I mentioned in this post that letter writing is a forgiving past time–no matter how much time between your letter-writing stints, it can be fun, rejuvinating, and pleasant to write a letter.
But, like exercise, even if it can be fun (which exercise can!) and good for you, sometimes it’s hard to “make” yourself do it. Here are a few things you can do to fit more letter writing in your life:
1. Take Laura’s advice. My friend Laura said that the only letters/notes she is sure to write are thank you notes. She just had a round of thank you notes to send, so she dropped me a “just to say hi” note while she was in the groove of writing thank yous. What a great idea! Group your tasks and get more out of writing thank you notes than just crossing another task off of your to do list.
2. Make a date with yourself. If you really do enjoy letter writing and want to make it a bigger part of your life, then make a date with yourself and keep it. I enjoy Sunday mornings with coffee and a stack of letters to reply to, but find a time that works for your schedule and stick to it! (By the way, “making a date” works for just about anything in your life you want to do more of. If you schedule it in your calendar and tell others you’re not available at that time, you can find time to write letters, learn to draw, complete triathlon training, or finish your great American novel.)
3. Pick up a little motivator…like nice stationery or a cool new pen. New stationery is as fun for me as a new outfit–I want to try it out and show it off! If you have a hard time finding nice stationery in your area (and they are harder and harder to find these days), I’ll share a few links soon of some of my current favorites and wishlist items.
4. Be prepared. As a former girl scout, I learned to “be prepared” (well, I think that was the Boy Scout motto, but you get what I mean). I try to have letter writing supplies on hand for when the letter writing mood strikes. If you find you have time and want to write letters more often when you’re away from home (at the beach, in a coffee shop, resting in the woods after a hike, or on an airplane) then take your supplies with you! In a small space you can definitely carry a variety of paper and envelopes, a pen or two, some stamps, a little address book, and return address labels. These items are mostly flat, so they’re easy to pack, and an on-the-go kit can boost your letter writing stats.
I just put together one of these kits for my friend, Alison, who I’ve mentioned before has a full time job teaching high school art and is raising three wonderful girls with her very busy husband. Her letters have come to me written on blank pages torn from the front of a paperback novel, her kids’ art projects, and other scraps of paper that are near her when the moment strikes. Problem is, when the letter is done, she typically needs to track down an envelope, remember to address it, get to the post office to buy a stamp, etc. and that can throw off the mailing of the missive. So I put together a small kit she can carry around and do a full letter–beginning to end–and drop in a mailbox anywhere. Below are a couple of pics.
Here, all the items are tucked neatly inside a repurposed packaging folder from the Kartos stationery I just picked up in Oxford, MS:
Here are some of the items out of the folder, including a small book for addresses, various stationery sheets and envelopes, some stamps, and return addresses labels. (I made them for Alison at VistaPrint.com. They have a HUGE selection and the prices are reasonable).
This package to Alison may have been a bit self serving. I am hoping that it helps her send more snail mail my way. But it was fun, too, just to make a little gift with materials I mostly had on hand.
What would you add to this list of suggestions for making time to write letters?