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25 Creative Writing Prompts for Your Writing Group

senior writing in a notebook at a retirement community

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” Mark Twain

The venerable Mr. Twain certainly had a sense of humor. If only it were that easy to be a writer! The real trick to creative writing is that there is no trick. Aside from having a story to tell, writing it down — and writing it well — the art of creative writing takes discipline, grit, thick skin, persistence, and lots and lots of practice.

Bring courage. Find trust.

Jot down your thoughts at home and then create stories free-form or with creative writing prompts. Once you’ve got a good start, look for a writers group of your peers. It’s OK if you’re reluctant to do it at first, but it may help to know that even seasoned wordsmiths feel the same trepidation when sharing their work with others. While writing is by nature a solitary activity, you’ll find it impossible to improve unless you take the plunge. Your bravery will be repaid when you find a group where you feel supported and where you can grow as a writer.

Look for a writers group that provides constructive feedback without pandering. If your senior living community hosts a writers group, that’s a good place to start. Everyone’s work should be treated with equal respect and value. There should be clear rules on how to deliver feedback. And because writers often share personal information, there should be an agreement that sensitive matters remain confidential.

Silence your inner critic.

Beginning writers often introduce their work with statements such as, “I’m not really creative,” “This isn’t very good,” or “I’ve never done this before.” Writing is an art form that belongs to everyone, regardless of their age, background or education level. Whether you’re choosing to express yourself artistically, pass along memories and stories to your children and grandchildren, dive into your inner life, or achieve recognition, give yourself permission to try, fail and succeed. It’s only when you believe in yourself as a writer that you can begin to strengthen and develop your voice as one.

Get ready, get set, write!

Now, grab your laptop or pen and paper. We’ve created a list of creative writing prompts guaranteed to help you hurdle writer’s block and get your creative juices flowing. Some of these exercises will tickle memories, some will engage your senses, and others will challenge your imagination. Do them quickly by setting a timer for 10 minutes, or give yourself longer if you find you have more to say. The more you practice, the better you will be.

Our 25 favorite creative writing prompts

  1. 1. Write your life story in 10 sentences or less.
  2. 2. Which is the oldest tree in your neighborhood, and what has it seen?
  3. 3. Tell the story of who you are, and start with “I am from …”
  4. 4. Look through the news and describe an hour in the life of someone who has had something unusual happen to them.
  5. 5. Find a photo and write about what can’t be seen in the picture.
  6. 6. You’re a fugitive from justice. What was your crime, and where are you headed?
  7. 7. Find a favorite paragraph in a book you enjoy and rewrite it in your own words while keeping the original meaning.
  8. 8. What piece of advice do you give most to people your age? Is it the same or different from advice you would give a younger or older person, and why?
  9. 9. You wake up and realize it’s 100 years in the future. Describe your remarkable new life.
  10. 10. Start a story with, “I picked it up to have a better look and …”
  11. 11. Describe the smell wafting from the kitchen that’s making your mouth water.
  12. 12. You’ve never seen a sunset like this before. Describe it so someone would want to be right there with you.
  13. 13. Describe the music and lyrics from your favorite song in a way that someone else would immediately want to listen to it.
  14. 14. Based on people in your life, create two or three characters, giving them names and personalities. Describe what motivates them.
  15. 15. Have two characters sit across from each other and capture their interaction entirely in dialogue.
  16. 16. Pick an object that is ugly and have a character see it as beautiful. Have them describe the object to someone else to convince them of its beauty.
  17. 17. Describe the loudest sound you can think of and have a character hear it for the first time.
  18. 18. Describe two people having a conversation but make it clear that they’re not talking about the same thing even though they think they are.
  19. 19. List five fears in your life. Create a story where a character is forced to confront one of those fears.
  20. 20. Create a character based on someone in your life whom you dislike. Now write about a situation where they’re shown in a sympathetic way despite their faults.
  21. 21. Write an argument where a spouse tells their husband or wife about a physical ailment, but the spouse refuses to believe them.
  22. 22. Write a funny to-do list to a teenager about how to attract a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  23. 23. Think of an illness someone you love has suffered from. Have a character respond when they’re told someone close to them has the same illness.
  24. 24. Have a character respond in an unusual way to the pandemic. Write two versions: one where they’re unselfconscious, and one where they’re aware of their behavior but hide it.
  25. 25. Describe a conflict you remember and how it ended. Now, write an ending that is different from what actually happened and leaves the reader wanting to know more.

Read the book or watch the movie?

Do both at Lake Seminole Square. Our community offers 45+ committees, clubs and groups, including creative writing for seniors. Residents met regularly for book clubs and movie showings of new and classic films in our theater-style movie room. Learn how you can get together with friends and neighbors in this fun and energizing senior living setting.