It's easy to fool yourself into thinking that a given idea makes sense; it's harder to fool someone else. Writing down an idea automatically engages the mechanisms we use to communicate to others, helping you hold your self-analysis to a higher standard.
I agree! I have definitely seen the benefits of dumping out my thoughts and looking at them.
Here is my problem: I think I may have been over-trained by high school to write for an audience. So, if I'm keeping a journal of my thoughts to look back on later, who is my audience?
If I'm writing as if I'm writing for myself, then my writing won't make any sense to other people. Like, I'll write "but then I saw that the blue civic was there, so I decided to not leave my apartment for the whole evening." This makes perfect sense to me because the significance of the blue civic is pretty accessible in my memory right now. But another person reading it won't be able to follow the causal links. Instead, I can write in a way that another person would understand, and explain everything that wouldn't make sense to someone who isn't me. But then who am I writing for? At this point in the process, I just start feeling weird explaining something that I don't personally need an explanation for in a document that I assume other people aren't going to see and might not even care about if they did. (Like people with personal blogs! They explain things! Why do they assume they have readers?) Or is it a good idea to unpack those weird causal things that are non-obvious to other people each time I encounter them?
But also, writing for yourself with the assumption that no one is going to see your writing brings up security issues? If I'm writing for myself and I have weird, sketchy thoughts that I want to document about my friend, I'm going to write "Joe" because I think of that person as Joe. But if Joe ever finds my writing, he might be horribly upset to find out that I think something bad about him that I haven't talked to him about directly. Which means I need to censor names. But at soon as I start censoring names, then I'm already no longer writing for myself, but for an audience that I'm trying to hide information from. This sounds like a problem because then I'm no longer recording everything and also trying to avoid adding details that give people away. But, overall, I'm writing for an audience again, which brings up all those other audience-related issues I mentioned earlier.
Help! How should I write things?
*Should I delete the old comment?