In an age where folks incessantly check their phones and tablets for new messages and where “likes” are the golden stamps of approval, this old soul still believes in the good old-fashioned art of putting pen to paper. As someone who frequents stationery stores, has an address book and actually buys stamps, I can’t recommend letter writing enough. It’s a surprisingly cathartic way to show someone you care and hey, why should phone bills and take-out menus dominate our mailboxes anyways? Spare 49 cents and send a note that’s more than 140 characters to someone you love. It’ll probably be the cheapest thing you do all day.
1. Sending a letter is more personal. When I write a letter to someone, I’m writing it for that person’s eyes only. It’s not some public proclamation meant for all to see on Facebook or Twitter. It’s from ME to YOU. When I drop that letter into the mailbox, I anticipate the moment you’ll find it buried under all of the junk mail and smile knowing that I was thinking of you.
2. It’s a creative outlet. Letter writing is a wonderful way to break out of the seemingly mundane day you might be having. It allows you to unplug, to think outside of the [mail]box and work the right side of your brain. Don’t fret if you feel you have nothing to write about; I often include funny quotes, song lyrics or entertaining doodles to offset my rants and ramblings.
3. It’s affordable. For the price of one fancy coffee, you can send about ten letters via the good ol’ USPS. And while I don’t expect you’ll swap your cellphone plan to revert back to the days of the Pony Express, a letter can serve as a neat way to surprise someone on the cheap.
4. Letters last longer. I keep a box, eh several boxes, of all the letters, postcards, and notes I’ve ever received. It means more to me to have this collection than any amount of likes or followers I could ever gather on any social network. These written words reflect a real moment where someone took the time to write something meaningful, not a fleeting thought or careless musing simply shared with the click of a mouse. I write with the hope that the person who receives my letters will hold them as dear as I do.
5. Handwritten notes inspire kindness. While sending letters and notes is a fun, personalized way to keep in touch with family and friends, writing a letter is also an amazing way to reach out to someone you may not even know. Just head over to moreloveletters.com where you can find stories from folks who have found letters on subways, in textbooks and even in grocery stores! Check out the ‘letter requests’ page and write a letter to someone who could really use some extra encouragement and love.
6. Writing letters keeps the mind sharp! When you write, you’re working not only your motor-skills, but tapping into memory as well. And when you don’t know how to spell a certain word, having to look it up will help you remember it longer than if a phone or computer had just auto corrected it for you. Forcing yourself to pause, reflect and write will do wonders for your mind, body and soul. Now, go! Write a letter to a young lad who has never known life without cursors and keyboards. He or she will no doubt appreciate your chicken scratch and scribbles to be sealed, stamped, sent and saved forever.