Monday, January 30, 2012

The Month of Letters: Are You In?

I'm always up for a challenge, especially when it comes to writing — and this challenge is near and dear to my heart.

In February, the challenge is this: write a letter a day.  It doesn't have to be long. In fact, a postcard can do, too.

The Month of Letters encourages us to run at least one thing through the postal system every mailing day (excluding Sundays and postal holidays) in February.


Because we've gotten too cavalier about communication.

We used to call and chat with each other, often for hours. I remember talking all night to friends, my princess phone glued to my ear. (I provided myself my own line in my parents' house.) I'm sure the U.S. Postal Service lamented their demise when Ma Bell hit the wires.

However, nowadays, we don't even bother to call, let alone walk 10 feet to the office or desk next door to speak in person.  We e-mail, ostensibly to "have a record." But truly, it's easier and faster to shoot a message rather than talk to a person.

Even in that, we're short. We don't e-mail when a text will do. We don't even spell it out anymore — we abbreviate. We think it saves us time, but that's rarely the case: think about the flurry of emails you send daily on the simplest topics or tasks.  By being short, we often make life more difficult for ourselves.

So let's take the time to communicate effectively.

Try doing the following:
  • Begin with a salutation. ("Hello" always worked for me.)
  • Use entire words.
  • Spell every word properly.
  • Write the right word. 
  • Create complete sentences.
  • Practice proper grammar. 
  • When you think you're done, read the entire letters out loud. If it doesn't sound right, chances are, it's not. Fix what needs it.
  • When you're really done, sign your letter.

Apply these rules to postcards, birthday cards, everything. Put the effort into your correspondences. Communication counts.

Throughout February, from time to time I'll offer ideas, tips and tricks to make letter-writing interesting for the recipient and fun for the writer.  If you have anything to share, drop me a line or leave a comment at the end of the blog entry.

So, who will receive your first letter?

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