Roam 101

Just start! Understand how to do [[backlinks]] and then start writing, and backlink things you think you might expand on later on - people, places, things, ideas, books, events, etc. One of the immediate magic things you'll notice - a page doesn't have to exist to backlink to it! Just creating the backlink will create the new note if it doesn't exist already.

For the time being just treat Roam like a normal text editor - tab to indent, shift + tab to remove indent. Don't worry about any other structure for now. Use cmd+b for bolding and cmd+h for ^^highlighting^^.

The [[daily journal]] UI is incredibly powerful - just start writing, like I did today. Maybe do a [[gratitude journal]], or a [[15 minute journal]], or a [[5 year journal]] entry. Eventually you might get pulled off track as you think of other things, but just keep writing!

The beauty is in the lack of organization. or the automatic organization. Or the magical organization. Whatever you want to call it. Something about the way Roam works just makes you feel at home.

It just feels like it works the way your brain works, which is pretty incredible given that it's pretty much impossible to describe how your brain works. That's the ironic thing about how we think - the nature of our minds, that they're a network, and the power comes from the relationships, from the space between things, instead of from the concrete things themselves, is actually very hard for us to grasp. This is the same reason we find [[machine learning]] hard to understand at the beginning - we're incredibly good [[pattern matching]] machines ourselves, but when we see someone or something else do it and we don't get it, it seems like magic.

If you're excited about it, get involved in the community early, join the slack Group, find @RoamResearch and #RoamCult on Twitter.

Bookmark some Youtube tutorials (search for [[Shu Omi]] and [[anonym.s]]), but don't watch them all yet! It will start to get overwhelming. at least it did for me, I started to watch how-to videos on traditional constructs that people were starting to build into Roam - task lists, kanban boards, [[spaced repetition]] systems, [[personal CRM]] - and it felt after a few hours like my brain was starting to solidify around traditional constructs. Also, I had stopped writing in Roam, and all the power and flexibility started to feel overwhelming. but, once you get back to the page and just start writing again, the magic is back.

On that note - one thing to do early is learn the keyboard shortcuts. just click the ? in the lower righthand corner and leave the menu open. This, coupled with the lack of need for organizing things into folders, projects, hierarchies, tags, etc, lets you remain in [[flow state]] as you think and write (basically the same thing, especially with Roam's help. Maybe we should call it thriting. Or wrinking. Or maybe not).

That flow state is key - This is what I now realize I was missing in [[Evernote]], [[Notion]], [[Google Docs]], even simpler tools like [[Trello]] and [[Google Keep]] which I love - in all of them, you have to manage the organization yourself to some extent, however minimal. You have to create a new note, or decide on the right database/block layout, or find the right link to another doc, or create a new card or a new post-it. In Roam, your fingers never have to leave the keyboard. You never have to interact with the side menu. Once you've backlinked a few things in-line, doing so just starts to come naturally. And if it doesn't, no problem. Just finish writing, and go back and read your notes and backlink retroactively.

Or even better, don't! Roam will show you an unlinked references section at the bottom of each note, and you can create the formal links to other notes if you want to from there.