For anyone interested in starting a writing workshop for seniors, Martha Dudley offers these suggestions:
Organize a group of 4 to 10 people, who will meet once a week at a regular time in a quiet, well-lighted room. Arrange small tables in a semi-circle or seat particpants around a large table.
Ask each participant to bring a folder to file all written work.
To get the group into a state of "creative readiness," introduce a subject for the day -- such as a childhood fantacy or memorabilia. Discuss the important points to be developed and the range of possibilities for that subject.
Settle down for the actual writing, usually 20 to 30 minutes.
Wait for everyone to finish, then let each person read his or her piece aloud. Comment on the positive elements in each one, and ask others to share their feelings.
Conclude by reading a brief excerpt from such published work that deals with the day's subject, or by suggesting a principle that will help refine the group's standard of writing.Strunk and White's book Elements of Style is particularly useful.
Take the papers home to make more through comments and suggestions. If grammatical errors or faulty construction appear repeatedly, present the entire group with corrections for improvement.
Remember that the main purpose of the workshop is not to produce perfect prose. It is to help participants express themselves, share and preserve some of their unique experience and reflections.