6 Enriching Writing Projects for Retirees
“I don’t have the time! But one day...” is an (understandably) common refrain for those among us who plan to write a book. The timing is never right.
At retirement, though, the time couldn't be more right to write.
Many retirees look for activities to keep themselves busy, fulfilled, and mentally stimulated. Guess what - spending time writing does all that and more! Better still, with years of life experiences to tap into, retirees have no shortage of ideas and source material. Whether it's a daily activity or something to pick up every now and then, a writing project can make the golden years even more satisfying and enjoyable.
Here are six worthwhile writing projects for retirees of any writing experience level:
Pen a memoir
Retirement age is a great time to reflect on personal experiences - and then write about them in a memoir. Memoir is a type of creative nonfiction that comes in many forms and writing styles: from light, humorous essays to full-length, emotionally-charged books. A memoir can be an account of one's own life or another individual's experiences, an event, a place visited, or a spiritual quest. One thing all memoirs have in common is that they are stories based on the memories and reflections of the author, told from his or her perspective.
Assemble a family history book
Researching family history appeals to many retirees, who often become passionate about their family background and ancestry. A family history book is a way to put genealogy research to good use and share it with family, friends, and history buffs. Family histories can focus on one family or many families and might include a written narrative, chronology, family tree, maps, and photographs. Family history software packages are available for those who want help recording, organizing, and presenting their research.
Draft a newspaper article
Newspaper publishers are always on the lookout for local stories that pertain to the community, and retirees may have the perfect story to tell. Writing an article for a local newspaper or similar publication is a rewarding way to share information with interested readers. Personal essays, reviews of local events or establishments, and opinion pieces are just a few ideas of the types of articles a newspaper might accept for publication. When preparing a newspaper piece, writers should check editorial guidelines for submission information.
Create a cookbook
Some of the best recipes are the ones collected through the years from trial-and-error, family, and friends. Why not organize all those tasty recipes into one central location, like a cookbook? A cookbook can have a general theme or focus on a specialty, such as chicken dishes. Written commentary in the form of personal notes, anecdotes, and culinary tips adds interest and a personal touch to a cookbook. Other steps to writing a cookbook include selecting photographs, editing, and proofreading recipes.
Publish a poetry chapbook
Writing poetry has many benefits: it challenges the mind, relieves stress, provides inspiration and healing, and fosters creativity at any age. There are many forms of poetry, from rhyming verse to haiku to acrostics, so the sky's the limit when it comes to writing a poem. Writing poetry, however, doesn't usually stop at one poem, which is why many poets put together poetry chapbooks — pamphlet-like collections of poetry, usually 40 pages or less. Chapbooks are often very beautifully designed and give readers a sampling of a poet's voice, style, and talent.
Write a children's story
Many retirees are both parents and grandparents, so they know plenty about kids and what interests them. And children make a great audience for writers because they love hearing and reading stories, especially those with characters and subjects they can relate to. Writing for children offers countless formats for storytelling, including picture books, teen novels, young adult biographies, puzzles, and more. Classes, workshops and online resources (like the FriesenPress blog!) abound for people of all ages who want to learn more about the craft of writing for children.
Blessed with time, resources, and years of experience, retirees have a great opportunity to try their hand at writing. And with so many writing projects to choose from, getting started is easy. It’s never too late to realize a dream.