THE BUCKET LIST LIBRARY

How to embrace creative writing as a hobby

by Zoe Barnett

Words. What do you think of them? Long emails full of long-winded expressions about business processes? A stuffy letter from your solicitor? Text-filled documents to labour over? Or, fast-paced novels that put you on the edge of your seat? Lyrics that make
your heart sing? Words in a greeting card that fill you with warm and fuzzy emotions?  Words in a simple text message that make you feel safe and loved?

Words come in so many forms. And for some, they are a chore – especially if it’s you who’s writing them. Words are something to overthink about. Never finding the right way to express how you feel. And then for others? There’s a little light that switches on. A
ping of excitement. When those words come together to so perfectly describe the images in your mind… well, what a feeling!
Whether you’re the latter or the former, I feel creative writing is something that can be a great hobby for all. Often pigeonholed into the world of professional authors, copywriters and wordsmiths, writing gets stuck in an academic-only drudgery. And it’s such a shame! As actually, writing is an art – to be explored! A way to express yourself. A way to have fun. A craft, even. Or a hobby – just like painting. Because we’re not all Claude Monets – yet painting is something we’ve all had a good go at, at some point.

In this blog post, I’ll delve into some of the great ways you – as a rockstar retiree – can enjoy the beauty of creative writing…

Keep a diary

Ah the humble diary, an original place to start when it comes to writing for pleasure. A place for you – and only you – where you can get your thoughts and feelings on paper.  Overall, diary writing is highly therapeutic. In fact, it’s even been proven to be great for our mental health and well-being. There’s something about “offloading” that’s simply good for the soul. Or take a relaxed ‘journal’ approach.  However, if the idea of keeping a diary sounds like a chore then it may be time to think about it differently. Often referred to as journaling, personal writing doesn’t have to be elegant prose and well-formed sentences. Not at all! Instead, enjoy simply noting down
your thoughts and feelings each day. Heck, list things out! Jot things down. Embrace note-form style… and even, doodle!
Creative personal writing should be… well, personal. And whichever way it works for you is how you should do it. When you take a ‘no rules’ approach that’s when you’re likely to get the most out of it.

Be a storyteller

Think back to school days. Creative writing often meant writing stories. Therefore, it’s often the first thing we think of under this heading. With good reason too! From short stories to epic and ambitious pieces, it’s a special feeling to bring a figment of your imagination to life on paper.
So, go on. Write a story. A novel, even. But surely it’s not that simple? Well, it’s however complicated you want it to be. You can do it for fun. Simply start with a daydream. Take inspiration – such as that holiday romance in Tuscany you once had many years back. Whatever happened next? Or a crime you read about that never got solved. How would you solve it?  Above all, remember the awesomeness of your childhood memory – if you can think that far back! Once you recapture that enjoyment, it makes writing a story an enjoyable, creative and artistic hobby for purposes of pure enjoyment. It needn’t be more than that.

Start a blog

In some ways, blogging is like keeping a diary. But in other ways, it’s totally not. With multiple approaches, a blog is a great way for hobbyist writers to embrace their love of creative writing.
With blogging, the original route was a personal diary-style where you explore regular life observations. With daily, weekly or monthly entries, you can round up your life – much like you’d do in a diary.  Or, the other option? You can structure it more for a particular audience. Let’s take the example of Shelly. Shelly loves dogs. In fact, she loves dogs so much she has rescued five dogs over the past ten years. Shelly is passionate about rehabilitating rescue dogs – so arguably, she does more than simply love dogs. And, Shelly also loves writing! So, put
the two and two together… and Shelly can blog about dogs, rescue dogs, dog rehabilitation – and anything in between. From how-to guides to top tips, blogging is not only a great way to embrace your inner writer… but it can also serve a very important purpose in this world. Imparting your knowledge, you can add to the hub of knowledge on the internet. In fact, the most successful blogs on the internet are those that are created by pure enthusiasts… where the passion for the subject is reflected in their words.

Embrace social media

My friend’s father has an Instagram page where he indulges two passions. Gardening and writing. Every post he creates, he drafts with pen and paper first. Then, he types up the caption carefully – before publishing. It’s a level of craftsmanship I respect greatly.  Simply as a professional gardener, horticulture is his art form. What he does is blend this with writing too.  Despite social media earning a bad reputation at times, there are evidently so many great advantages to it. Especially when it comes to enjoying hobbies. For example, Instagram is traditionally thought of as an area for amateur photographers to practise their art form. However, over the years this platform has become a place of words.  Words that inspire. Motivate. Support. Help. Soothe. Even, revolutionise. And above all,  Instagram provides a place you can hone your words. Practice. Have fun. And be creative.

Top tips for writing hobbyists

Forget the grammar police – You’re not in school anymore! So what if you don’t know the difference between “it’s”
and “its”?

Have fun with your writing. Remember you’re not trying to impart a message to the world. You’re doing it first and foremost for you. So don’t stress over your skill set in this area.  Besides, there are lots of tools that can check your grammar for you. And not to
mention, people who will happily help you too.

Merge with other simple pleasures – Enjoy listening to rock music? Sitting in the garden with a coffee on a sunny morning?
Why not try writing while doing the things you love already? It’s surprising how extra creative it can make you.

Challenge yourself – Starting to write is tough. Whether it’s a blank Word document or a new notepad, there’s something scary about putting those first words in black and white.  As someone who writes for a living, my tip is always “just get flowing”. Accept the first
words may not be right – but they’ll be part of the journey to get you there.  But don’t force it

Finally writing should be fun. Even with professional writing, I truly believe this.  If it’s not happening, don’t turn creative writing into a chore. Stop the moment you feel your enthusiasm waning – and return when it picks up again. The luxury of writing for a hobby is, of course, you’re not paying your bills with it. So never feel pressurised.

Writing as a hobby

There’s a lot of fear around writing. Many people proclaim, “oh I can’t write!” or “I’m no writer” and firmly close the door on what could be a great experience.  If you feel the slightest of writing itches, don’t let those old-school fears put you off. Give it go. Remember above all it’s your creative outlet. You don’t need to be a professional.  And you’re in charge of how you interpret writing.

About the author

Zoe is a freelance copywriter and content marketer who works with businesses across the UK remotely. Passionate about writing, she helps business owners realise their stories through words. Because so many people have amazing stories to tell – and accessibility should never be a problem. Above all, Zoe believes writing should be an inclusive environment that many can enjoy – not just the few. This fuels Zoe’s career -and in turn, gives her a life that she loves. And for Zoe, although not retired, doing what she loves is pretty rockstar.

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