Tips & Tricks: The Art of a Handwritten Note

This week I received the sweetest handwritten note in the mail from a friend. It was a greeting of kind, encouraging words, and the positive impact it had on the rest of my evening was tremendous. It's amazing how so few words, with such kind and sincere meaning, can impact a person. Not to mention the stationary was ridiculously cute (see below.)
I have always loved the art of the handwritten note. In fact, I collect stationary. I have certain friends with whom I exchange handwritten notes and cards, not only for birthdays or holidays, but out of the blue, too. When I was having a difficult time adjusting to college my freshman year, a long time friend of mine from high school frequently wrote to me. My trips to the college mail stop quickly became a favorite ritual of mine during a very lonely time. Those handwritten notes helped alleviate the loneliness I felt, and reminded me I was loved and had good friendships. The letters were personal. They were meaningful. They required effort. This dear friend of mine made a positive impact on my life simply by writing me a letter. (I still have them, by the way, tucked away for a rainy day in a shoebox in my closet.)

Today's blog post tackles the art of the handwritten note. I'd like to challenge you: Don't let email and social media kill letter writing. Don't underestimate the power of a handwritten note on cute stationary. Seriously, who doesn't love getting actual, real life mail in the MAILBOX?

Here are some basic steps to write a short, simple, and thoughtful note. This is NOT intended for professional letters or thank you notes, but rather for correspondence between friends, family or loved ones.

Step One: Date and address the note. Simple, right? Why date it, you ask? A) So the person knows when you wrote it and B) if they keep it forever, they will have a frame of reference for when it was written and how long they've had it. 
As for addressing, some might simply write the person's name, as I did above. Others may make it more formal or more casual by adding "Dear Alyssa," or "Hey Alyssa." It's your letter, so you should make it meaningful to you and the person you are communicating with.
Step Two: Open with kindness. I always find that opening with kind words that reflect your positive feelings about the person is a good way to go. Nobody really wants to get a short note of complaints or negativity. Remember, this is a note to tell someone you are thinking of them.
Step Three: Ask a specific question. What is the last thing you spoke to this person about?  Do you want to follow up on that, or do you want to ask a question that is timely and relevant (as I did above?) Do you want to ask about their family, or new love interest, or recent vacation? Whatever your question, make it specific and meaningful to the person you are writing to.
Step Four: Talk about you. Now that you've opened with kindness, have let the person know you're thinking of them, and have asked them a specific question, you get to talk about you.
 Step Five: Sign the bottom. Read through and make sure you're happy with what you've written. Write a P.S. if there's something you forgot to mention but have already signed it.
 Step Six: Tuck the letter in the envelope.
 Step Seven: Seal the envelope well.
 Step Eight: Address it and put on a cute stamp. There! You did it!

I challenge each of you to write a handwritten letter this week to someone you love!! Why not spread the cheer to someone's mailbox? One of the best parts about letter writing is... you not only brighten someone's day, but you will probably get a note back in return :)

Thanks for reading!

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