Letter writing is a lost art. I’m looking to change this. (Hint: You’ll see how at the end of this post.)
There are clear reasons for the decline of the written correspondence – in the world of e-mail and cellphones, writing a message and mailing it off to be received days – or more! – later by your person of interest just seems…inefficient. So why bother writing anything at all if you can type it (or text it?). Time is money, right?
Taking the time to write a letter – or any other form of written message – can mean far more than just simply expending more energy and time to get your point across.
Plus, it sets you apart. Yeah, it sure was nice of you to shoot off a “thank you” email to that bigwig after your big job interview. And surely, your friend will appreciate the “happy birthday” you left on their facebook wall among their other dozens (perhaps hundreds?) of other notifications. But what does that lack? Effort.
And that – effort – is what it all comes down to. Getting a hastily typed note is better than nothing, sure. But taking the time to handwrite your message shows that you feel that this person is important and awesome enough to warrant your time, but also creative energy – after all, you’ll lessen the odds that they’ll be the recipient of a generic form letter. And who doesn’t like to feel important and awesome?
Plus, it can’t be denied how great it can feel to receive a letter in the mail, period. I know it is for me. I get excited even if I know it’s coming. While I do enjoy seeing a personal e-mail embedded amongst the clutter in my inbox , picking through junk to see a personally addressed letter is far more exciting, because it’s special. Not everyone has the time or interest to mail things and I know this.
“Now,” you may be saying – “what if I’m one of those people who doesn’t have time? I’d try and become a massive failure!” Well, I’d respond – start small! You won’t fail. Not everyone can be a letter-writing extraordinaire overnight – and if you are, I’m seriously impressed! Skip these steps and go on with your bad self. Otherwise, you may be a bit stuck.
Here are some ways to get started:
- Start writing thank-you e-mails. This may seem counterproductive, but if you aren’t used to it, it’s good to get the hang of it. Plus, gratitude never hurt anybody. Throw some additional thank yous in your daily vocabulary just for the heck of it.
- Personally mail your birthday cards. This may be weird if your friend lives down the road, but if they’re scattered nationwide (or even worldwide!) it can mean a lot more than a facebook post. Obviously it may not be feasible (or worthwhile) to do this for every friend, but it’s worth it to recognize the most important ones. Just try to prepare in advance (in other words, write down their birthdays somewhere you’d remember) so you’re prepared.
- Holiday Cards. This is great practice and is coming up soon! Sending a burst of holiday cheer can brighten the day of many a person – and you aren’t on as strict a deadline as a birthday. I’ve had a lot of fun writing holiday cards the past couple of years and it’s a practice I hope to continue in the future. If you don’t have anyone to mail a card to, fear not!