The Writing Challenge

Can you write five notes in one week?

“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.”        -Lord Byron

Notes in the MailIn elementary school I participated in a pen pal program. We got paired with a student from another country and wrote notes to each other. I remember being so excited and enthralled with the letters I got from my pen pal, whose name I no longer remember, though I do know she lived in Korea. I remember thinking how cool it was that I got a letter in the mail from the other side of the world. When the notes came, I stared intently at her perfect handwriting, the foreign stamp, and cute stickers she added to the page. I wanted to make my notes to her equally interesting, so she would feel the same excitement I did when she received her letters.

Today I still feel that excitement when I see a handwritten note come in our mail. Though I no longer have a pen pal, just seeing the handwritten address is a welcome change from cable advertisements and ComEd bills. At this point in my life, it usually ends up being a baby shower invitation or wedding thank you. I rarely receive handwritten notes that are just a “hello, how are you?” or “I have some exciting news.” With close friends or family, this is usually communicated over the phone or in person when possible.

I am guilty of the same. I only write handwritten notes for thank yous or birthday cards. For some reason, these two occasions always warrant a paper card, not just an email, text message, or Facebook post. But with many of my friends and family living out of state I wonder what the impact would be to send notes just to see how someone is doing.

Address Book + StampsFor this reason, I am going to propose a writing challenge to myself and you, the reader. Next week we will write five handwritten notes to friends, family, or colleagues. The following week I will report back on my findings. The main focus of the note should not be to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, but to simply say “you’re the best!” or “I love you” or “I’m thinking of you.” Estimating that it takes about 10 minutes to write, address, and stamp each note, five notes in a week should be feasible. So get out your box of stationery, write down five names of people you want to reconnect with, and get to writing. Post your pictures and comments below to show us your progress and I will do the same. Don’t forget about us at TT Patton—we love receiving handwritten notes!

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