Her friends thought she was old-fashioned, but Mattie didn’t care. January 1 was her day to set everything in order for the new year. This involved the ritual of sitting at her desk with a new diary, emblazoned with the year, and ready to be marked out with dates and plans that would provide shape and meaning to the days ahead.

She’d been asked many times why she even bothered with a book, or if she had to write it all down, why not use a bullet journal? There was more scope for creativity, it was great for time management, and you could mark things off as you achieved them. Mattie smiled politely, but knew that such a thing wasn’t for her. Nor were the myriad of online diary options, with calendars synchronising between phones and tablets and laptops. All very efficient, she acknowledged, but so impersonal.

The slim diary with a week to a page view was carefully selected each year. She’d tried different formats and used a Filofax with its refill pages for a few years, but had returned to the comfort of a single book, something that would slip easily into a bag and that she could find by touch when she needed it. Her 2023 diary had a ribbon to mark the current week and a band to hold it together – handy as inevitably the diary would swell with ink and pictures and clippings as the year progressed. There were pages at the back for notes, and a 12 month planner over two pages for a quick visual reference.

Mattie turned the pages, relishing the feel of the blank paper, then began to pick out the birthdays of friends and family before plotting out trips and events that had been planned for the year ahead. By the time she finished, there were some weeks that were dotted with entries and others clear and open to whatever the new year had to offer. It contained an assortment of commitments, but also activities that would help her reach her goals, and to achieve the dreams she held closest to her heart. Mattie closed the book and smiled, ready now for the year ahead.

This piece has been written with a nod to my friend, Karen, who creates amazing worlds and characters, and continually inspires me to do the same.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find other posts with #bloganuary and join in the challenge.

Photo: 2023 Diary