Creative Retirement Hobbies – What to Do in Retirement to Keep the Creativity Flowing

Join Toastmasters for a creative outlet in retirement

I have always written creatively, but years of writing and working in the academic world had seen my creative writing mojo wilt. Retired and away from the workplace I wanted to rediscover it. But writing is a solitary occupation and I love the buzz and company of people to gather ideas. Could I find a creative retirement hobby that would give me both words and people? I was about to find out.

Image Credit: Sandgate Toastmasters Club

Choose a Hobby that Suits Your Interests

For some it’s woodwork. For some it’s water colours or community theatre. Some people like to volunteer at an animal shelter, some like to play chess. Choosing a retirement hobby that keeps you interested is about your life-long passions and interests. I looked at some creative retirement hobbies and didn’t feel that “inspiration spark”. A friend suggested I try Toastmasters. A supportive network of people with different skills and experience to practice public speaking and get feedback. A club. It was a chance for my writing to be heard aloud and perhaps I could give performing my work a try.

Toastmasters for writers and performers

Through Google, I found the nearest branch was closer than I thought: both in my suburb and my street. Serendipity. Toastmasters wasn’t on my radar. Public speaking isn’t the first thing most people think of when they’re looking to relax!

I was surprised to see that there are Toastmasters branches all over the place. You can also use the Toastmaster International’s website to find your closest club. In major cities, there’s one in every cluster of suburbs, with meetings held at local libraries, restaurants, or other communal areas. I looked for when the next meeting would be for my local club. The 1st Tuesday of the month at 6.30pm. Just three days away. Serendipity.

Leaving the Comfort Zone

I didn’t know what to expect, but I waited, feeling both excited and nervous. And I’m glad I went. From that first meeting, Toastmasters gave me the start I was looking for to keep my creativity flowing. Meetings are structured with activities that make it possible for everyone to take part. In the club, I joined there were local business entrepreneurs that practiced their public speaking, students wanting to develop language skills, and those like me looking for both a creative outlet and connections. I fitted in nicely. It was great seeing people of different careers and backgrounds coming together and supporting each other to reach their goals. Through Toastmasters, I threw myself into writing creatively structured pieces of work, which I was then able to deliver to club members.

Get your mojo back

My club was a perfect size of around 20 people. Just enough to feel like a community but small enough to get to know everyone. Some members were really experienced in their areas and gave me lots of great support and advice in our meetings.

I knew I wanted to join at that first meeting, so I got a membership application form and paid the fee. Its $20 USD to join as a member and $60 every six months for international dues, which is very affordable. Toastmasters is nonprofit, so all the money goes to paying staff and running the club. Each club is run a little differently, so some may have other fees for meals or venue hire. With everything I’ve learned and the opportunities I’ve been given, I know I’ve had my money’s worth and more.

Find your tribe

It wasn’t just about the creative outlet, I found a new community to be a part of. Retiring means losing a lot of those friends you see daily at work. It means disconnecting from your old life, and while you plan to keep up those friendships, it’s never the same. Finding new friends in retirement is essential. A healthy circle of friends is the key to a long and happy life!

From little things, big things grow

Toastmasters also have competitions, and although I had never seen myself as competitive, the idea of telling a funny story appealed to me. In my first year in the Club, I entered my first Humorous Speech Competition and came second. I then determined that the following year I would win. I needed to tighten up my comedy writing skills, so I visited my local library who put me on to a local Community College that was running a Comedy Writing Course. Serendipity.

I arrived on the first night to find I was actually enrolled in a “stand-up comedy” course. But I’d paid, so I stayed. What an interesting group of people I met in that course: a lawyer, an engineer, a young mum, two students who saw themselves entering the stand-up comedy circuit, and another retiree. We all had stories to tell, and our tutor helped us put them together in a way that would make people laugh. At the end of the course, we took to the stage in a local comedy club. I loved every minute.

The first step is always the hardest

Showing up to that first meeting changed everything. But it wasn’t easy. Leaving the comfort zone is never easy. It was hard when I was 20, it’s harder now I’m…. somewhat older. But, that single first step led to a whole new passion for me to pursue.

Through Toastmasters, I’d found another pathway to keep the creativity flowing. I know that lots of my fellow members attend to improve their leadership or speaking skills for whatever profession they are in too, but it’s a really fun hobby too!

I won the next Humorous Speech Contest, but even more, a new love of performance combined with writing was born. I have been writing and performing comedy ever since. I’m excited to share all my journey and experience with the next aspiring creative that joins my Toastmasters Club.

I’ve made friends, learned so much and look forward to this little social event every other week.


This is a contribution by Anna Bober, a lifelong creative, writer and leaver of comfort zones.

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