Handwritten Revival: A Case for Sending Letters

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Graduate school was finally behind me, and I was facing the task of sorting old papers several years thick. My hands brushed a bundle of cards and letters received from friends during my time away. I had struck gold.

Re-reading those old letters, all my frustrations quickly disappeared. Instead, I found myself carried away by warm memories as I read birthday greetings from friends, “just because” letters, and little notes that reminded me that I was loved.

Sure, we've come a long way in communication since the pioneer days in America, when a handwritten message was the quickest way to tell your cousin what time you would arrive for a visit in three months. Or during World War II, when families lived for the moment when a letter would arrive with news from their soldier away at war.

But now that communication is exponentially faster—thanks in great part to email and smartphones—the handwritten note isn't just rarer, it has taken on a new kind of meaning. Receiving a handwritten note is that much more significant today precisely because the writer chose to take the time to pen a note, rather than an abbreviated message.

So I encourage you to pick up your pen. After all, who doesn’t love receiving mail? The surprise of seeing a letter from a friend, between the ever-present bills, is priceless. Keep in mind these tips as you go.

You don’t have to be Shakespeare. No need to compose poetry or write pages upon pages. Just say what’s on your heart. Tell your reader how much you value their friendship, or simply thank them for a gift you’ve received.

Dress up your note. Stationery can make any note seem extra special. You can easily find unique stationery to fit your budget no matter how large or small. Check out handcrafted cards on Etsy. Paper Source, Papyrus, and Target also have a good selection.

Be creative. If you’re feeling crafty, make your own stationery! Take a trip to your local craft store and pick up a package of blank cards and envelopes, a rubber stamp, and colored ink.

And remember, you don’t need the finest stationery, the most eloquent language, or even a special occasion to send a note! A simple, “thinking of you” is enough to make someone's week.