How to Write Your Own Diary...
There are many ways to keep a diary!
During the nineteenth century, many people kept diaries. Sometimes people wrote long entries describing their days and the events in their lives, as Susannah does, and other people chose to write very short entries describing their activity in one or two words: “picked apples”, for example. In the opening entry of The Spare Room, Susannah describes her grandfather’s diary that only told of the weather. In fact, recording the weather could prove a very useful task for people like Susannah’s parents, who relied heavily on their best guess of the weather for the upcoming week in order to complete farm chores successfully. A hay crop that got rained on at the wrong stage could not be properly stored in the hayloft, for fear of fire. Picking tender vegetables before a frost might preclude making an extra batch of relishes or pickles for the long winter months, since fresh vegetables couldn’t be bought at the store in March. As you create your own diary, you might want to think about what information you would like to be able to look back on in the future. Would you like to remember what date the lake became warm enough to count on being able to swim? Or what your time was in a running race that you take part in each year?
You might also want to consider creating a diary that you would like to share with someone special to you. For example, a grandparent who lives far away might take great pleasure in reading about your day-to-day adventures or thoughts. And some people find it much easier to write a diary for another person rather than solely for their own use—and they might find that they’re more likely to continue the project if they know that someone is waiting to see it. Susannah describes wanting to write her diary for the enjoyment of her own grandchild, someday far in the future. It’s also possible that you might want to record your personal thoughts in a private space. For whomever you write, consider including details about your life that take place on a regular basis, not just the special events. It’s amazing how many details about your regular routine you’ll have forgotten within a few years from now, and it can be a lot of fun to go back and reread and “see” your younger self on a normal day.
You should have fun choosing a diary. Do you want something small and lightweight that you can carry easily in your pocket? Or a fancy book that reminds you of the book’s importance in your life? Do you want a book with lines, or a book that is blank in which you can also draw pictures and illustrations? You also might want to tuck special items into your diary, either by gluing them in or pressing them between the pages. You could put in a four-leaf clover that you find, or a ticket to a concert or a movie, or a favorite photograph of you and your friends.
Above all, as Susannah says at the beginning of her own diary, don’t worry if you don’t write every day, or if you forget about writing for even a few weeks at a time. The diary is a friend that won’t feel neglected or sad when you return to it!
The Spare Room
By Jenny Land
Published by Voyage
An imprint of