At the turn of 2013/14 I was living with some friends, renting a loft room in their house. A few days into the year I was offered an unwanted Christmas present, an A4 hard backed week-to-view diary. Nothing fancy, the kind you can buy for £2 come May in a petrol station.
Like my parents I like a bargain and I love a freebie – food, tat, old clothes, whether I’m hungry, have the space or need it, I like to say ‘Yes, thanks!’
I’ve tried keeping diaries before and although I’ve always had somewhere that I occasionally write down lyric ideas, poems, musings, my jumbled and often amusing dreams, I’ve never been consistent in it. Many of my songs feel to me like condensed short stories that I haven’t had the discipline to do properly, edit and shape over more time. This time however, I decided to exercise some discipline, make a ritual and write an entry every day.
It’s late October now and the book has filled with summaries of the previous day that I mostly write at breakfast, often accompanied by my other morning rituals. (This is one thing I’ve come to learn about myself through this process – despite not liking the rigidity of an imposed routine I do create my own habits and informal schedules that I like to follow.) January is scrappy, just a few sentences but it gets rolling by February, 9 times out of 10 starting with a report of breakfast! Location and content. I do love a good breakfast.
So, I don’t see me stopping now and I believe I’ll carry on next year too, maybe changing the format slightly.
It’s not for sharing, or of any other particular use other than in the doing. Before starting I was aware of how little I would actually write anything by hand anymore. Maybe an address or short note to someone. I used to write essays by hand, spend a 3 hour exam scribbling away… eugh, flashbacks!
I might every now and again look back at what I was doing on a particular date. It’s made me realise again what a privileged life I lead. It’s revealed to me some of my preoccupations and given me a little insight into how I react with the world. It’s created a little discipline and routine and helped me nurture a writing muscle that I hope to carry on working and growing.