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Writing as a Hobby: Creative Writing for Seniors

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In the United States, creative writers have an average age of 40 years and up. This age bracket represents 52% of the creative writing population.

If you look at this statistic another way, you could say that creative writing isn’t just for young people. Many well-known fiction writers today, like Stephen King, John Grisham, and Anne Rice, are over 60 years old.

If you’re a senior interested in pursuing creative writing as a hobby, how do you get started? How can creative writing benefit you in your old age?

This article explains how seniors can become creative writers and discusses the benefits seniors can gain from pursuing this hobby.

Creative writing can be an excellent hobby for all ages, including seniors. It can help you arrange your thoughts and actions meaningfully.

Some individuals who pursue creative writing do so in a conducive environment, such as a mountain retreat or an ocean view, to promote inner calm and gain inspiration.

Keep on reading to learn how you can pursue creative writing and how it can benefit you despite your advanced age.

How to Become a Creative Writer Later in Life

When you go into creative writing, you can take classes, attend workshops, or even earn a degree to become good at it. But if you’re a senior, you may not have many opportunities to learn creative writing through these routes.

Despite these hurdles, your creative thinking and the writing tools available matter when pursuing this kind of writing. Creative writing is about putting your imagination on a page and expressing your words artistically.

If you’re interested in creative writing, remember that it’s meant to evoke emotions in your reader. One way to draw out such emotions is by communicating a theme through storytelling. The theme is the central meaning of your work.

Even if you’re a senior living independently, you still have an excellent chance to succeed as a creative writer if you can communicate your theme to your readers.

Aside from the theme, other components that usually define creative writing include the following:

●     Telling the story from a specific point of view

●     Connecting or attempting to connect with your reader’s emotions

●     Using imaginative or descriptive language, or both

●     Organizing the text around a narrative structure

The narrative structure is your story’s framework that describes how you tell your story and reveal the plot to your reader. Some ways to develop your narrative structure include:

●     Linear or chronological: Presents the events in chronological order.

●     Nonlinear or fractured: Jumps through different timelines or switches characters at various points of the story.

●     Circular: Ends the story the same way it began.

●     Parallel: Follows multiple storylines tied by a single event, character, or theme.

After you’ve thought of a theme — or even if you haven’t yet, as long as you think of one as you write along — the next step is to think of your plot, characters, and conflict. These three elements are essential to the story if you’re writing fiction.

The plot is what occurs in a story and consists of actions arranged in a meaningful way. Note that actions don’t immediately constitute a plot. Instead, the sequence of events due to these actions forms the plot.

You can develop the plot by examining human reactions to ever-changing situations. For example, you can observe how your neighbors interact with each other or how your grandchildren react when they visit your home.

When structuring your plot, ensure that the cause-and-effect connections between actions or events are believable and logical. If the reader can’t see the significance of these connections, they may lose interest.

The plot can fluctuate depending on your characters’ actions. Suppose one of the characters in your story returns to their hometown. What actions are they likely to take out of the many possible scenarios you can imagine? Their actions and the consequences of such actions can drive the plot.

Additionally, readers are more likely to believe the actions occurring in the plot if the characters are also believable. Most traditional fiction divides characters into the following categories:

●     Protagonist: The main character, sometimes called the hero

●     Antagonist: The protagonist’s opponent

●     Foil: A character who helps readers better understand the protagonist or another character

Characters are essential to your story’s plot, so you must understand them thoroughly. Consider creating a character sheet describing their physical aspects, mental or emotional traits, and motivations. You can then present these descriptions indirectly in your story through dialogue and action.

Readers are often interested in other people’s lives. Introducing conflict among characters is one way to drive that interest.

You can write your character to come into conflict with an external force like natural disasters or poverty. You can also explore the complexities in people’s relationships that drive conflict.

When such conflicts arise, like a fight between the protagonist and antagonist, ensure that your characters resolve them in a satisfying way that drives the plot further or achieves your story’s conclusion.

Creative writing isn’t only about writing novels or short stories. You can also write poetry, television scripts, screenplays, and creative nonfiction like autobiographies or memoirs.

Finally, when you finish your story, consider pursuing it as a hobby or having it published, or both. If you find it challenging to do the entire publishing process by yourself due to old age, consider contacting an editor and a literary agent for assistance.

An editor can help fine-tune your story, while a literary agent can pitch your manuscript to a publishing company.

Benefits of Creative Writing to Seniors

One benefit of creative writing is that it can help you become in tune with your writing strengths and weaknesses.

You’ll determine the kinds of themes, characters, plots, and conflicts you like to write best and identify where you struggle the most.

Once you understand what kind of writer you are, you can decide which projects to pursue, even when you’re a senior.

Another benefit is that creative writing can help boost your imagination. You can create new worlds, characters, and situations in ways that practically have no limit except your mind. You can even discover alternative solutions to imagined or real-world problems and observe issues from different points of view.

You can also develop empathy through creative writing. When you create characters, you build their personalities, allowing you to view their world through their eyes and understand their experiences.

One study showed that many older adults were family caregivers to a spouse or parent with dementia or other chronic diseases. Because empathy in aging may affect the quality of older adults’ relationships, empathy may contribute to the success of this caregiver-patient relationship.

Creative writing also encourages you to broaden your vocabulary as you explore new ways of self-expression. Through creative writing, you may discover an improvement in your use and range of language, which is invaluable in any social situation.

Finally, creative writing involves having others review your work and learning to review their works critically. Listening to their feedback and constructive criticism can help improve your writing quality, especially if you plan to pursue creative writing for a long time despite your age.


  1. Fiction Writing Basics
  1. Impact of Aging on Empathy: Review of Psychological and Neural Mechanisms

Written By

Fay Smith

Fay Smith is an English Literature major who spent five years working in communications before settling down with her husband. Now a proud mother of two young children, Fay frequently contributes to various health and wellness sites like Motherhood Community, sharing her experiences as a mother. As a freelance writer and researcher, she specializes in wellness topics like alternative treatments and CBD.

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