Written Communication – The art of writing an informal and personal letter is quickly becoming extinct. Personal correspondence has been taken over by email, text messaging, and just plain laziness. These days you can count yourself lucky to even receive a Christmas or Valentine’s Day card in the mail much less have the pleasure of opening an envelope and being greeted by the unmistakable sight of a handwritten letter.
In an effort to revive the dying art I’ll try and explain just how simple the act is.
Grab a piece of paper, lined, unlined, legal pad, or just a random piece of scratch paper lying around on the kitchen table. Now go and find a pen or pencil. Maybe you got a nice set for Valentine’s Day. I know I did. Or maybe you’ve got a kitchen drawer full of orphaned Bic pens that are missing their tops and have been chewed into a mangled mess. It doesn’t matter just find a writing instrument. Stay away from the keyboard! I said back away from the keyboard. There will be no contact list to peruse and no little box popping up asking if you are sure you want to send your message with a subject. Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo will not be involved in this exercise.
Wait a minute. Don’t walk away from the keyboard yet; you have to finish reading this first.
Take a minute and think about the day, the week, the month. If it has been a really long time since you talked to that old friend from High School then think about the year. Put that pen or pencil to the paper and just start writing. It doesn’t have to be some masterpiece that will stand the test of time. It just has to be your thoughts translated into words, and written down on paper. It is that simple. Start writing. Write a letter to your mother or your father. Write a letter to your big or little brother or sister. Your preacher, your best friend, an old teacher. Write a letter to your significant other maybe. I don’t care who you are coming home from a long day at work and finding a hand written letter addressed to you is one heck of a pick me up.
As long as it ain’t someone telling you they are tired of it all and they just packed their bags and left. That’s a different article altogether.
Make sure to include lots of sentence fragments and spell a few words wrong on purpose. It gives it character. Especially sentence fragments. When you are done writing, and it doesn’t have to be epic in length, a few sentences can sometimes say more than a novel; find an envelope, a stamp, and an address. Put it in the mail.
Thirty minutes to an hour of time invested, maybe 60 cents total in material costs, and a little creativity and you’ve made someone’s day. Plus it is the cheapest therapy you’ll find.
“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company”