In 2017 I sent 216 pieces of handwritten mail, which includes 50 letters in February for InCoWriMo, 122 postcards (108 Postcrossing related and 14 others), 24 Christmas cards and the rest were letters to people, just because. The responses I got from many of these items were, “Made my day!”, and “So happy to get something other than a bill!”, and “I should write more!”, and of course, “Thank you for taking the time.”
First of all, let me tell you, writing all of those letters and notes took time. I admit. It takes time and sometimes it takes a real effort. What do you say to someone you haven’t ever met in the form of an InCoWriMo letter? How do you fit a meaningful sentiment on the back of a postcard? Wouldn’t it just be easier to send an email? These are only three of the multitude of questions I’ve pondered, as I got out the notepad, envelopes, ink and fountain pen. What a hassle, right? Well, maybe not.
One of my favorite letters came as a response to a silly letter I sent to the child of a friend. The young lady covered a notecard with bacon print duct tape and on the outside of the envelope, told me not to open it if I was hungry. The note she wrote was lively, fun and memorable. She told me a joke. She had fun messing with spelling, She asked me for three words to describe her mother. I have yet to respond. But I will. I have read that note a dozen times, and it still makes me laugh.
The valuable lesson is, I would not have received that note, had I not taken the time to write a simple, silly letter to a child. The beauty is, she got REAL mail in the mailbox. I have to believe that was exciting. I know I am thrilled when a REAL letter shows up in my mailbox. She got to be creative in her response, and it made us both happier for the giving to one another. I hope she writes notes to other people and I hope they write back.
That is how I think you and I can change the world. Slow down and write someone a letter or note, by hand, in ink. Put a stamp on it and… Send it.
InCoWriMo is coming in February. International Correspondence Writers Month is a voluntary challenge to write one letter a day for February and send it. I am signed up this year. I am not going to be quite so ambitious as I was last year, trying to send two letters each day. I am going to write one letter each day to someone I have never met. I am hoping to make a couple dozen friends and maybe a few that will last longer than a letter or two. You can click the link at the beginning of this paragraph to learn more and sign up. If you do, let me know… maybe I’ll write to you.
Let me give you one tip. Do not write letters to receive a response. The truth is, you may not get a lot of response. People don’t write letters like they used to. Write letters to make someone else happy, to bring joy to their day. Write to give someone a tingle when they open the mailbox, look inside and realize it’s not just another day of bills and advertisements. Give them the gift of human contact through paper and ink. If a reply comes back, that is a bonus. I do believe you can change the world one letter at a time.
So does this guy:
I’ll be back soon to talk about letter writing more and to hopefully help inspire you to take action and write a letter. ‘Til then, Cheers!