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Magic bullets are still bullets

By March 17, 2010How To, Writing

My good Twitter friend, Joe Cascio tweeted me a link the other day – asking me if I’d heard of OmmWriter or if I was using it. I’m not going to lie to you, but I had an instantly bitchy reaction before I even opened up the site.

This program promises a zen writing experience. With pretty backgrounds and cool fonts (all of which I can get from Pages which I use for word processing on my Mac). They say: “Ommwriter is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.”

Interesting. Does this site miraculously turn off my email, Twitter, Facebook, phone, family and clients? ‘Cause if it doesn’t, then I don’t get it.

Many of you know that I’m in love with WordPress. After years of searching through typewriters, journals, Word docs and more, it was the day that I logged into this blog that my writing finally happened the way I’d always dreamed it would.

BUT and this is a HUGE but none of this, and I mean none of this, means a thing if my mind and heart and creative juices are not aligned. All the fancy tools and tricks in the world can only take you so far. There is something indescribable (we – writers – have been trying to define it for years) that has to be turned on in order for the writing to work.

And there’s something that has to be turned OFF – the mind chatter, the self-doubt, the shoulds, coulds and woulds, the what ifs, the desire to eat or clean the toilet or make a phone call – or however you’re choosing to self-sabotage or procrastinate.

Once upon 10 years ago, I thought that if I got a laptop, I would be Carrie Bradshaw. Cut to today. I’m still not her – and know that I’m better off being myself. And it was the getting to know myself and practicing writing and making mistakes and getting things right and trying and failing and continuing to sit down here at my computer – that’s what gets my writing done everyday.

Can OmmWriter turn off the switches I need turned off and turn on the ones I need turned on? Nope. No software or equipment can do that. We’re the only ones that can do that.

I’m not trying to take OmmWriter down (apparently some people just love it), but I can’t just sit quietly while I watch writers get excited about finding the magic bullet. A bullet’s a bullet – they explode and destroy (good things and bad things, granted) – but they’re made to kill. Call me a cynic, but I think I’m being a realist.

Just don’t say anything bad about WordPress – it’s my unwashed uniform, my lucky bat, the 5 bowls of Wheaties I always eat on game day…and I’m keen not to break this writing streak.

Image credit: RazZziel

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Yay WordPress and YAY Julie!!! I completely agree with you.

    I’m new (relatively) new to the writing/ blog world and I’m finding it’s so easy to get caught up in the hype and glamour of all of these “magic” tools.

    As you said, none of them can force us in to the proper mindset of writing what we need to write or rid our world of the affects LIFE has on our brains!

    Why do we complicate things so much. When all we want to do is write…should we not just simply write?

    Thanks for bringing it back to basics Julie and keeping us all on track!

    Big Hugs,

    .-= Farrah J Phoenix´s last blog ..Sleep Troubles: Why quitting Starbucks was a Bad Idea! =-.

  • hey Julie, I have got to agree with you on WordPress. I have never put out as much content as I have since I started blogging with it. I have spent years thinking that I need this or that to write well. I went from journals to theme books, to leather notebooks to laptops. I have used excuses for years as to why I never did much before but WordPress does it for me. Is it perfect? No. Will anything else help? probably not. So I will stick to Word, yWriter, and Wrodpress. people find what works for them and just go for it. The search for more and better leaves you with no content to put out.
    .-= Justin Matthews´s last blog ..Maybe You Should Just Give Up and Write! =-.

  • Walker says:

    Also a WordPress chick here, I have 2. And I’d have to agree that it’s not the site that brings me inspiration, it comes from inside.. but having a platform that is frustration-free for the most part helps!
    .-= Walker´s last blog ..The Craft of Memoir Writing =-.

  • juliana says:

    My favorite version of an Ommwriter-like tool is…a blank legal notepad.

    I think the interface for Ommwriter is cool and I may try it one day, but for now I still do my best brainstorming away from the screen first.
    .-= juliana´s last blog ..Inspiration to Start the Week =-.

  • Great blog post. I am someone who is trying to develop better writing skills. Unfortunately I’m a little behind in this area because I did not focus on it and give it enough attention in school. Instead I favored math and science and had no idea how important good writing would be later on in life.
    .-= Nick’s Traffic Tricks´s last blog ..@terribrooks is Today’s 84 Traffic Videos Winner! March 17, 2010 =-.

  • Is there any feeling quite as awe inspiring and amazing as that zone you find yourself in when your fingers fly across the keyboard and your thoughts flow so freely that you almost think it may never happen again… I think not. And I cherish it every single time.

  • I’m with you, Julie.

    I admit that I spent a long time searching for that magic bullet. I didn’t know what it would look like it. But I was convinced I would know it when I saw it, and it would transform my writing life forever.

    As it turns out, there is no such thing. (Though I love WordPress too!) My magic bullet is the same one I resisted for years. An accomplished poet and teacher – who herself did more for me than any tool or trick – said to me, “Lindsey, the only trick is discipline. Do it every day. Even when you don’t like it. Even when the spark’s not there.”

    It was the best advice I’ve ever received. And while I still squint my eyes and slap my forehead on the tough days – discipline schmiscipline, goes the voice-in-my-head – it is the only thing that works for me, no matter where I am or what new gadget I’m trying on for size.
    .-= Lindsey Donner´s last blog ..Three Mistakes You Should Avoid Making =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Me too, Joshua…

    I’m glad you all ‘get it’ with me!

  • Realist. I’m calling you a realist, as well as a writer’s friend. Good call. Yup: Hard chair, good caffeine, no talking on the phone, and maybe you can write with intent. That’s it. Take it or leave it.
    .-= Marion Roach Smith´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

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