The Benefits of 12 year-old Software

There are two writing tools I would love to try, but alas, they are for Mac OS X and I am ardently a PC girl. These tools are on two ends of a spectrum.

The first is Scrivener. It seems to be an uber writing program. It is not only a word processor, but a research and plot management tool that has revision and screenwriting features. It seems to do everything but fetch another cup of coffee when you run dry. Some of these bells and whistles might be useful. Some of them might just be an insidious way to procrastinate.

Which brings me to the second tool: OmmWriter. Rands In Repose offers a nice review. Basically, it’s a white-background text editor that you use in full-screen mode. It accompanies your writing with soothing sounds. This is one of the many applications and hacks that is meant to make your 24′ monitor obsolete and save you from any distraction that might shake you out of your creative vibe.

I could easily understand the pull of Scrivener. There is always an aspect of “managing” a novel that I think could be done better. I use a combination of Word, Excel, note cards and a notebook to keep track of text, notes, revisions, etc. Eric and I even delved into using a wiki to keep track of world building issues. Nothing works perfectly, but nothing will. It’s a matter of settling on what works well enough.

Things like OmmWriter were a bit perplexing to me until I saw some screen shots of the current version of Word. I’m still using Word ’97. If there are bells and whistles, they aren’t user friendly enough to be rung or blown by me. The lure of OmmWriter isn’t the white-out, but the accompanying noises. Sometimes, it’s all too much effort to queue up a playlist to drown out my downstairs neighbor’s love of 70’s rock.

Then again, I’m working toward quiet and balance. Maybe I do have too much distraction and need a white-out tool. Or, I need to find what ultimately works for me within the myriad ways of doing things. Nonetheless, I’m not rushing to upgrade my basic word processing tool.

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