There is something about the power of the written word that is incomparable to anything else on Earth. Putting pen to paper is so thoughtful and permanent, and I think that sometimes in this beautifully upscale, innovative, technology flooded century that we have the privilege of being a part of, we forget the importance and necessity of writing things down. But today, I want to remind you of the value of expressing yourself on paper, and tell you some of the ways that I make sure that I am constantly living “write minded” – see what I did there? Ha. Ha. Ha…
Every single one of these articles starts with a blank sheet of paper. No, not just a plain white Word document with a flashing curser, but a real life notebook. Sometimes, when inspiration strikes, I just need to write it down, whether it’s a word, phrase, or an entire novel, my preferred method of drafting is by actually writing it all out. I’m never caught dead without at least one notebook, in fact, I currently have four in my laptop bag… to each their own.
The Pen Pal
Yes, I do actually have a pen pal. Am I the only person in existence who still has one? Maybe… well except for my pen pal, because obviously, he has one too. Why don’t we just call or text? Because it’s more fun this way. I’ve never met him, I’ve never heard his voice, yet, I feel that I personally know him. I get to read his thoughts and feelings exactly as he writes them. I get to see the way he writes his name, and my name, and all of the things he likes and doesn’t like. Is it archaic, maybe? Do I care, not at all. There’s something intimate and ultra personal about having a pen pal, and while all calls and texts can be deleted with the push of the button, I can, and will, keep his letters forever.
The Thank You
I feel like this is maybe the one writing art form that hasn’t completely died. To me, nothing says gratitude like a hand written “thank you.” But even then, I have received many pre-printed thank you cards, which is deeply saddening to me, because I feel that a “thank you” should not be generic. If you’re going to take the time to thank someone in the first place, why not make it as genuine and sincere as possible and actually thank them personally? However, while a generic thank you is better than no thank you at all, I still try to do my part to assure that I show my appreciation in the best way I know how, by writing it out.
The Friendship Notebook
In December of this year, my best friend moved away to New York City. Like me, she has always had a deep appreciation for writing, and I decided to take advantage of this. Before she moved, I went to shop for the perfect going away present, and I just couldn’t seem to find anything. I stumbled down my favorite isle of TJ Maxx (the stationery isle) and found a set of two small Kate Spade notebooks, and thought to myself “this is perfect.” I kept one notebook and gave her the other; I told her this would be our new thing. Though we could no longer be together all the time, we could still tell each other everything we wanted at all times with our notebooks. We each spent the month writing to each other (usually filling up half of the notebook), and then at the end of month, we mail them to each other, read what the other had wrote, and then spend the next month writing in the other half of the notebook, exchanging them again once we finished that month. Since then we’ve purchased several more packs of small notebooks, and have kept the tradition going. It’s so nice to communicate with each other in a more unconventional way, and always have our thoughts to each other forever in ink.
The Just Because
Perhaps the best reason to write to someone is for absolutely no reason at all. Next time you’re thinking about someone, don’t call or text them – write to them! Let them know that they’ve been on your mind, and that you wanted them to know. Leave a post-it note for someone, write a special message on their coffee cup, or send some good, old-fashioned snail mail, and you will really make their day.
If you read my “100 Layers Challenge,” you know that I have saved every written letter that I’ve ever received, and while you may think it’s silly to save letters, or even write letters, let me tell you why I do it. You know how they say “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” well I think that a letter full of words is worth a thousand memories. If I miss someone and can’t be with them at that exact moment in time, I can still read what they have said to me in the past. Moreover, for people who I will never hear their voice or see them again, I can still read their “I love you” or “I miss you.” So if you find yourself with a spare moment this week, or this month, or this year, write to someone, because it may mean more to them than you could ever imagine.