Bookmans Grant hosts a local authors fair from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 13. This event got us wondering about how writing effects the mind. What we found made us want to exercise all the parts of the brain that are involved.


One of the most important developments of humankind is writing. It allows us to create a timeline of events so we can understand how we ended up where we are. During the philosophically creative Spring and Autumn period in China, Confucius and Lao Tzu wrote the words that continue to influence millions. From the rise of Western civilization in ancient Greece came the work of Socrates and Aristotle. Throughout history writing has given us the most effective way to share the lessons and ideas that we find the most significant.

When someone tells a story, both the reader’s and the listener’s brain can synchronize. Writers have the power to influence readers thoughts and emotions. Readers have the ability to empathize with the storyteller’s message in very real ways. This is especially true with the use of metaphors involving the five senses. If a reader comes across the idea that “the singer has a velvety voice” then the sensory area of the brain is effected whereas if it the descriptive phrase is that “the singer had a pleasing voice” it is not.

Writing is a good way to teach someone else and the act of writing teaches the writer too. When we write our brain’s recticular activity center is activated. This is area of the brain filters the information that your brain receives and chooses what we give the most attention to. This area of the brain helps you make decisions like which task to do first, change lanes because there is someone in the middle of the road or change the station because you don’t like a song. When we put feelings into words it can relax our amygdala and have a calming effect similar to meditation. This makes writing good for the writer as well as the reader.

The more we learn about the brain the more we see that writing and reading have a powerful influence on some of the things that make life good. By sharing experiences with someone through reading and writing, we have both shaped and been shaped by history. Every author is local to somewhere and it’s important to support Arizona authors and all those who keep this beautiful tradition alive — including you!