Writing as thinking
There are two approaches to using writing to think.
The first is going into writing with an idea in mind. Sometimes this is after getting an idea through conversation.
The second is figuring out an idea through the process of writing. Writing stream-of-consciousness and seeing where your thoughts take you.
These two types are forms of exploiting and exploring. Another way to think about it is writing as an authority versus writing to have a conversation.
Too many people aren't open to both methods. When you have a specific idea you want to dig deeper into, writing helps you. But writing also helps when you have no ideas. The act of writing can bring out ideas and help you connect ideas and examples together. There's no excuse not to write at any time.
When you write stream-of-consciousness you can't filter or judge. Just let the words out. No one else has to see them. You don't even need to see them. Writing can help you process emotions and events and can help you come to epiphanies. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting an outside perspective.