word count below the text disappear after a few moments of cursor inactivity and leave you alone with your thoughts.

„The bliss of single-tasking“

What amazes me apart from the application itself is the sophisticated concept. Their aim to help „re-connect with your old friends Concentration and Creativity“ and the way they get their message across is intriguing. OmmWriter is the brainchild of Herraiz Soto & Co, an independent creative agency based in Barcelona who love great ideas and writing. The Frequently Meditated Questions (sic!) reveal a bit more about the philosophy behind, the motivation for the renaissance of the horizontal cursor and the superstitious reason for their in the truest sense of the word“odd“ pricing suggestion…


„Writing is a beautiful way to chase great ideas.“
Isn’t it!?

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Categories: Stories

Comments (6)

  • Allysse . April 2, 2014 . Reply

    I really enjoyed this post.
    I particularly enjoyed the contrast you describe between the freedom of paper and pen and the paralyzing effect of a screen and keyboard.

    I personally find, that if I need to release my thoughts or plan a new project I need paper and pen. I like the ability to be wild and messy, to write anywhere on the page and cross over what I don’t like. I can see the pattern behind my thoughts and ideas. And most of all I love the slowness of handwriting. I find it forces me to slow down and ponder my thoughts and their meaning.

    I have tried several writing application before but never really like any as they don’t offer the same freedom as paper does. However OmmWriter does look very good with all of its options. I’ll probably give it a try to see if it helps me slow down on the keyboard.

    • (Author) Oliver . April 3, 2014 . Reply

      Hey Allysse, many thanks for thoughts towards writing.
      Interesting to see how this inner monologue resonates with you and I also really like the way you put it! Your description indicates quite well how you almost “carve” words and how this blank page in front of you is filled with thoughts and somewhat brought to life; you see it growing and so does the idea. I appreciate the slowness of handwriting as well and agree with your notion of our words being in lockstep with our thoughts while writing…
      I doubt there ever will be something “mighty” enough to replace the power and magic of paper and pen. However, I consider the OmmWriter a marvellous way to put your mind down in writing. Please do let me know if you ever decide to give it a try and what you think about it.
      Thanks again for the exchange of ideas and may the “zen of writing” be with us… 🙂

  • zsuzsi . April 14, 2014 . Reply

    Thank you for a great post. I am also one of those old school-people who prefer paper and a pencil (preferably a pencil, not a pen) – always scribbling away.
    I needed to read this post, as I am having a problem catching my thoughts at the moment. Thanks again.

    • (Author) Oliver . April 15, 2014 . Reply

      Hi Zsuzsi, glad to hear there are still a few people out there who celebrate paper and pen(cil) as well! Sometimes it may take a while until we “get hold” of your our thoughts, but I’m sure you will get into the flow again soon… Best wishes!

  • Charli | Wanderlusters . April 29, 2014 . Reply

    Thanks for the introduction to OmmWriter. Though I now find myself a ‘writer’ I actively avoided essay subjects at school and so the act of typing on a keyboard seems to detach my mind for the associations I once had to constructing a sentence.

    • (Author) Oliver . April 29, 2014 . Reply

      Hey Charli, thanks for stopping by and glad to hear the OmmWriter might be worth a look! Always interesting to see the different type of writers and what “tools” may shape their writing as well…

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