Handwritten letters, once a cherished and time-honored tradition for sharing a personal correspondence, are quickly slipping into an antiquated past.
For many of us — not all — Facebook and Twitter have managed to slide into their place.
We tweet and type our sentiments onto a flickering screen and send our thoughts zipping out into cyber space.
I am old enough that I can still appreciate the weight and texture of good stationery. I can remember the thrill of finding a fattened letter waiting for me in the mailbox.
I know the thought that went into crafting a note to a friend or loved one. How I strove to apply my pen evenly, keep my penmanship neat and frame my ideas succinctly and with care.
Because we celebrate the value of written communication at EducatedWriter.com, let’s give some thought to some of the virtues of handwritten letters and how they may enrich our writing.
- A well-crafted handwritten note conveys the commitment of the writer. It involves an investment of time and consideration not so much required of an email missive that can clear up typos in a hot minute. Something to ask yourself — do your readers recognize your level of commitment in your writing? Have you done your due diligence in drawing out a scene? Developing a character?
- Sincerity is beautifully expressed in a handwritten letter when the writer takes the time to express his gratitude or feelings. The receiver is able to grasp the fuller, deeper meaning of the words in the letter, making the piece all the more valuable. Is your writing genuine? Does it speak truth to your audience? Or have you short-changed your reader with descriptions that have only scratched a surface?
- Seeing a loved one’s unique scrawl on the page is an endearing treasure that can be saved for years to come. It provides a sense of the eternal, the lasting and forever to hold one’s inscribed words in your own hands and whenever you feel inclined to reach for their memory. What message or image from your book or poem will stay with your readers forever? What will make them keep your work on their nightstand close by?
- Handwritten letters also have great historical significance as well. President Abraham Lincoln would famously pen heartfelt notes to the families of those lost in the Civil War. Such gestures have long been highly-regarded as a compelling documentation of history. Finally, if you could look into the future, how do you hope your piece will be regarded by future generations? What will it say to your descendents?
When is the last time you either wrote or received a handwritten note? Take time to write one today and see what new doors it will open for you in your writing.