Notes, experiences and thoughts about writing on Roam Research

Welcome to [[Roaming Writing]] by me, Adolfo Ramírez Corona. Philosopher, author, educator; UX, media and audiences specialist; psychotherapist, coach.

You can find some of my texts on Medium and the newsletter Concepts Against Reality.

This newsletter, [[Roaming Writing]], is about notes, experiences, and thoughts about writing on Roam Research and similar apps.

You don’t need to have or use Roam Research to read this newsletter. This is not about the app but the experience and fundamentals of advanced note-taking methods, apps, and systems.

These are snippets or seed notes of what is coming to give you an idea of the content.

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  • Some say is a note-taking app with the power of backlinks. Others say that its main difference is its transclusion properties. There is who says that the outline is the core of its mechanism. Or the unlinked references. The graph visualization. The networked thoughts. Its potential to build a second thought. The free form allows the emerging structure.

  • Let me diverge. The reason why Roam is a game-changer app in its category is the graph database. No, no the graph visualization of your notes. A graph database is a very technical concept. But once you understand it, it's more clear the power of Roam Research.

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  • If you have work with living documents like Hackpad, Google Docs, Dropbox Paper, Notion, or even recent versions of Evernote, you know that there is no "save" button. So, in a certain way, in Roam Research you work with a big and complex living document.

  • But you have to stop thinking in the text on documents because there is no document object. No document lives on the cloud or on your desktop. There is no "save as".

  • With Roam Research you have to forget about documents.

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  • There are not predefined methods or procedures in Roam. You have a set of rules that are relatively simple but can generate complex relations.

  • Think about spreadsheets like Excel. You have sheets, cells in rows, and columns. In each cell, you can have values (like text or numbers), references to other cells, or formulas (for math or text).

  • That's it. With these simple rules, you can write a simple list on a spreadsheet or keep the payroll of a big company.

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  • This is relevant because, in this kind of database, a text has options. It can be only a text, a text that works also as a label, or a tag, or as a page, or the name of the page. As many properties have a text, more are its options and worth in the database.

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  • Roam Research database is agnostic: it doesn't know or doesn't care why a text it's linked or not. You might forget to put the brackets, forget the page existed or didn't know there was a page ergo a link.

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  • You don't decide what is good writing while writing. You decide what is good writing while reading. So write and then see if what you write was good or not.

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  • To be antifragile, your writing needs to be abundant but atomic, brief, aphoristic. In order to produce a lot, writing needs to be fragmented. And something that born fragmented can't be broken.

  • Antifragility gets stronger with breaking down. The more your writing deconstructs, analyzes, separates, brakes form, or content, it gets stronger. The more you break writing, your writing, and you became stronger. Being vulnerable and foolish are ways to break you up, to fail quickly, to trial, to learn.

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