April is National Letter Writing Month. Get those Pens out!
If I could, I’d have this song playing while you read the post. It’s cathartic to me and oh so clever, even if it’s not exactly mimicking putting pen to paper.
If you’ve already heard about National Letter Writing Month, my apologies, I know I’m a little late to the game. Once I heard about it however, of course I needed to share because HELLLLOOOO, this is so up my alley. How better to show your appreciation than with a handwritten note. (Candidly – this celebration also reminded me that I need to write more notes all year long.)
A little history:
From the research I found, it started circa 2001 when the USPS wanted to expand its previous week-long card and letter writing campaign tradition – which some list as the first week of April – to the entire month of April. I’d like to think it wasn’t profit based, the USPS wanted “to encourage school-aged children to write cards and letters.”
Additionally, in celebration of this month, Write On, has set up a challenge to write 30 letters in 30 days.
While I often expound on the benefits and reasoning behind showing your appreciation through a handwritten thank you note, I’m also a fan of handwritten letters and in general, mailing a thoughtful letter over sending an email any day. Think about the pleasure you felt when you reached into your mailbox and found a card or letter from a friend. Why not do that for someone else? I know I’d rather get a card/note over bills or advertising any day!
But, this month of letter writing isn’t only about saying thank you. The goal is to write letters. So you can actually write about any topic, to anyone, you please.
Some Tips to Help Get You Writing:
1. How to Get Motivated: Isabel Of Note Stationers finds “leaving my basket full of letter writing supplies out on my desk really makes it easier to recognize how important putting pen to paper, slowing down, and connecting with others is for me.”*
– Having writing materials and postage in plain sight can be a helpful reminder and makes it easier to sit down and put pen to paper vs. becoming distracted and wasting time looking for everything you need.
2. Whom to Write To: Taking a page from Rhea Abramson, of the Mail More Love blog, who’s writing one letter/day this month. She recommends: “Jot down the names of your five favorite people – those are the first people you write to, even if they live next door – send them a card. Next, jot down the names of people who did something nice for you recently – they get a thank you note.”
– You can go on from here. Any birthday’s, anniversaries or a friendship or sibling holiday – send a handwritten note/card.
3. Start Small: Not sure you can fill up an entire piece of paper or even a greeting card? Start with a postcard. There’s a smaller amount of space to fill. Personalize it further by choosing what’s on the front of the card.
– Just before I moved to New England, a friend sent me postcards of the area to show her support of my move, and to help get me excited about my new hometown. It meant so much and I’ve kept those cards to this day. (This is a SO to you KAG!)
4. What to Write: First and foremost, be Sincere and Make it Memorable. While my obvious first choice is saying thank you in a note, why not simply share what you’ve been doing lately and check in on how your friend is doing? You can always talk about a planning a visit, send a love note, share a picture or published article you thought s/he might like, or say your sorry – but only if you mean it. You could also share the reasons why s/he is important in your life. Really any topic will work, but again the biggest advice – BE AUTHENTIC and SINCERE. Don’t write that note if you’re simply trying to fulfill a quota. Your recipients will see right through you if it’s not from the heart.
– Find additional topics in one of my older posts: “Just Because Notes.”
5. What To Do If Your Handwriting is Well… Not that Great: While it’s always best to hand write a letter, it’s OK to send a typed letter if you have really poor handwriting skills.
(As an aside: Have you heard that some schools aren’t teaching kids how to write by hand anymore!!!? YIKES!)
If you must use Microsoft Word, consider using a scripted font like Bradley Hand ITC vs. Arial or Calibri. It adds a personal touch to the typed letter. Or take out that dusty typewriter and type up your note. This option might even bring up feelings of nostalgia to those of us who remember using one as the only way to type a letter.
– Again, the main purpose is to get your thoughts on paper and mail them. The only thing that I DO NOT recommend is using one of the growing number of services that offer to “hand write” your note for you.
I hope you’ll consider sending a least one handwritten note this month. I’m confident that if you send at least one, it will be memorable to someone else, if nothing else than for the fact that you took the time to write and mail it. I’ve kept several handwritten notes that I’ve received over the years. Several of them are thank you notes, others, expressions of friendship. I look back on each periodically when I need a lift or simply to be reminded of how much someone means to me or how much I’ve meant to them. You never know, don’t be surprised if you find a handwritten note in the mail from me this month! Keep an eye out and know it was sent with heartfelt appreciation.
Do you send handwritten notes?
If you think you’ll participate in National Letter Writing Month, who’s on your list of people to write a handwritten note to? Will you take on the 30 in 30 challenge?
Do you have any tips to share on writing a thoughtful handwritten note or card company you recommend?
I’d love to hear your feedback/comments.
*As quoted from Mail More Love’s blog post