My Diary: Writing as a 10 Year Old

One-Year Diary 1980

One-Year Diary 1980

In my current work-in-progress, one of my main characters is a ten-year-old girl. I’d like to write a few diary entries from her point of view and intermingle them throughout the story, giving her a voice.

Is it possible to write as a ten year old at the age of forty-one? Maybe. It’d be easier if I were a parent or a fifth grade teacher. Even as an auntie, I don’t have enough exposure to kids to feel I can tackle this confidently.

So I did a bit of online research. I found a couple of gems:

I still wasn’t inspired enough to write like a ten year old. Not until this past weekend. I remembered long ago seeing a one-year diary in my box of childhood memorabilia. I thought I’d dig it out of the garage to see how old I was when I wrote it.

I opened the brass clasp on the little red diary—the tiny key to the lock long gone. Reading the dates written on the inside front cover, January through December 1980, gave me goose bumps. It was the year I was ten. I turned eleven that September.

One-Year Diary 1980
I haven’t read it all the way through, but I have a few observations about being a ten year old, if my diary holds any truth. Or at least, who I was as a ten-year-old girl in 1980. Overall observation: Ten year olds are not introspective or self-aware. They have no idea of their impact on others. Here are some more.

Ten year olds…

…want to be liked

Inside cover of diary: I feel like most nobody doesn’t like me because I’m a Christian. Not everybody.

January 13, 1980
Dear Diary,
…I don’t know if she likes me very much but she sure is mean to me.

February 8, 1980
Dear Diary,
…It seems that Angie doesn’t like me that much anymore. I think she thinks I’m boring. (I think I am.)

…have so much drama in their friendships.

January 25, 1980
Dear Diary,
…I got to spend the night at Angie’s. Angie told me a whole bunch of private things about Patti (that Patti told her). Patti has never told me any of that stuff. I thought she trusted me.

April 13, 1980
Today Stacey and Michelle kind of left me out of things. Stacey is acting big with her gum and everything.

April 17, 1980
Stacey and Elena started yelling and screaming at me on the bus, critisizing me about how I act and how I treat people. They are not so great either. Stacey started to get real personal.

April 18, 1980
Dear Diary,
Sheril and Nicky were sticking up for me. It made me feel good. Mary and Susan hate me, too.

…are mean.

February 26, 1980
Dear Diary,
Today I put this note in Derek’s desk after school and it said, “I hate you, I hate you and I wish you would leave me alone. P.S. Quit looking at me.” I disguised my writing and didn’t sign my name. Pretty good, eh?

…want to exclude kids they don’t like.

January 4, 1980
Dear Diary,
…Mary’s having a slumber party.  She had to invite Stacey and Sandy just because they are in our class.

January 13, 1980
Dear Diary,
Mary came to church today. I don’t like it very much when she does come ‘cause she follows me around so much.

…are aware when they don’t measure up. They want to be good at things.

February 13, 1980
Dear Diary,
Today piano lessons went okay. My piano teacher gave me a lot of hard stuff… At P.E. we have tumbling. I can hardly do any on III and IV groups. It’s pretty hard.

March 1, 1980
Dear Diary,
Today I had my piano recital. I didn’t play that good. I goofed up a lot.

…are already aware of their bodies.

January 29, 1980
Dear Diary,
It’s getting harder and harder to like Stacey. She’s always being so mean. Today at basketball she goes, “You’ve got a big butt.” I felt like cussing. But God came through and I didn’t.

…already have silly crushes on boys.

[Almost every diary entry mentioned Gary, my crush. My pathetic, unrequited crush. Here’s just one…]
March 12, 1980
Dear Diary,
Today Gary was kind of giving me glances. Nancy and me traded places and desks. Now I can see Gary. I don’t think I’ll have a good chance with Gary. Too many girls already like him.

…already have boys liking them.

February 5, 1980
Dear Diary,
Kevin asked me to dance with him at the 5 & 6 grade party February 29. I didn’t really have a chance to say yes or no, because he said “Oh, I don’t know how to dance anyway.” I don’t either.

…take for granted having both a Dad and a stay-at-home Mom. [I was so lucky!]

January 8, 1980
Dear Diary,
Mom kept me home sick again. I slept in till 10:30. She said she kept checking on me. Finally I did get up. Dad even called Mom to see how I was. I started to feel better at 3:00. I played in the snow a bit. Mom made bread and cinnamon rolls today.

…are sensitive to conflict.

January 31, 1980
Dear Diary,
Mom and my brother had a fight today. I hated it. I hate when the family fights.

Do you remember what it was like to be a ten year old?

Leave a comment


  1. Well, I have a ten year old sister, so I have a bit of a better understanding of their writing level. Sometimes she writes things that are so good, I can’t believe she has.

    Here’s a poem she wrote for Christmas – I enjoyed reading your diary entries and good luck with your book.

    PS – Your handwriting was amazing for 10!

    • Beth – By the way, thanks so much for following my blog! I’ll be posting again soon after taking an intentional long break from blogging. 🙂

  2. oops *bit of a better understanding of their writing level than some people.

  3. Just found this on google — my current WIP (in edits) has a journal that starts when the woman is 10 and spans until she’s 80! And I’ve been grappling with voice of her as a child…Thank you so much for these great resources! Nice to find you!

    • Julia – so glad you found me and that this post was helpful! I’ve just subscribed to your blog – congrats on your first year as a blogger! I’ll be swooping in on you! 🙂

  4. Rosie

     /  January 22, 2013

    I’m 10 and I’m level 6 in writing. I’m year 6 and I have the expected level of a year 9, apparently :-). This is really good, and you seriously remember being a 10 year old well! Stacey basically is one of my friends at the moment…

    • Rosie, thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad to know being 10 in 2013 isn’t so much different from being 10 in 1980. Thanks sweetie! Keep on writing! I hope you get along better with your friend Stacey than I did with mine. 🙂

  5. Nichole

     /  February 4, 2013

    I remember being 10 very well, but only because it was the year I went to public school (I was homeschooled my whole life, otherwise). The teacher disliked me right off the bat, and the other kids could definitely smell fear. I wasn’t any better than them, of course. Once I got into the groove of things, I started mean rumors and got into fights a lot and never did my homework. I only had a couple of friends who just barely tolerated me, but everyone really liked my mom, who brought cupcakes every now and then. My mom’s pretty awesome.

  6. savannah

     /  May 27, 2013

    im 10… well in 13 days! you sure do remember being 10. lotz of hopez ‘n’ dreamz, me!


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