October 11, 2010

The Power of a Handwritten Letter


Words of Love
photo credit: DaveBinM

In this digital age, it’s easy to click, click, click our keyboards and zip out an email in 30 seconds. Sure, it may be loving and heartfelt and beautiful. But it’s still an email. It shows up in an electronic inbox. Clicking on the inbox just doesn’t have that same excitement as whipping open the mailbox and finding a special letter.

Don’t get me wrong, I get some pretty cool and exciting things in my email inbox. But I can’t read all the nuances that come with a handwritten letter. Sometimes stamped with a special stamp and you can wonder what they were thinking or why they chose that design. Or why this specific card or paper. It was chosen for me, even if it’s just a plain notebook page.

I used to write a lot more than I do now. The computer has definitely made me lazier when it comes to sending personal, handwritten notes and cards.  There are still a few people I still routinely send cards and letters. I try very hard to find something special for that person. And even though many of them start the same way, with general pleasantries, the letter always progresses to those things that are personal and unique.

I’ve always been intrigued by letters from ages past. I have letters from my mom from when I was in college and even though she’s been gone nearly 19 years, they’re still a part of her. I have letters from my grandpa too. Each of these are handwritten, with blobs of ink staining the page or misspelled words crossed through. Personal. Unique. Loving.

I remember going to an exhibit of the Titanic and seeing the handwritten letters from the survivors. The contained that something special that words can’t explain. That a printed email could never convey. I was taken back. I felt the pain and sadness that this letter writer shared. I felt the cold water and heard the screams that she did. In a letter. A yellowed piece of paper with scrawled letters.

I’ve seen scraps of paper that men and women pieced together while living in death camps during the Holocaust. I have seen card and letters from those liberated. About their experience, their love, their loss, their sadness and their hope. Nothing that an 8×10 piece of printer paper with Helvetica or Garamond or Arial 12pt could possibly ever impart.

We’re all guilty of wanting to write a letter, only to say that we’ll get around to it. And then it becomes, Someday I’ll finally sit down and write out those cards or letters. Someday. Why someday? Why not now? It doesn’t have to be long or profound or genius. Just genuine.

Join me today in pulling out a card or piece of paper and writing something special to someone you love and putting it in the mail to them. Just knowing that you took the time to write, stamp, and mail this seemingly basic paper will make someone’s day more special than a thousand emails.

So grab a card or paper. Write what feels natural and send it off to that special person. It will make you feel great. More than once.

This post is part of Mingle Monday at Add  A Pinch. Check out other great blogs!



Kim Piter October 11, 2010 at 10:12 am

I totally agree with you about handwritten letters. Sometimes, I am intimidated of writing a letter because I’m a very poor writer in the sense of grammar and spelling. I have dyslexia which just makes it ten times harder to write but I do it anyways. I am pen pals with my niece so I hand write letters all the time to her. I know she might catch my mistakes but that’s not what is so important in my letters. She gets something special from me. My thoughts and my time. She knows that I care about her through my letters. I think it’s a great way of showing her that I love her. She writes me back and I always look forward to her letters! I get so excited about what her thoughts are. I sometimes believe that letters are truly just a present wrapped in an envelop instead of wrapping paper! How wonderful.

Denise@TogetherWeSave October 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Wonderful post… a hand written note can mean so much!

Kate @ Songs Kate Sang October 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Oh, I totally agree. I love correspondence. It makes me long for days of writing desks, beautiful pens and piles of stationery to choose from!

Valerie D October 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I just mailed two cards with notes in them today. I was feeling the same way as you expressed. And isn’t it just lovely to get mail? Remember how great that feels when you get a letter and it’s not a bill? Thanks for the reminder (the letter is in the mail :-))

Jackie @ FREEISMYLIFE October 12, 2010 at 6:46 am

My sister is an archivist and years ago, she took me on a tour of the archives of the college where she was employed. I saw hand written letters and ledgers dating back hundreds of years. It was amazing. My sister stressed the importance of writing letters instead of emailing and texting. She said without hand written correspondence, a part of our history is missing. I have to agree that she is right. We are not going to pass down emails to our kids. I love letter written with pen on paper holds as much impact 100 years later as the day it is written.

Jennifer October 12, 2010 at 7:03 am

I like this…I also used to write more, and I know how much I like receiving letters…thanks for the inspiration, I’ll send my mom a card this morning. 🙂

Honey October 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Hi Sara,

Every time I come here and read I am inspired. This was another amazing post. I used to be an avid letter writer and now I am lucky if I scrawl off a few lines in an email. There are a few people I know who would love a good handwritten letter now and again.

Thank you for the inspiration.


Connie November 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Sorry, I don’t have a web site. I just have to share this. I love to write REAL letters and notes to my friends. I am glad to say I haven’t lost the touch. I am 58 years old and still write letters to a dear friend that I talk to daily. When she told me that when she reads them it is as if I were there in person, that was a huge compliment to me. Though I have had a stroke and my writing is now very large (think of a first or second grader) it has improved through my continued habit of writing letters. She keeps teasing me and saying one day my letters should be published. She has a journal of my life! Think about that.

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