Why Writing is the Best Activity for Your Brain

Did you know that an average writer’s brain activity is almost equivalent to an athlete running a marathon?

Like any other creative activities, writing provides benefits to you, both mentally and physically. The brain is like a muscle inside your body. And just like athletes doing physical exercises, writing will strengthen their muscles. When you use your brain to write and organize words to form sentences and paragraphs, your brain will get stronger.

Overtime, writing gets easier just like any muscle perform certain tasks. However, without proper training or consistent practice, this skill will wean off, just like your muscles get weaker after not working out for a while.

That’s why, in order to keep you from getting ‘rusty’, writing is one of the most beneficial activities to exercise your brain. Moreover, you do not need any special equipment to stay on track–just a simple pen and paper would do. If you are more comfortable doing it with gadgets like smartphones, tablets, or laptops, you can do so too!

Why is writing considered ‘hard’ for some people?

There’s no such thing as a certain skill is easier than the other, some people just put more time and practice into it. And yes, writing is a complex activity that requires brainpower. Whether you’re writing an essay, an academic paper, or a novel–all of your brainpower is distributed to become more efficient in structuring sentences. You will become tired after doing a lot of writing activity, especially at high levels of thinking. But don’t worry, that’s the sign of your brain working out!

Of course, depending on how long you’ve been practicing, your environment, tools, and mental state, you could increase the amount of time you can work before feeling tired.

So, is it a physical or a mental activity?

Fun fact: a writer’s job is not to write but to think. Before writing, a writer usually has everything mapped out in their brain before pouring it out onto a paper or a blank page. This requires research and brainstorming. So, I would say it’s 90% mental and 10% physical. The physical includes finger positioning or hand muscles exercise if you’re writing with pen and paper.

We should not focus only on the tiring activity but also the benefits. Writing is a great activity to express your opinions, wind down your emotions, and also a good place to contain your creative thinking. According to Jason Fried in his book Rework (2010), people who have good writing abilities  are more trusted to join a company, and personally, his company. A clear reason is because a good writer knows how to effectively communicate. By familiarizing yourself with your writing capabilities, you will achieve other benefits:

1.     You learn how to express ideas or feelings easily. You will know the right words to use if you are used to expressing your opinions and thought processes. You will be able to deliver these messages more easily when interacting with others, making your conversations more fluid.

2.     You will gain new insights. Among other things, a writer’s most important task is to research the subject they’re writing. Exploring new ideas, new points of view, or new perspectives will provide you with new insights and knowledge.

3.     Become more self-aware. What’s on your mind? How are you feeling? Each day we encounter different possibilities and situations. Knowing how you respond to these through writing will help you become more mindful in life.

4.     Getting through tough times easier. Feeling angry, sad, depressed, or anxious after going through a bad day? According to professors from University of Missouri, ‘writing about traumatic events may provide a less upsetting but effective way to heal.’ (King & Miner, 2000)

5.     You will have a lot of written memories. Not just bad days, but happy days are also worthy of being written down and remembered. If you write every day, you will have a beautiful journey of your life that will become history one day.

So, try to slowly practice more writing. You’re welcome to take on any challenges that will train your brain to work effectively during writing, such as speed typing or create daily 100-words writing goals. Remember, if you want to become better at anything, it’s best to start small and be consistent.

Writer: Radya Ayufa Putri

Editor: Junanda Amriansyah


Fried, J., & Hansson, H. D. (2010, March 9). Rework (1st ed.). Currency.

King, L. A., & Miner, K. N. (2000, February). Writing about the Perceived Benefits of Traumatic Events: Implications for Physical Health. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(2), 220–230. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167200264008