Laboratory and medical technology has developed to the point where our society can now map neurological behavior to actually see what the effects of exercising our cognitive abilities look like. As such, we can directly explore how activities like writing impact our brains; however, the benefits of writing in terms of cognitive development are long known. To establish a baseline in our understanding, it is important to first comprehend what writing does to influence the development of our brain and, ultimately, our cognitive abilities.
In young children, learning to write most directly helps children develop their fine motor skills. Adults often take for granted the fact that they do whatever they want with their hands simply because they want to it, until they must do something that requires a higher level of dexterity. Whether discussing the scripting of a letter or typing on a keyboard, exposing developing children to intensive writing exercises forces them to coordinate their brain impulses with their physical reactions. As our fine motor skills develop, our brains are able to actively engage the world, because we are able to undertake new experiences.
In turn, the development of fine motor skills helps children connect the physical world to their internal world, so they can better recognize the concept of self. Consequently, writing, like all language exercises also offers us the opportunity to learn abstract concepts. From the concept of letters to the meaning of words, writing is entirely abstract, thus we must have well developed cognitive skills to become better writers. As such, in the beginning of the learning process, writing serves to both improve our fine motor skills and offer a need to develop basic cognitive abilities.
Furthermore, writing requires both organization and an understanding of how others may interpret our written work. Conversations involve words as well as body language and tone, thus a large portion of a discussion does not actually require language. Since these elements factor into speaking and conversations usually take place in real time, spoken verse is very responsive to the needs of others. As writing lacks these subtleties, writers must learn how to anticipant the responses of others while fully developing ideas before receiving a response. This means all our cognitive skills are strongly exercised when we write.
Writing is an art that most individuals are far from mastering. On the other hand, all applications of writing require fairly high levels of thinking. More intensive writing pursuits, especially those undertaken by those writers who strive to interact with readers, require strongly developed cognitive abilities, yet even note taking forces our brains to anticipant how we and others will react to our words while utilizing abstract concepts like words. In all, writing is a challenging mental sport that can help people develop and improve their cognitive skills, because of its extremely abstract nature.