Writing Tools

Now is the time for all good people to write to aid their country.


Ommwriter is a blank canvas for writing. You can have it open on your computer, and when you change to it presents a completely blank screen, except for a single writing window, accompanied by an ambient music background. There is no formatting to speak of, in that respect it like TextEdit or Notepad. The purpose of Ommwriter is to do a brain dump and it uniquely suited to that purpose.


Curio is a single user project manager (among other things). Curio consists of a number of objects which mimic traditional items used for organizing and project managment. Curio uses mind-maps, lists, drawings, tables, and index cards. Each of these can be created and placed on an _idea space_ a single screen.  Idea spaces can also have document links to items created in other programs such as iWork Pages or Microsoft Word. (As far as I can tell, such files are physically stored within the Curio project file as part of a package. They can be extracted, but the process isn’t entirely transparent. )

Each project can have multiple idea spaces. After using Curio for a couple of weeks, I haven’t graduated beyond a single curio project file. Instead all of my various projects live in a single project file, each of which has its own idea space.  I have the following idea spaces so far:

  • Dashboard – consisting of a daily to-do list and a mind-map showing all of my projects, goals, and tasks.
  • Clients — One idea space for each client. The top of the idea space consists of a file card with all relevant contact information, a to-do list for each project for the client and tables which show fixed tabular information, like budget numbers. In one case I have a mind-map outlining some strategic goals for the client. 
  • Projects — I’m currently revising our embedded application to work with Windows Embedded Standard 7. This requires absorbing a host of new information related to the new version of Windows Embedded, and I have an idea space for this project. 
  • Grant Application — One idea space per application. Since these are collaborative, most of the critical grant transactions happen on BaseCamp. In the case where I’m organizing the application before transferring to BaseCamp, an idea space works well. Of course any bids or grant applications that are largely done by myself can be kept in Curio. 

There is a lot more to discuss regarding Curio, and as I learn more I’ll report back. Suffice it to say that it is a very interesting application. The Curio team has a unique and generous evaluation offer; you can download an evaluation version valid for 15 days. Once that has expired you can apply for a 60-day evaluation extension.

750 Words

This is an online site which provides you with a very simple interface to get down 750 words per day. The site supplies a certain amount of motivation. The site creator was inspired by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way which discusses the concept of “morning pages”, a daily quota of free writing.

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