I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw (via The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre newsletter) that Pilot Press had produced a diary specifically for writers. I had already decided I was going to write more creative pieces this year and that I wanted to trial a paper diary again so, of course, I had to have a Pilot.
Posting about my excitement on social media resulted in a flurry of activity amongst my writerly friends, many of whom asked me to review the diary. So, here’s my review.
Pilot Press’ website promises a diary for writers, and that is exactly what I have. From the first moment I opened the package containing the diary and felt the gorgeous stock used in its creation I was sold. I’m very tactile and have always been a sucker for the feel of untouched paper that screams for me to write something amazing on it. Well, I may not always write amazing things, but I do feel inspired by creamy, slightly textured virgin pages.
But what’s inside, you ask. What makes Pilot a diary for writers? Lots of things, actually. The ‘pilot pages’ explain (in exceedingly well-written prose) how to use the diary, including assessing the pros and cons of publishing your work in literary journals, entering competitions, blogging and extending your writing skills. There are also guidelines on how to present a manuscript to potential publishers (margins, fonts, spacing etc), punctuation and editing marks, spelling and grammar tips and literary terms.
Pilot has done the hard work of finding and detailing Australian writing competitions, festivals, awards, journals, literary organisations and writers’ centres, writing courses and books on writing for you, plus even includes ‘traffic control’ pages so you can list where and when you sent manuscripts. And it has all the usual diary contents like an annual calendar, lists of public holidays, school terms and anniversary gift suggestions, but it’s the writing prompts that really appeal to me.
Each month starts with a tip to help your writing and asks what your goals are. Every week you select a ‘word of the week’ (I chose from this list) to incorporate into a piece of writing. There is also an ‘automatic pilot’ phrase for each week that can be used to start a stream on consciousness piece. I’ve been using both of these prompts to inspire me to write for 10 minutes each day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’ve already produced some pieces I could keep working on as flash fiction or develop into short stories. And I’ve written some complete rubbish too!
It’s not the end of January yet so I can’t tell you whether my commitment to writing improved over the course of the year, but I can say it’s inspired me to start as I mean to go on. And I may even be writing something in those traffic control pages if I keep this up!
I know the 2015 diaries have sold out, but if you like beautiful things, get excited about fresh paper and need a bit of a kick to get writing every now and then, bookmark Pilot Press for your 2016 diary.