Hello my lovely friends! I’m here above the clouds writing this post on my way back from Romania, and I thought I would cozy up here for awhile (it’s a long flight 😅) and talk about one of my favorite things in the world, and that’s letter writing!
I think it’s so funny one of my friends said to me one day, “What’s a Stephanie without a letter?” and it’s so true! Writing letters to friends, family, and sometimes even strangers is something that’s part of who I am. I started writing letters for fun in middle school when my best friend moved to another school. My dad is a mailman, so he would personally deliver those handwritten notes to her. It was a fun back and forth, and even though we were only a short drive away from one another, it felt so magical to share all of our middle school thoughts, struggles, dreams, jokes, and musings over letters.
To me, letter writing is not this formal thing where you have a bunch of rules and have to write as if in a Victorian English accent. It’s not this thing where you need to plan out what you have to say beforehand. Not at all.
To me, writing a letter is having a conversation on paper. It’s taking the time to sit in front of a blank sheet, heart open and reflective of what I’m feeling, and beginning as though the person were really in front of me.
I think a lot of people shy away from writing letters because they think that it’s not for them. That it’s something so old-fashioned and formal, or that they would not be good at it, or that their handwriting is messy. I’m here to tell you that letter writing is coming back, friends! It’s really much cooler and more in than people think. You don’t have to have any special writing talent to share what’s on your mind and heart. And if you have messy handwriting, all the better! It’s what makes you you, and ultimately that’s what will make the letter special. That it’s truly from your heart.
I think everyone should give letter writing a try. I truly believe that the world would be a kinder more beautiful place if we all opened our mailbox every now and then to find a little letter written with love and care, and sat down to write and return the love. It’s an endless cycle of enveloped love 💌.
But can’t I just send an email or text? Isn’t that the same thing?
No, and I’ll tell you why.
1) Letters are tangible.
What makes letter writing so amazing is that it’s literally a piece of someone on paper. When you receive it, you can touch the writing, you can feel it. You can see things from a friend’s handwriting that you could not see via electronic communication. You can see the scribbled sentences and sense when someone was happy or angry or excited or emotional when they wrote to you. Sometimes, you will find fun things in a letter like an herbal tea sachet your friend wanted you to enjoy. Maybe someone will send you a photograph you can hold in your hands. Letters allow you to connect with someone in a tangible way that no email or text message can match.
There was a study that showed that when people receive a text message on their phone, they get a tiny high of serotonin. The reason behind this is because we as humans love to receive new information, we are programmed that way. We also love receiving love. If we get those feelings from a tiny little vibration in our pocket, imagine the high from getting a letter in the mail. It’s exponentially more intense. I truly think getting a letter in the mail is one of the best feelings in the world. Just the surprise of seeing it and feeling that letter in my hands. Imagine how much better this world would be if we all sent each other a surprise letter now and then.
2) Letters are intentional.
Think about it. In order for someone to have written you a letter, they had to sit down, think of you, and spend some time handwriting a message. You really have to be intentional in order to do something like that. People don’t send letters ‘by accident’ the way they might have accidentally sent a text. You can't copy-paste a letter. Each letter you receive is meant precisely and especially for you, and therefore is much more precious and valuable. That’s why people hold onto some letters for their entire lives. Which brings me to my last point.
3) Letters are forever.
Diamonds are forever… No. Letters are forever. Yes, some letters touch us so much we keep them for a lifetime. One day, maybe they’ll be in a museum! Will your emails be in a museum one day? I don't think so.
Honestly, I don’t really care if my letters will be in some museum one day, that’s not something that motivates me to write. But to me, the idea that a friend I write to keeps a particular letter for years because it means something to them… that’s priceless to me. I hope that my letters encourage, inspire, and deepen my relationship with whomever I’m writing to. It’s such a good feeling knowing your letters touch someone enough for them to want to keep that piece of paper forever.
Letters Are Coming Back, Baby!
When “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake came out, my sister and I had a back-and-forth that went like this that made me laugh:
Sister (singing): “I’m bringing sexy back…”
Me (trying to be cool): “Sexy never left.”
Sister (actually cool): “Why, thank you.”
This is how I feel about letter writing. It was never gone, it never left. For me, it’s always been alive— the exciting and sexy way to communicate. I think people just need to rediscover its amazingness and beauty.
I challenge you sometime this week: write a letter to someone you care about, and tell them you’re thinking about them. It doesn’t have to be long or very deep. You can tell them you’re sending this letter “just because.” See what happens. People are usually pretty touched knowing someone thought of them….
Write me when you send it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time,