Every Birthday and Christmas I looked forward to presents, and was rarely disappointed by my amazing parents who truly gave me so much to be thankful for as a child.
But the most important thing for me always was the handwritten letter.
Be it a simple card, maybe a little cash fell out as I opened it, or into my later teen years as my Dad would pen thoughts that seemed to just flow through him regarding his insights into my life, and my Mom with her witty, hilarious cards that she still sends to this day, I’m all about the written word.
I have carried this into my own life. Perhaps you’ve received a handwritten note from me, either in a card, the front of a gifted book, or a text/email that was just a bit too long…yet you read it anyway, because it was so flowery, funny, and fascinating (yeah right!).
I love writing. I prefer it to video all day long. I make videos because we are supposed to nowadays, but I would rather read a 30 minute epistle in blog form than click to watch a video that is 4 minutes long.
My children and spouse must endure these same habits I have cultivated over years of practice. In fact, recently I realized, the only gift I give on holidays is the handwritten card to my family members, while my wife takes care of the presents. She’s better at shopping and knowing what they want, I’m better at telling them how much they are loved and what they will become when they live The Promise. Sometimes I’ll stash some cash in there so they’ll be even happier.
This month our family celebrates something once a week, between birthdays and holidays, and so it is a month long of letters that matter.
My watch just buzzed on my wrist to remind me to stand. I have continually ignored its notice. I just realized I have been sitting for 3 hours completely zoned into writing letters to my children…letters they probably will toss aside, that will hide in a drawer, and that perhaps they’ll scour for in the distant future.
Whereas my wife has stacks of letters from her adoring husband, a journey of our lives in my flowing cursive, that will soon be illegible as the art form fades away. She has claimed, if there’s a fire, she’s grabbing my journals and letters first. I say we should get the kids and the dog first, and then she gives me that look.
Today I wrote handwritten short cards to the children, and then typed the long-form letters, so they could at least read them, since my cursive to them is the equivalent of Reformed Egyptian, and there is no Urim & Thummim in our home.
To write a great letter, I look at letters from years past, as I always copy them before I send them, to see how I can get better.
If you haven’t written a letter in a while, or just bought a card and left Hallmark to pen the thoughts for you, give the card still but then pull out a nice crisp white sheet 8.5×11 and commit to something greater!
Here are few simple ways to write a better letter:
- Find the right pen, stationary, and sitting arrangement to be comfortable, with silence all around
- Look through old photos, read journal entries, and consider the time, moments and achievements between the last letter to whom you are writing
- Recall the entire life of the person, old memories, funny stories, lessons learned
- Consider the path you want the letter to take: If for Love, the joy they bring to you still, the fondness of growing older together, the commitment that remains; If for Birthday of a child, the greatness you see in their accomplishments and what you see they will become; If for An Apology, your own vulnerability and request for grace and love.
- Showtime: Every letter must begin and end on an upswing, beginning with joy and gratitude, humor or laughter, while the ending may lead as a rushing wind to an emotional tear-jerker that leaves the reader breathless to wanting more and desperate to call you or return the favor.
As you practice this skill of writing a better letter, you will find what my friend Jason Kotecki coined as “your wit & whimsy”, as well as your Signature Moves. Some of mine include flowering a memory to become a story & make it funnier than it really was, heaping praise that veers on blasphemy, sharing insights regarding the reader they hadn’t considered for their own greatness and my belief in their capability.
How about you?
Anyone to write a letter to?
What are your techniques for doing so?
I Promise you, there’s a chance to make someone’s day, every single day, with a letter….maybe even tomorrow.
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Hiker, Coach
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Coach
- World’s First & Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach the Power of Keeping Your Promise
- Author of “The Promise To The One”