One author wondered why Jules Verne burned all his notebooks about his books, two years before he died. The question was, “What did he have to hide?”
Nothing. It’s not about hiding. It’s about not allowing people to see your work. Some work can or will be publish or it’s ok to be read by others. But other writings are off limits. Not because you have something to hide, but because they represent your most inner thoughts – sometimes, written at your most vulnerable times in your life; other times, they are simply ramblings you had to write down in order to make sense of your own life and the world around you. They were for no one else’s viewing but your own. They were not major revelations to anyone but you. They were rants and laughter and worries and hopes – all lumped up in one writing stream that was not for public consumption.
Notes taken when writing a book fall into the same category. You can’t avoid NOT going through the same process. It’s trying to make sense of what you are writing or wanting to write about. But there is no order, no structure, no rhyme or reason. Just a bunch of thoughts mushed up on paper in random order. Imagine a bunch of academics dissecting that. They’d come up with theories and interpretations of what you wrote about and what it meant. Psychologists will find disturbing patterns and inexplicable behavior.
“I was PMSing and had a glass of wine and life was not pink, not matter what the songs says”. But in the process of writing, I worked out something that I could not have processed without the pain from the PMS and the courage from wine. There. That’s all it is. And you are not going to read about it. I already burned it.