Tag Archives: inspiration

concentrate, monkey, concentrate

4 Mar

Not usually a fan of gadgets and gizmos from the tech world—they’re just more artificial solutions to problems caused by earlier artificial solutions to yet earlier problems. But: a team from Spain has created something that immediately changed the way I write—the entire writing experience actually.

HerraizSoto&Co., from Barcelona, created the OmmWriter, a free word processor that completely takes over your computer, blanks out your screen, and stops your notifications. No chimes when someone gchats you, no tones when a new email pops up. No constantly being distracted by that news story you have pulled up behind your current window. No seeing other programs in your dock and remembering something you were going to do. This is a program that offers simplicity again. “Welcome back to concentrating,” it says as it opens. And it feels good.

It’s precisely because the OmmWriter disables the technology we’ve surrounded ourselves with that it actually serves a positive purpose in creative pursuits. From the team that created it:

OmmWriter Dana is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate. OmmWriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.

The default screen is a snowy scene, a few trees near the horizon, clear, fresh, and white, like paper. Ambient music is available, as is silence. You can choose a plain white or gray screen as well. And from the moment I downloaded it, it was a pleasure to write. It was more intimate. And smooth. Somehow the designers had stumbled onto something new and yet simple and intuitive. Perhaps this was because it was never meant to be a product.

OmmWriter emerged as an internal tool to help transport us away from the humdrum noise; allowing us to be at one with ourselves and our ideas. All said and done, after having created something so valuable, we figured that OmmWriter was just too good to keep to ourselves.

In describing OmmWriter, the creative team quotes an anonymous wiseman who said, “We are all at the mercy of our wild monkey minds.” And so, when you’ve had your fill of writing, or, by necessity, you must re-enter the world, the program reminds you: “Restarting notifications. Your mind, a wild monkey.”

17 of 30

22 Feb

In response to some entrepreneur‘s blog post on drawing an owl, a commenter stumbled onto the best guide for creative projects I’ve ever read.

1. Start
2. Keep going.
3. You think you’re starting to get the hang of it.
4. You see someone else’s work and feel undeniable misery.
5. Keep going.
6. Keep going.
7. You feel like maybe, possibly, you kinda got it now.
8. You don’t.
9. Keep going.
10. You ask for someone else’s opinion—their response is standoffish, though polite.
11. Depression.
12. Keep going.
13. Keep going.
14. You ask someone else’s opinion—their response is favorable.
15. They have no idea what they’re talking about.
16. Keep going.
17. You feel semi-kinda favorable and maybe even a little proud of what you can do now.
18. Self-loathing chastisement.
19. Depression
20. Keep going.
21. You ask someone else’s opinion—they respond quite favorably.
22. They’re still wrong.
23. Depression.
24. Keep going though you can’t possibly imagine why.
25. Become restless.
26. Receive some measure of praise from a trustworthy opinion.
27. They’re still fucking wrong (Right?).
28. Keep going just because there’s nothing else to do.
29. Mastery arrives, you mistake it for a gust of wind.
30. Keep. Fucking. Going.

I think I’m at or around #17. Not looking forward to the next two.

quiet manifesto

30 Jan

Rendering from Landscape Futures Super-Workshop, via BLDG BLOG

I’ve mentioned Geoff Manaugh a lot in recent months, pretty much since BLDG BLOG snared me as its latest catch. I’ve mostly mentioned him at TBE, since his expertise is in “architectural conjecture, urban speculation, and landscape futures”—if one can be said to have expertise in such things.

Speaking of expertise, that very subject was brought up on the blog not that long ago, and for some reason, the exchange stuck with me. A comment on a November post read, rather abrasively, “I have tried and failed to ascertain exactly which if any qualifications Geoff Manaugh has? For all the white noise on the internet by this guy there is not one CV.” To which Manaugh responded, “Qualifications for what?”

Precisely. Qualifications for… having a blog? It would seem to me blogs are innocuous things, and that instead it’s the commenters on those blogs we need to screen; what are Anonymous’ qualifications for being able to chime in with his passive-aggressive concern?

More than that, Manaugh has been transparent about his aversion to a narrow scope from the beginning. In the intro The BLDG BLOG Book he sums up his purpose perfectly:

“Forget academic rigor. Never take the appropriate next step. Talk about Chinese urban design, the European space program, the landscape in the films of Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences—because it’s fun, and the juxtapositions might take you somewhere. Most importantly, follow your lines of interest.”

He follows his interests and synthesizes them wondrously. No qualifications necessary.

And this: “Never take the appropriate next step.” It’s like a quiet, potent manifesto.