A Week of Fun Pro-Age Writing Prompts
We know that age positivity is good for us. Pushing back on internalized ageism helps us live longer, healthier, happier lives. We also know that creativity is powerfully important, especially during our older years. And, too, we know that the tales we tell define our reality. As the poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
These are great reasons to take this challenge: Write about a pro-age writing prompt every day for a week. But this is play, not work! So even though it’s good for us, the number one reason to write is to enjoy.
What’s that? You’re not used to thinking of writing as fun? Here are ten rules to make it so.
Pro-Age Writing Prompts: Rules for this Seven Day Freewrite:
- There are no rules.
- Everyone is a writer. This means you. We spend our lives spinning stories about ourselves and the world around us, and then make choices based on our story. (Remember that “mistake” you made, years ago? It gave you the chance to revise your story and move on. Not only are we all writers—we’re all editors too.)
- Set a timer for five minutes. You’ll amaze yourself with how much you can write in that time.
- Write the first thing that comes to mind and just keep going. No edits, no cross outs. It’s naptime for your Inner Critic—play her a lullaby.
- If you get stuck, write the same word over and over until the next word comes.
- Be as outrageous as you possibly can.
- Love what you write while you write it. Everybody has an Inner Cheerleader. Invite yours to the party.
- At the end of five minutes: You did it! Yay! What you wrote is just for you. Writing benefits the writer, first and foremost. If you want to share your free write, great, but you don’t need to.
- If you are thinking of editing what you wrote, first put your free write aside for at least a week. That way you’ll appreciate it more.
- And if you decide to share and publish your pro-age writing, brava you! We can all be part of the fun revolution, and use our creativity to shift the culture away from ageism.
Now the Fun Part…
If you sit in a room with ten women and give them all the same prompt, each one will come up with something amazing and completely different. Yours will be amazing too, and only you can write it.
What we want is to capture all the great things about life after fifty, sixty, and seventy that society ignores. What we want is to be renegade crones. What we want is to turn every trope about women our age upside down.
Ready? Set your timer for five minutes and… Go!
She wrote an Anti-Bucket List of everything she was no longer willing to do.
At fifty she had no lovers. At sixty she had three.
She walked into that room like the ancestors sent her.
“Women have a special corner of their hearts for sins they have never committed.”
(Cornelia Otis Skinner)
“What is hidden and mysterious in the ordinary life… in this neighborhood of scars and desires.”
(Rene Johns, in Aphrodite’s Pen: The Power of Writing Erotica after Midlife)
“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”
Help! I Hate Today’s Prompt.
Good for you! Be a true renegade: Write about something else. Make up your own pro-age writing prompt, or try one of these bonus prompts:
- She had children so she would have an excuse to buy toy dinosaurs. But now the children were grown.
- “It doesn’t take much to be considered a difficult woman. That’s why there are so many of us.” (Jane Goodall)
- “I have a next life bucket list: More sex. Better singing voice. The ability to tan.” (Billie Berlin, in Aphrodite’s Pen: The Power of Writing Erotica after Midlife)
- “All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.” (Mae West)
- “Our sexuality is the material of life, and to deny it in old age is to deny life itself.” (Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Gray Panthers)
- “The older one gets, the more one likes indecency.” (Virginia Woolf)
- You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.
- Write your revenge—because anything can happen on the page (See Brilliant Charming Bastard: Getting Rich is the Best Revenge for more ideas).
- Or try writing a limerick—here’s an example:
A dirty old woman from Rome
Took all of her lovers straight home.
Wasting time out to dinner
Is just for beginners;
You never know when they will roam.
( See Aphrodite’s Pen for more limerick ideas and examples.)
You could even do another seven day challenge based on these extra prompts.
And by the way, if you made up a crone-positive prompt, I’d love to see it. Please send it to me at stella[@]stellafosse.com. Thanks!
I hope you enjoyed this seven day writing challenge. And I hope you keep writing as part of your creative exploration in later life. Editing, publishing and marketing are terrific and important, but the very best part of being a writer is the writing itself. Writing as release, writing as supplication, writing as play: It’s all about living our best lives.
Keep the pen moving (or the keys clicking)—and have fun!