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Writing exercise: How do you define the future?

Creative writing exercises based on the theme Future
Age group: Adults

Last updated: 14 April 2020

Every day we cast ourselves into the future, imagining what’s next in our lives. For many of us, the future represents opportunity and gives us hope that we can make positive change for our loved ones, our communities or ourselves.

Warm up exercise: How do you define the future? 

If you look up the word future, you’ll find this definition: 

  1. (noun) a period of times following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as  still to come
  2. (adjective) at a later time, going or likely to happen or exist

Spend a few minutes thinking about how you define the future. Consider the following questions: 

  1. how far away is the future? Does the future start right away, or after a period of time? When someone says, ‘In future I will...’ when do you imagine?
  2. when you say ‘in the future’, do you think something is likely to happen? Is it a hope, a dream or an intention you’re sharing?

Why not write your own definition of future?

Brainstorm: at eighty

“Who says we cannot guide ourselves?”  - Edwin Morgan

Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. 

On one side, write about what your future goals were as a child or young person. What did you want, hope for and aspire to?

On the other side of the line, write what your goals might be in the future. How do you think your hopes and dreams will change as you grow older?

Read Edwin Morgan’s “At Eighty” and consider the questions below:

At Eighty (Edwin Morgan)

Push the boat out, compañeros, 

Push the boat out, whatever the sea. 

Who says we cannot guide ourselves

through the boiling reefs, black as they are,

the enemy of us all makes sure of it!

Mariners, keep good watch always

for that last passage of blue water

we have heard of and long to reach

(no matter if we cannot, no matter!)

in our eighty-year-old timbers

leaky and patched as they are but sweet,

well seasoned with the scent of woods

long perished, serviceable still

in unarrested pungency

of salt and blistering sunlight. Out, 

push it all out into the unknown!

Unknown is best, it beckons best, 

like distant ships in mist, or bells

clanging ruthless from stormy buoys. 

Start writing

The last passage of blue water…

In our eighty-year-old timbers….

Who says we cannot guide ourselves….

Send us your story

As part of our annual writing project - Your Stories(this will open in a new window) - we’re asking people all over Scotland to submit true stories inspired by this year’s theme, Future, including stories of a future they imagine for themselves.

Even if you’ve never written before, we'd love to hear from you. Your story can be in written, audio or video form. You could write a story, poem, play, letter, or even a comic strip! We'd love to receive stories in Scots and Gaelic too.

Every entry will appear on our website and a selection will be published in a free book for Book Week Scotland, our national celebration of books and reading.

Share your story

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