# Documentation is the side effect of thinking

I tend to write a lot of software documentation, like to capture architectural decisions or drawing up architecture diagrams. There are two types of reaction that I commonly received for my documentation writing: "You are so good at keeping records", and "Isn't it a waste of time producing these documents?".

On the first reaction, I don't actually write or draw them for keeping records, I do it because Writing makes thinking possible. And because the primary reason I write is for thinking (and draw for modelling - To diagram is to model), the documents are just the side effect of the thinking process. As Feynman said (Ahrens 95):

They aren't a record of my thinking process. They are my thinking process

On the second reaction, even though I write as I think, it's true that my writing cost me extra time. But most of the extra time I'd spent, though, would be on the editing process. The time for editing is justifiable as we'll allow our writing to be readable by other people over and over again.

# References

Ahrens, How to Take Smart Notes (p. 95).

Richard Feynman once had a visitor in his office, as historian who wanted to interview him. When he spotted Feynman's notebooks, he said how delighted he was to see such "wonderful records of Feynman's thinking.".

"No, no!" Feynman protested. "They aren't a record of my thinking process. They are my thinking process. I actually did the work on the paper."

"Well," the historian said, "the work was done in your head, but the record of is still here."

"No, it's not a record, not really. It's working. You have to work on paper, and this is the paper." (Genius: The Life And Science of Richard Feynman," James Gleick, Pantheon Books, 1992 (see pg. 409))