Saturday, May 22, 2021

Does Writing Change the Author?

I do believe my writing has changed me in many ways, starting with how it has expanded my mind no matter what genre I'm writing. I think having to make up characters and their behaviors helps develop empathy, especially the characters with bad intentions because I have to think about what made them behave the way they do. It also has expanded my ingenuity since I have to think about different situations and how I can make them relatable, compelling, and sometimes unique.

Writing a fiction story requires imagination, but every story also needs a basis in reality. After all, writing a story means creating believable characters and how they interact with other characters. It requires the writer to ask themselves questions about what will happen in the story. How will the characters react? What will result from their actions? How will they overcome their adversities? For this, authors must develop empathy for both their good and bad characters to make them understandable to the reader.

Writing often requires research, even for fiction. I've had to research Michigan police from city to county to state levels in requirements and practices. I've investigated quantum physics and how to bioform a planet, along with how would a spaceship work. I've also researched history for Constantine's Legacy. So I learn by writing, too. Interestingly, writing also helps memory.

Even writing a creative non-fiction narrative or an academic essay requires digging through one's memory and doing research. So writing exercises the brain and helps it stay healthy. 

Mental growth is probably inevitable for writers. Studies of the brain have shown both reading and writing involve different regions of the mind working together, so, at the very least, writing is a good brain exercise. 

Neuroscientists have also studied the effects of writing and reading on the brain. The online article "Creative Writing and Your Brain: The mind works in mysterious ways when it is creating a fiction story, by Jenni Ogden, PhD., in Psychology Today (2013), one line caught my attention. It said: "Creative writing is one of the best exercises we can do for our brains." Interesting as it kind of supports my comments. This is after explaining that the brain does not construct the mind but cooperates with the body to 'create' our mind and help us build memories.

Writing has also changed my physical world, allowing me to become an adjunct professor teaching academic writing. Yes, I had a degree in business communications, but the fact I was already an author had an effect in my hiring, too. So reading and writing always achieve something!

Please read the following author's views on this topic:

Skye Taylor

Anne Stenhouse

Marci Baun 

Diane Bator 

Connie Vines 

Dr. Bob Rich 

Fiona McGie

Judith Copek 




  1. Rhobin, I have never thought of your point: that writing fiction has to seamlessly weld reality with imagination. But as for growing the brain, duh, what was your name again?

  2. Love the idea that writing exercises our brains. I watched my mom sink into the quagmire of Alzheimers and frequently read an article that suggests this behavior or that either is more prevalent in Alzheimer's patients or seems to have a positive effect in avoiding it. I'm going to write until I'm dead if it helps keep my brain growing and changing. Thanks for that.

  3. Anything that makes us think outside of the box will grow our brains, I imagine. There’s no question writing makes us think outside of the box. How many impossible situations have you had to solve to get your characters to safety? By now, I’m sure you could save the world. 😁

    I love how most of us have come to the same conclusion but with a different path. Thank you for setting these up. I always have such a great time. 😊

  4. Great post, Rhobin. Thanks for sharing. And I found your comment on devloping empathy interesting. I hadn't thought of that before.

  5. I, too, really enjoyed thinking this topic through, Rhobin. thanks for that.
    I take your point about empathy.
    Really pleased that writing is so good for the brain and the licence that gives us to keep going. Anne

  6. Robin, I mentioned in my post too about how I think writing is helping my brain stay sharp and alert - or at least, better than it could be! And I hope to keep on writing for as long as I can.
    Thanks for organising another through-provoking round robin.

  7. This was a great topic, Robin! I loved reading all of the well-thought-out responses, even if it took me a while. I'm doing a long-term full-time sub job for a maternity leave, so my days are too full, and I'm too exhausted at night to do anything other than fall asleep reading. But I enjoy your prompts. The school year will end in two weeks, and my time will be my own again. I can't wait to see what next month's topic is!