Non-linear writing’s ability to jump from sentence to sentence, idea to idea, changes the way the mind thinks through ideas
Writing is typically a linear process. When capturing an idea one writes it down from start to finish. On pen and paper you fill the page this way.
Writing digitally, however, changes this.
Writing digitally makes it so the writer can quickly pop from working on one sentence to adding another sentence to a paragraph 3 pages back, whenever they choose.
If I’m three sentences in to a paragraph and have an idea that fits in the paragraph three pages ago, I can quickly jump there to add it, write more as needed, then jump back to the present. This is one way to practice zoom-in-zoom-out thinking.
No longer do I have to think so diligently about what I want the next sentence to say; instead, I can have a thought, and jump to a different part of the digital page and insert my thought there. When I’m at a point of review, I can rearrange paragraphs and sentences on the fly, mixing and remixing words and thoughts until the sentence feels right.
This is not a new concept—Microsoft Word has been around forever—but my thinking about it is new. I’m fascinated by how, over time, non-linear writing helps ideas improve and evolve. It’s this thinking that has led me to explore Why I like Roam over Bear for improving my thinking and the idea that browsing the internet through multiple tabs is non-linear thinking.
It’s also led me to recognize that Tools for managing information overload and improving how we think are on the rise, and they show incredible potential for improving our thinking, beyond just making processes easier.