Review: Mslexia writer’s diary 2009

“ I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”

Edna St Vincent Millay …. ‘On writing…. This spirited quote, balm to the soul of  most rebels – therefore most writers! – appears on the 2–8 February page of  Mslexia writer’s diary 2009. 

Mslexia writer's diary 2009
Mslexia writer's diary 2009

I have never before purchased a new diary so full of useful information and advice. The Mslexia team’s stated aim is to help us writers to fulfill “all….writing (and reading) ambitions, pleasures, inspirations and desires.” In this they succeed admirably.

Chawton House Library in Hampshire, UK, houses a unique collection of books focusing on “women’s writing in English from 1600–1830”, including “early editions by authors such as Aphra Behn, Frances Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley.” Mslexia writer’s diary 2009 features a monthly inspiration from this collection: eg a letter from Wollstonecraft to her publisher, and poetry by early feminist Behn.

An ‘I urge you to read’ section featuring recommendations from top women writers eg Kate Grenville and Isabel Allende, alternates fortnightly with ‘On writing….’: pithy, witty, provocative and poetic observations from respected writers on the writer’s craft.

Also – clearly set out – are guidelines on how to set up and run writing groups, writing exercises to get the muse going, an extensive A-Z Resources for writers, and the brilliant ‘ten to try’ lists. These provide groups of ten of the following: literary venues, literary magazines, independent publishers, writers’ websites and literary blogs.

My favourite blog is which features a range of monthly blog carnivals on a wide range of topics, allowing you to showcase your work on a regular basis. This, as I have recently discovered, is a great way to boost traffic for any writers with a web/blogsite.

Ah, the pages! There are Contacts pages, and Submissions pages. It even caters for the anal amongst us, with a couple of ‘books lent and borrowed’ pages! This great diary also provides ‘the blank page’: twenty-seven of them, to be precise – carry Mslexia writer’s diary 2009 around with you, and never again will you be caught short on the upper deck of  the fifty-nine bus when a great idea strikes and you are out of paper….

It is light, about the size of a small paperback, and easy to tuck into a handbag or even a capacious pocket. Protected front and back with wipe-clean plastic, the attractive, very literary-looking cover has handy clear pockets inside: for keeping business cards, prescriptions you’ve forgotten to collect, shopping lists, that important piece of paper with your car registration written on it, the email of someone in publishing it might be worth contacting, your grandmother’s shoe size, etc etc.

The Mslexia team really have thought of everything. There are more goodies within the diary’s pages, which I have not covered here but leave you to discover when you rush out and buy it! (directly from or phone 0191 261 6656)

My only small complaint?
The notes pages – facing the week-to-view diary pages – are blank. How about a lined version for next year?

If you’ve treated yourself to this excellent diary as a result of this review, I’d like you to let me know – and what you think of it (either the review, the diary – 0r both!)Just leave a comment.

500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2009
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page