This week’s episode is another solo one from yours truly and the second in the Quick Tip Series (meaning it’s a short one!). It’s all about the power of the handwritten note, and I couldn’t be more excited about the topic.
A month or so ago, I took a poll over in Instagram about what I should focus on for my next solo episode. It was between this topic and self-care as the antidote to overwhelm. I have to admit that I was a little surprised at how close it was. I kind of assumed that the topic of self-care was going to blow the handwritten note out of the water. But it didn’t.
It was neck and neck for a while, with self-care eeking out the handwritten note by a few percentage points.
As you can see, I decided to put self-care on hold and run with the power of the handwritten note for two reasons. First, I took part in InCoWriMo for the second time this February. InCoWriMo, jokingly referred to as a vintage social media, is a 28-day challenge to send out one handwritten note a day. The only rules are that you have to write a letter out by hand and that it needs to be mailed. (Easy enough, right?)
The second thing — and the one that truly solidified this as a topic that I needed to focus on — was going through 3 large boxes of old papers that had been collecting dust in the corner for close to 20 years. had to do with something I found in my basement.
A few things stood out in that cleaning. First, I have always had an affinity for handwritten notes. I had letters from when I was in first grade all through college. I had letters from all seasons of my life — from friends, schoolmates, boyfriends, and family. I discovered letters from loved ones that have passed on. And discovering those letters took my breath away and made me feel connected to them in such a powerful and tangible way again.
It also made me realize how meaningful the letters that I have from the people in my life that are still here, like my grandfather, my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, and my cousins. I know that there will be a time when these letters will be the things that I cherish the most.
Being able to reconnect to my affinity for handwritten notes a few years ago through Propelle and experiences like InCoWriMo, as well as remembering how meaningful the act of letter writing had been in my past, felt like a beautiful coming home.
The real power in the handwritten note
It’s true that people love getting mail. But we don’t we don’t tend to get much of it other than junk or bills, so a handwritten note has even more meaning when it shows up in our mailboxes. I’m not sure about you, but when something other than junk shows up in the mail, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I also hear the same thing from the people I send letters to.
But here’s the thing. That’s not where the most power lies.
The response from people (which I do love to hear about) is really secondary to the experience I have in writing the letters. By sitting down and sharing with someone what I love about them or what inspires me about their work is that it puts me in a space of love and positivity on par with when I practice gratitude.
This Thanksgiving, I was trying to think of a way to extend the spirit of thanksgiving and bring more of it into my day-to-day life. I thought it would be fun to send a note to every single person that was at our family’s celebration, sharing with them what they had done to make it such a special time for me (and my family). I spent a week thinking through what I wanted to share and put the letters in the mail.
Those letters were a gift FOR ME because I got to experience that joy all over again and relive those special moments.
I had almost forgotten about the letters when, a few days later, I received a call from my 96-year-old grandfather. He told me how lovely he thought his note was, saying that the letter he had received from me was the nicest letter he had received in his entire life and that it had made him realize something new about himself. He had never thought of himself as a curious person, but now that I had said it to him, he could really see how that had impacted his life over the years.
I was gobsmacked after receiving that phone call. I’m pretty sure I spent a solid ten minutes crying because of how amazed and grateful I was to have been a part of that and of knowing how one little thank you card, that I had chosen to write on a whim, had meant the absolute world to him at 96.
And for me, that is the crux of a handwritten note and how powerful it can be to tell someone that you care, to share what you find amazing and inspiring about then, and/or how they light you up and fill your heart with joy and fondness. In my experience, taking the time to do that is one of the most incredibly meaningful things you can do for someone else. Whether it’s for a colleague, a loved one, a friend, or even a complete stranger. It all matters.
It’s your turn to share the love
Talking about the power of the handwritten note is one thing. Now it’s time to take action and send one (or two) of your own.
If you’ve never done this or haven’t done it in a while, that’s okay. I am confident that whatever you share in your note will be exactly what is needed in the moment. Also, your letter doesn’t need to be fancy or beautifully written. It doesn’t have to be on gorgeous stationary or include anything else inside of it. All it needs is you to put words onto paper and put it in the mail.
Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to write someone in your life a handwritten note and send it to them. Better yet, send one to someone you know and love AND one to someone you’d like to connect with or get to know better.
Let’s take it offline and get analog so that we can send a ripple of love out into the world.
Take a listen!
Prefer to listen to this post? Check out this week’s quick tip over on Some Kind of Magic.