Saturday, August 8, 2015

A few lines a day - 5 Year Diaries

I intended to publish this post way back in January when the timing would have been perfectly suited and also took the pictures back then but then I didn't get around to it - and I don't plan to wait another 4 months so here you are!

A few years back one of my friends told me about a 10 year diary she was keeping and I found the idea intriguing. If you haven't heard of these before: They're books with one page for each day of the year, the years are lined up underneath. That way whenever you make an entry you'll be reminded of what you were up to the year(s) before.

Then in spring 2013 I bought a tiny 5 year diary by Ice Plant at RSVP Berlin. (It was this one: ) I used it until 2015 but never got totally comfortable with it, A 6 size is just too tiny and the paper didn't like fountain pens much either. So despite the 5 years being far from over I got myself a "Jahresweiser".

Jahresweiser in dark red leather
That name is a little awkward even in German and would roughly translate to "year guide", though it also hints at growing wiser with the years. In contrast to the Ice Plant book it's a true calendar - in my case for the years 2015 through 2024 - and it also tells you what weekday it is and whether today's a public holiday. (So far it's only available in German though)

The differences don't end here, the Jahresweiser is also pretty large and heavy - somewhere between A5 and A4 -, bound in leather with gilded edges and features very smooth and ink friendly paper. It even comes with an extra sheet of paper to test with your pen.

It's definitely higher quality than the Ice Plant (more expensive too as it's hand made) and clearly made to keep at your desk rather than lug it around on your travels.

The only thing I don't love about it is the leather, it's okay but the finish is not to my liking. You can also buy a Jahresweiser without covers and bind it yourself and looking back that's probably what I should have done. Back then though I couldn't foresee that I would be able to tackle such a project!

You can get one at If you prefer cloth over leather you could check out Manufactum, they sell a custom version bound in grey bookcloth.

Nice golden embossing. Can also be had in silver. There's also a cover in furnished wood.
5 year diaries are perfect for people like me who just can't manage to journal every day. For me most things run in streaks and so does keeping a journal. At times I write pages and pages, then nothing for months. It's still a nice enough pastime but the documentary value is somewhat meager. With a 5 year diary you are neither able or obliged to write a lot about your day - there isn't much room - and I usually manage to jot down a few words so blank pages are few yet.

Jahresweiser from the inside: holidays and weekdays are visible at a glance. The paper is very smooth.
If nothing in particular happened there's always dreams, books, movies, food or the weather. Weather milestones (first snow etc.) can be astonishingly interesting over the course of years.

By reading forums I found out about another type of 5 year diary and started one last winter along with the Jahresweiser: The "Q&A a day". The page setup is quite similar to a regular 5 year diary but every day asks you a question. They range from existential ("What makes you 'you'?") to trivial ("List 5 things you ate today") and plain weird ("Are you the original or the remix? Why?"). I'm far less disciplined with that one than with my regular 5 year diary but I'm still on it.

I also have to note the very nice design: embossed Kraft paper covers and gilded edges. The paper works really well with fountain pen ink.

The paper is not as smooth as in the Jahresweiser but still very nice. Haven't had any bleed through or feathering since. I exclusively use Rohrer & Klingner Salix and a very wet pen for both journals.

Do you keep a 5 or 10 year diary? If not, do you find the idea appealing?


  1. I am using the Jahresweiser in the grey/silver Manufaktum edition -- and I love it. :)
    this year will be the last in this book, as you can see here:

  2. I like the idea of the question one as an addition to a daily journal. I've kept a daily journal since 1973 of varying sizes. Now it is an A5 page a day and I have to fill the page. To me is the full stop on the day, good or bad, though as I've got older I seem to concentrate more on the good. I did once but a 5 year diary but one year was not a happy time and I found the next year this would be hard to read every night. So I finished the next year and then the year after bought a new journal and found not going back to a very difficult time was better for me.

    1. Sorry, typo, should be buy a diary not but a diary.