I am a letter writer. Expressing myself via written word is very natural to me, and I enjoy sitting down and writing things that I can’t seem to figure out how to say out loud. I think everyone loves to receive a handwritten missive, and I like being able to bring happiness to other people this way.
Letter writing takes time. From the moment I start with “Dear [person]” each sentence takes consideration and care. I first try to figure out what is the main thing I want to say. Sometimes I’ll have an idea ahead of time, but usually, I spend a few minutes thinking about the person I’m writing to. I think about what I feel about them, what I know about their recent activities, and start going from there. I think it’s incredibly important to spend this time thinking about them, even if the letter ends up being mostly about what I’ve been up to. By taking that time, my writing ends up being much more personal. Short cards might take as little as fifteen minutes to write, but I’ve also spend hours on just a few paragraphs.
My major goal for this year is to figure out how to be more social. My major strategy for that is to focus much more on other people and not so much on myself. Letter writing has been a great tactic in working towards that goal. I’ve sent more letters in the past few months than I have in years, reconnecting with old friends, congratulating people on their accomplishments, sending encouraging words to friends who need it.
For the past few months I’ve been writing at least one letter everyday. I’ve been writing and sending a handmade card to my best friend every day, and I just passed fifty sent messages to her. This has been a very rewarding activity for me, and I believe she has enjoyed it too.
Writing every day means that you’re creating something every day. Writing to someone you love every day means that you are exploring those feelings every day, learning to understand what that really means. It means exercising empathy, which gets better the more you use it.
Most importantly, it creates a tangible artifact for someone; a keepsake for them to hold on to. A monument to the connection you share with them.
I really encourage you to spend some time writing to someone you care about. Start simple. Get a sheet of paper and just write some words about someone you love. Write about why you love them. Write about a moment you’ve shared together or something you think they would like. Don’t worry about rules. Just speak from the heart. Then send it to them. You will feel good, and they will be thrilled. I guarantee it.