Does the thought of penning a handwritten note fill you with apprehension and dread? If you’re like many, the answer is yes. But what if the shoe is on the other foot? Isn’t the thought of receiving a handwritten note, delightful? Yes, again.
So why don’t we write letters? Blame digital devices. I’m not such a Luddite that I can’t admit that electronic communication is miraculous. It’s cheap and efficient and I use it a lot. Without it, I wouldn't be in touch with you. But it’s absolutely not a substitute for the handwritten note. There are occasions that still demand pen and paper. And I hope they always will.
So what are some of these occasions where keystrokes should be eschewed and pen embraced? Thank you notes, RSVPs, condolences, congratulations and letters to your children at camp top my list. Admittedly it’s been a long time since I’ve written to a child at camp, but the other opportunities are ones that I regularly embrace.
Those of a certain age practiced letter writing in elementary school. Like learning cursive, it’s an art that should be revived. Remember the structure? Salutation, body, closing, signature and maybe a P.S. There were different rules for business and personal correspondence. There was a right way to write.
As with most things- what we practice, we perfect and note writing can be mastered. Even though there are lots of embellishments, the basic rules are easy. Put pen to paper and write what needs to be written. Sooner, rather than later, because even snail mail shouldn’t be too slow. How simple is that?
Have your writing tools at the ready- paper and envelopes, pen, stamps and an up-to-date snail mail address book-and you’re set. Being set, you have no excuse to procrastinate. And having supplies that you love will incline you to use them. I love engraved stationery and a good black ink pen. My paper ‘wardrobe’ pretty much covers all situations. Diminutive dimensions belie substance. These cards are handsome and have a nice hand. Paper, ink and font are constants, making the stationery timeless and suitably unisex.
Family members know they can raid my stash at will. I love that they know how to write a note and are good about doing so. They’ve embraced the notion that a handwritten note sets you apart, in a good kind of way. As fewer people do so, writing notes has become a secret weapon for making a good impression. Engraving to impress- maybe an oxymoron?
I’ll leave you with a thought from the English writer, G.K. Chesterton that might change how you think about the handwritten note. This is not an exact quote for his word was not opportunity, but adventure. I got it wrong from the get-go but really like my version better so I now habitually misquote him. So, take your pick!
“An inconvenience is an opportunity wrongly considered.“