Roam Dervish (Roam Research Coaching)

Roam Dervish (Roam Research Coaching)
Let’s talk with our graphs and wander the world together.

Imagine the Aha! Moment the first time you try out Roam.

The connections you can make, all the notes you've written can be resurfaced. You can journal your life in unforgettable, written form. There's a certain thrill behind 'Roaming': answering questions, expanding on thoughts, and finding out what can you possibly connect.

But sometimes, you might get stuck.

Maybe there's a feature you want to know more about. It could be efficiency, or it could be theme-related. Would shortcuts help you think faster? Is this extension good for your graph?

More importantly, there could be a thought/life experience you want to explore to the point of exhaustion, and you want to make the best of it in Roam.

There may be an ending to your pursuit for thinking, but you don't know how to get there.

What if there's a way to:

  • Have a second opinion on how to use Roam for your needs?
  • Explore a personal story together with a friend in Roam?
  • Engage in a personal experience through shared note-taking sessions?

I’ve been in a number of podcasts, hosted a few salons, and am the host of a couple of shows. Notably, I host RoamFM.

Becoming interested in this TFT space made me realise how universal the lessons you can learn from being in a number of ways to look at the world. People write differently, think differently, and that reflects well in their knowledge graphs.

There are some commonalities: facets of curiosity reflected in how much they would deep dive into questions for example. You can hear them in their interviews.

But for the general public, maybe we weren't given the chance to cultivate these skills. To what extent should you explore these questions?

When should you chase after a muse?

Introducing, a different type of Roam coaching call, named Roam Dervish.

There are two types of Roam coaching:

1. General Roam Coaching Call

General usage of Roam and how it’s used: workflows, understandings of the features, tools and more.

I’ve done a number of Roam coaching calls where someone would want to have their advice shared on:

  • What would work best for their workflows
  • Workflows in Roam navigation using Smartblocks and Roam42
  • Discussing rationales for different formats: attributes, metadata, css inclusions and more

My usage of Roam can be seen in multiple public settings, from livestreams to keynotes and podcast interviews. Here's an example:

That being said, I'm not a technical Roam user. I barely use queries, and my knowledge of Smartblocks is limited.

My workflows are not explicitly reflected in my graph. A lot of my systems come with rationales and understandings that are not shown on-screen. I'm building my graph to easily recall anything regardless of what I do. My methods get adjusted frequently according to my various experiments.

If you're interested in finding more about structuring your Roam graph to help you think, I'm happy to guide you there :).

The other type of coaching requires vulnerability:

2. Roam Dervish: Let’s talk with our graphs

“True to his ‘Humanise the Guest’ principle, Norm is a true steward in the prolific world of hypertext and podcasting. Norm will carefully walk you through your Roam graph and set you on the right path towards cultural immortality.” – Helena Ng (@herrowna)

Roam Dervish (RD) is a form of conversational therapy. This is where we explore something together, talk with our graphs open and cry our hearts out to each other.

Think of this as an intimate outlet. Think of myself as a conductor, issuing you a ticket to board the train of bliss. The more that we write our most intimate notes together, the more we will connect and understand something together.

In an RD session, you are given permission to do anything you want: laugh, cry, dance with abandon. We can sing songs of praise, we can cry out at our vulnerabilities. I invite you to tell me what you are thinking about: what are you processing? Do you have emotions you need to write down? Do you seek guidance understanding a moment in Roam?

Using the medium of conversation, I want to reach out to you through your writing. As we share our deepest blocks, and talk about our most powerful stories, we pen down our interactions and arrive at insightful conclusions.

Maybe there’s a question plaguing your mind, and you want us to explore it together 1-on-1? It’s time to wander.

Maybe you’ve been struggling with something, and you want to explore it through Roam, and you’d want an outsider voice like myself to be there and hold your hand to navigate through it? It’s time to wander.

I will be here to witness your flourishing. I will be weird with you, and all will be well.

Note: I am not a certified therapist, and cannot provide any professional advice to help you with solutions.

How It Works

  1. Book a time with me. When booking, tell me what type of coaching do you want (1 - General, 2 - Dervish) and a summary of what you'd like to talk about.
  2. We get on a recorded Zoom call (FYI: I record my conversations)
  3. If it's a General Coaching Call, we figure out solutions to what you need help with: is it help with specific structures? Rationales for notes? Help with setting up a new graph? Do you have a Roam-related idea that you'd like my opinion on? Anything goes!

    If it's a Dervish session, we open our hearts out to each other. Tell me your story: eg. what have you been thinking about? Your worries, your thoughts, your struggles, your fears, your ambitions. Everything is permitted.
  4. We talk, write, and converse throughout our call and our graphs.
  5. At the end of the session, I will send over a copy of our call to you for memory's sake. Your notes are yours, and my notes are mine.

The Oath of Secrecy

Both types of calls share one thing in common: they are held only between the two of us.

That being said, you may be worried about it being recorded. Here, I share with you what happens after:

The recording is meant for personal use only. Will you re-watch that video and hear how you sound like in certain moments? Will you go through it in greater detail? Will you agree, disagree, and more? Will you write notes on top of our conversation after time has passed?

From my end, I have an incentive to keep it a secret because I’ll be sharing my graph too. There are some things I don’t want the public to see, but if given the moment I may open up just for our call. That is the power of a heart-to-heart talk with someone. This call is merely a fleeting memory of your lifetime, a conversation you may hold dear, and you never know! You might get some kind of insight from this one interaction :)

For transparency, this is what I do with recorded calls:

  • Share the link to you via WeTransfer
  • Save the video in my Dropbox for personal storage/archiving
  • Transcribe the video in Descript
  • Copy the transcript over into my private Roam graph, privatised (you never know, our interaction may lead to the birth of a new epiphany!)

I keep all transcripts and calls privatised in my notes. In the event I do other calls/keynotes/livestreams, I turn on Roam42’s privacy mode to hide them. The only time I will be using our transcript/video is for personal, private exploration of thoughts that I’ve had.


1 Hour is USD100, and a 2-hour session is $180. Saving $20 for you to get a cup of coffee and a meal so you can keep writing in your notes 😄

Where to go next?

Please book a time here with me, and we can find a spot to talk it out :)

If you have a question, you can DM me @RoamFM or tweet at me if it’s something you don’t mind asking!