Are You Retired? Then Write a Novel

Are You Retired?
As people age, their cognitive functions may start to decline. Physical exercise can prevent or lessen the adverse cognitive effects of ageing. So too can intellectually stimulating endeavours, like playing chess, word games, puzzles, and reading.

An active body means an active mind and vice versa. The two go hand in hand.

Exercising both body and mind are proven ways to age better and longer and improve the overall quality of life.

Creativity and Cognitive Function

One excellent way to exercise the mind and benefit cognitive function at any age is to be creative. There’s a common perception that creativity is a gift bestowed on a fortunate few, that the muse strikes some but not others.

Although some people indeed demonstrate more creativity than others-just as it is true that some people are naturally more musical than others-creativity is a capacity that most if not all people possess, whether or not they’re aware.

Creativity As We Age

Consider children. Children are inherently creative. They live inside their imaginations. They draw, paint, sing, tell stories, and makeup games. To children, creativity comes naturally.

Sadly, as we age, we tend to prioritize practical matters over creative endeavours. Life becomes about doing well in school, getting a good job, buying a car, and taking out a mortgage. Life becomes about bills, taxes, deadlines, daycare, early mornings, groceries, in-laws, and on and on.

As a result, as we age, we become increasingly alienated from our creativity. That’s not the case for all people, of course. Some make a living as writers and artists. But for many people, creative endeavours seem like a luxury that’s impractical or even impossible to indulge in. Why paint when you must fix the car?

Older People Have More Free Time

When people retire, they suddenly have hours to themselves for the first time in decades. Later, they may have even more when they learn about assisted living and decide to move into a retirement home.

So much free time can be quite a shock to those who haven’t had it in decades. It can feel like looking at a blank page. But a blank page is an opportunity to be creative. A blank page is an opportunity to write.

Write, Write, Write

Writing is one of the best ways to engage the mind and realize creative capacity. Doing so provides immeasurable benefits to cognitive functions and physical health.

Different Ways to Write

You don’t have to be Shakespeare to be a writer. A writer is anyone who writes.

Journaling improves memory and can be very enjoyable. If you can’t think of anything to write, that’s okay. Just write down a few things that happened today.

If you don’t know what to write or do but don’t know how to get started, writing workshops are excellent places to learn about writing and meet other writers.

Doing writing prompts on your own can also help you get inspired.

Some writing prompts:

● What did you do today?

● What’s the last dream you had?

● What would you tell your younger self?

● Who do you most like talking to?

● If you could have a pet, what would it be?

Another way to start writing when you have writer’s block is to open one of your favorite books and start copying some lines on paper or the computer until you have an idea for something you’d like to write.

If you’re unable to write on paper or the computer, recording yourself telling a story or recounting a dream or memory is another way to write.

The Blank Page is a Gift

Whether writing in old age comes easily or not, anyone can do it, and the more someone does it, the more natural it starts to feel.

No matter how long it’s been since you last wrote something for pleasure, or no matter how alienated you feel from your creativity, getting into the practice of writing is a rewarding, enriching, and healthy practice that nurtures the mind. So, open a blank page. You might be pleasantly surprised by how you fill it.