In the age of computers and email, writing letters has become a forgotten pastime. When was the last time that you sat down and actually wrote a letter to somebody? Letters are personal and they can actually bring us closer to the person that we are writing to. Letters force us to slow down and it gives us time with ourselves that we wouldn’t normally have.
When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? I’m not talking about an email. A real letter. By hand, preferably on your personal stationery with a fountain pen.
Writing letters has a lot of benefits, but I’ve noticed that since I entered the computer age, I have fallen out of the habit of writing letters. As a matter of fact, I actually struggle to write readably because I’m so unpracticed at it.
People enjoy receiving hand-written letters, and if you’re asking someone for a favor, a personal note or letter can really be impressive. I know an author who sent out handwritten notes to several best-selling authors when she was working on her first novel. One of those authors became her mentor, and helped her finish the novel. That relationship was invaluable to my friend, and helped launch her career. And it all started with a letter.
Letters are personal, and a letter can draw us closer to the person we’re writing, because we have to take the time to say exactly what we mean. We’re not getting feedback in the form of questions or facial expressions. There is some of that with email, as well, but with a letter, we know that several days may pass between the writing and the reading, and we focus on making sure we’re understood the first time.
One of my favorite things about letters is that they force us to slow down. You can’t handwrite a letter fast. No matter how quickly you write, your hand can never move as fast as your brain. You’re going to have to take the time to write what’s coming to you, and allow your brain to slow down to hand’s pace.
What I love about letters is that they feel like they’re really coming from my mind, not just from my brain. I’m taking time to really be who I am when I’m writing a letter, and that feels good both to me and to the person who’s reading my letter.
There’s also the fact that a letter is a personal connection in a way email is. It used to be that picking up the phone and calling was expensive and seemed like a big deal. People still enjoy phone calls. But taking the time to write a letter by hand…that shows you care.
I guess my favorite part of writing a letter is that it’s a very special time with myself that I might not normally have, and it allows me to connect not only with the person I’m writing, but with myself and my relationship with that person. I mean, I don’t write personal letters to my utility company. I’m writing to a person, and I’m getting in touch with the real me when I do so. I love writing letters because it’s just a great activity and I always feel great when I finish.
How can you get in touch with the real you through letters?
- Who would you write to, if you were taking the time to write a letter?
- What would you talk about, and why?
- Sit down and write that letter today.