Fredrik Rubensson via Flickr

It recently occurred to me that that time I’ve put aside to write a diary for the past 12 months — since January 1st 2016 — could just as easily have been used to talk a bit more right here.

So I’ve decided to do both.

2016 was a memorable year for many reasons, not least Brexit, Bowie and Trump.For us, it marked a surprise pregnancy and the loss of our dear Grandma. There is a lot to read in the diary (or journal) that I wouldn’t want to share. And that policy will continue.

What I want to talk about instead is how I’ve managed to keep the diary going. And I’d like to say it was through the use of something clever, a genius time management model. In truth, I have Michael Palin to thank. The Monty Python star, writer, actor, traveller, broadcaster, and apparently the “Nicest Man in the World” has so far published three epic volumes of diaries (plus the books that accompany his travel shows, yawn) which are so utterly inspiring that you just want to be him.

Obviously there is no chance of that, but there is a useful aspect to all of this. Whoever you are, someone, somewhere, might want to read your diaries one day. Perhaps you become famous; perhaps you don’t. Either way, it could be anyone from a genealogy researcher to a police officer poring over the pages of your daily updates.

I have a feeling diary writing went out of fashion with the arrival of email, and the general reluctance to write on paper. But with a nice Moleskine volume and a pen of choice (mine is a Parker fountain pen) it can be a wonderful, therapeutic experience. From a writing point of view, it can help to unlock any blocks you might be having, whether an inability to write at all, or problems plotting.

For the best results, I’d recommend heading out for a walk with your volume in your pocket, pen safely positioned to avoid leaking. And remember, it’s YOUR diary. You don’t have to add the date and write an update — you should just write whatever comes.

Although leaving a date is always useful!