Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

I am a letter writer.  A letter writer who is trying hard to keep the tradition alive. I am also a letter lover.
It's a rare thing in this age of social connectedness to actually receive a handwritten letter from someone you love, isn't it? We text, we email, we send messages via Face Book, we are Linked In, and we Tweet. Would you have ever believed all this craziness would consume our world 5 or 10 years ago? Me neither. Believe me, I'm a fan of social media to an extent, but there is nothing quite like getting a REAL letter in the mail. Don't you agree? Something to hold and touch and open gingerly and read with a hot cup of tea. A gift that keeps on giving.
Not only am I a letter writer, but I'm also a letter saver. Not to be confused with letter hoarding because thankfully I am not spilling over nor out of control.  There is a purging process in place of course : )
I save letters that have the most personal message written to me with much care and love. I save letters that are fancy and cards that make me laugh, and cards sent to hold my heart, and letters that are handmade and cut and pasted together with glue.  I save letters from old friends (grandmothers in their mid 90's) who also share the love of letter writing, but whose letters are hard to read because the hand that writes them shakes. But they STILL write to this day. Precious. I have one box dedicated to my oldest and first friend, Mary, who has written me letters for over 40 years. Some of our first letters began shortly after we learned to write! You can imagine the spelling. Off quite a bit, but darling indeed.
Believe it or not, I even have my letters organized by name. I know you're shocked. If you are a friend or family member who has written me consistently over the years, you have a designated tab with your name on it and all the letters that I treasure that came from you. On a rainy night, I pull out my bundles and my box and go down memory lane. Ain't nothin' like reading and re-reading a good letter from a kindred spirit. Nothin'. It is a tradition that is near and dear to my heart and one that I believe the world needs a little more of, don't ya think?

The lost art of letter writing is making a comeback. I feel like there are more letter lovers out there like me that truly do "care enough to send the very best". It's not that difficult to write a letter once a day or a few times a week to encourage someone. It takes a few minutes of your time, and it could mean the world to someone who treasures your words for a lifetime.

Here are some things that I do to keep my feet to the fire with my letter writing. Being well prepared is half the battle.

1. Keep a variety of note cards or personalized stationary on hand that make you happy.
2. Find a cool place to store them so they don't get smudged or wrinkled. Pretty colored box or an organized drawer in your desk.
3. Carry a few in your book bag/purse at all times and store in a zip pouch filled with stamps, a pen, and return address labels.
4. Buy a nice pen at your local art supply or office supply store that feels good in your hand and makes you feel like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice (ultimate letter lover) when you write.
5. Buy card boxes (at Costco or Sam's) with ready made greeting cards for seasonal occasions.
6. Order stamps online and save yourself a trip to the post office.
7. Set a date(s) on your calendar as a reminder for your letter writing day.
8. Make it a goal to send between one and three handwritten letters a week (or month).
9. Start a "happy file" for all the cards and letters your receive.
10. Keep your address book up-to-date and on hand (hard copy or Smart phone) for those letter writing occasions.

What are you waiting for? Get busy. There is a world of hearts out there waiting for you to send em' some encouraging news and some love in the form of a REAL LETTER.

Happy Writing!
Kim B.

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