Creating a diary is a version of the day in the life technique, but instead of focusing on describing a day in the life of a character from the future, participants are invited to explore what their own lives might be like in one or more alternate futures. This is a reflective/introspective writing technique that encourages participants to observe their life in the present through the lens of the future, including their actions, behaviours and personalities. They are invited to speculate how their lives and character traits might evolve in a future scenario. This technique is based on guided journaling and can be used in the preparatory stages of a pre-enactment.

Process

  • Step 1: Create a quiet and comfortable space for people to write in for 20–45 minutes.
  • Step 2: Invite the participants to find a comfortable spot. Distribute writing materials (a sheet of paper, or a notebook and a pen or pencil).
  • Step 3: Frame the exercise and stress that the diary entry they are writing is about themselves and not a fictional person. Invite the participants to be as open and honest as possible. Note that as with diaries in the present, the writing will not be shared, but they will be invited to jointly reflect on the outcomes at the end.
  • Step 4: Begin the writing exercise with a few guiding questions which can either be announced out loud or distributed on worksheets:
    • 'What would your future self write about?'
    • 'How does your future self feel? What are they thinking about?'
    • 'What is going on around them? Who is around them?'
    • 'What is your future self doing and what do they consider relevant to take note of in a diary?'
    • 'Are there any significant events or other occurrences that have an impact on your future self? What is your involvement in these events?'
    • 'Where is your future self writing? What is the setting?'
    • 'How does your future self relate to the world around you?'
    • etc.
  • Step 5: Writing: The entry should begin with a date and a place. Suggest the current date and month, but some years in the future. The place could be the same as where the session is taking place, or the participants could decide themselves. If there are any specific events or other aspects of the scenarios that should appear in the diary, let the participants know in advance. For the rest, it is best to let them write freely, whatever comes to mind. They should not worry about the aesthetic qualities of their writing, as the diary will remain private. While the participants are writing, make sure the room stays quiet and occasionally remind the people of the time remaining.
  • Step 6: Reflection: At the end of the exercise, invite the participants to share any insights or reflections about the process or the content. Not everyone needs to speak.
  • Step 7: Add to scenarios: Invite the participants to add more details to the scenarios, based on their own experiences described in the diaries.