I stared at screens a lot this year. Roam Research made that time mostly worth it.
Roam is what you make of it. It’s ostensibly a note-taking app with an obtuse UI, but its product mechanics – bi-directional linking, easy page creation, embedding – allow for “networked thought” in a way that isn’t easy in other apps. Folks who use it religiously often describe it as a ‘second brain’. It’s extremely flexible: almost any writing process is possible in Roam, and increasingly Roam itself can be modified (e.g. support for custom CSS and JS).
Before using Roam I used note-taking apps sparingly and didn’t do any long-form writing or reflection outside of work. I journaled on and off but never developed a habit; I generally didn’t think of writing as a tool in my tool belt. Roam changed that. I started using it for journaling, but the use cases grew and grew, and eventually encompassed almost everything I type, save for messaging. Blog posts, grocery lists, recipe notes, book quotes, and more are all in Roam.