I want to revisit the beautiful medium of communication that is letter writing. It seems like so much of today is so fast-paced. We want everything instantaneously- I don’t think I even need to go into much detail of the countless examples we have in our lives. . .

It’s great that we have the means to be more connected to one another, but at what expense? It’s easy to lose the personal aspect of communication when even the messages we send back and forth through texting, facebook, and email end up so short and sometimes undecipherable because we stop using actual words to speed up the process! I know that I often find myself doing this, and so in order to counter the fast, fast, and often impersonal pace of everything, I wanted to go back to what I used to do when I was younger- before e-mail, facebook and texting!

A few months ago, when I was moving, I came across a little box full of stationary of all shapes, sizes, styles, and even some that were scented! I remember when I used to collect and trade with other girls at school when I was in first grade! (It was funny to see so many Disney-themed ones, and so many with cute little footers in Spanish!) Even better was finding a pile of letters all tied up with a ribbon that I’d received over the years from friends and cousins in Argentina. It brought back so many memories!

I’d been wanting to get back to letter writing especially since the summer I shared with a friend, Chelsea, who was determined to write a letter a day for the entire summer! (She ended up being inspired to do her Senior Art Show* on this very theme! Check it out here & make sure you read her statement!).

At the time I thought, awesome! I wish I had time to do something like that. Thinking back, I see how silly I was. Time? Of course I have time! Why wouldn’t I have 10 minutes to spare and write a letter to someone? I know it’d make my day to receive REAL mail in my mailbox, not just the usual bunch of advertisements, or worse- bills!

It’s a great way to show that you’re truly thinking about them because you’re acting on it. Anyone can text or “poke,” but how many take more than just a few seconds out of their time to do more?

Pssst! It really improves your writing skills and it’s such a nice gesture: picking out some stationary, the pre-thinking, the composing structured sentences, asking meaningful questions, sharing more private events or thoughts. . . and then there’s the research! Where is this person living right now? Will they be at this location to receive my letter? – It really helps you see their lives and what’s going on with them in a more real way. It helps you not be so self-centered as well, because you’re definitely more aware when you’re writing only about yourself for ten minutes and not commenting on what they’ve shared with you last.

“Think before you speak write”

It’s been so much fun! Letter-writing eliminates the stress of having so many phone calls to make. Many of us don’t have time for half hour conversations with each and every friend every few weeks! Letters are not expected to be instantaneous by either the writer or the receiver. There’s a time for mailing, receiving, reading, re-reading, thinking, and after a few days or weeks writing back! It’s always a surprise when a letter does arrive!

Try it! I promise you’ll not only love it, but will see how many wonders it does for your relationships- especially the ones that maybe didn’t have the time you would have liked to develop further before a natural separation!

The same goes for thank you notes! There’s no authentic substitution for a handwritten, personally addressed thank you note! I’m not talking about the generic kind that could have been sent to anybody and hopefully (!) at least had the recipient’s name!

Psssst! I know it’s a huge bonus after an interview- a great reminder that will be looked at again when it’s sitting right there on your future employer’s desk, not on a minimized or closed window!

Final note: check out this awesome “Tips of the Trade” mini article from the Wall Street Journal on The Art of the Thank You Note! I read it a few months back and cut it out and keep it in my desk.

Time well spent, I say!