Dave Cousins: Tiny Diary, Big Secrets!

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Dave Cousins is the fabulously funny author of My Babysitter is a Robot, 15 Days Without A Head and The Charlie Merrick series. Dave is posting daily writing prompts on his blog.Dave says:

One of the best things about keeping a diary (at any time) is that you can be totally honest about how you feel.

Here are Dave's tips:


Have a rant, vent some spleen, write down all the things you’re too polite to actually say out loud! Be honest and get any frustration and anger you might be keeping to yourself out onto the page – it might help.

• What’s the worst part about being stuck indoors?
• Who is the most annoying person you’re confined with?
• What do you miss about life as it was before?
• But also, what’s the best part about being in lockdown?

See if you can think of one good thing to go with every bad aspect!


Use YOUR experience to write about somebody else – a fictional character who finds themselves in confinement. They might not even be in our world or time. Sometimes it’s easier to write about how YOU feel by giving your feelings to a fictional character and seeing how THEY deal with the situation. A fictional character can say and do things that maybe you can’t.

• Who are they?
• Where are they?
• What is their ‘prison’ like?
• Why can’t they leave?
• What would happen if they managed to escape? Will they try?
• How do they pass the time in confinement?


To give a twist to this challenge, try writing or drawing your diary on very small pieces of paper.

(They will be a lot easier to hide from prying eyes if they’re small!)

Maybe your character in confinement isn’t supposed to be writing so they have to hide their diary too? Or perhaps paper is in short supply, so they have to write on whatever scraps they can find.

The idea is that your story will be physically confined into a small space too!

For example, you could take a sheet of A4 and cut it into long thin strips (like bookmarks), then write or draw a comic strip on those. If you have some very small Post It notes, you could use those. You could even cut up a sheet of A4 to make a tiny book to write or draw in!

What’s the smallest space you can find to write a story? It would be great to see how you get on and how small a space you managed to squeeze a story into.

Have fun!