The Lost Art Of Writing; Birthday, Thank You, Appreciation Notes Part II

Posted: January 16, 2008 in Daily Blog
Tags: ,

There has been a lot of interest in the post on writing notes and cards to people, so I feel it is necessary to share some more on the subject…

I am not a writer by nature.  I don’t consider myself one of those types of people that is super successful at any of this encouragement stuff, but I have seen the difference it makes in others, and know that it can have a dramatic impact in a person’s life.  People will put notes in frames and keep them on their walls forever.  Those that have had a profound impact on you may never know if you don’t tell them.  You may be the only one that is showing someone you care by sending a note.  It seems that the time you put into writing (and it doesn’t take long) pays incredible dividends on the recipient’s side.  Especially as we move further and further from the personal touch of a handwritten anything. 

I find it funny that we will spend about 5 bucks and half an hour in an isle at Target or actually go to the Hallmark store to search out a card that says just the right thing, when we could spend the time writing our own heartfelt words to the recipient, that would take less time and certainly cost a lot less.  The results are even better!  I prefer getting handwritten notes from people over a mass produced card, or worse yet, one printed off a computer…  I bet you do too.

Here are 5 tips to help you get started…

1.  Make time to do it!  It doesn’t take long, but if you don’t make the time it will never get done.  Even if you have to put it on your calendar, schedule a time and place, make it happen!

2.  Write from your heart.  Tell the person what you want them to know about.  Encourage them, appreciate them, thank them from the bottom of your heart!  Sometime I would just write, “thank you, thank you, thank you!” on the card, repeating it to add power to the words.  Be intimate with the words, write as if you were in love with them, telling them specifically how much they mean to you or the organization.  This can be hard for men, we are less emotionally in touch, but overcome the embarrassment and tell them what you need to tell them… don’t be too professional, be a good friend in your words on paper, keeping it informal.  Formality is saved for memos or public messages, handwritten notes are close, personal and intimate, even if you don’t know them that well, using familiar language will help them connect to you.

3.  Don’t worry about spelling or writing mistakes.  Some of you may insist on drafting the words on your computer or practicing first on a blank sheet of paper, that is fine in the beginning, but again, this is a familiar, informal way to get back to the heart or humanity.  It is more personal and intimate, so mistakes are almost expected.  People know you are not perfect, stop pretending!  They will forgive mistakes you make.  Remember third grade though, when the teacher said don’t scribble over your mistake, just line through it and write next to it… don’t make a mess on the paper, just continue on.

4.  Writing is an art form…  Get nice paper, use a nice pen.  The materials say as much about the value you place in the recipient as the words.  Blank stationary can be picked up nearly anywhere, and gel pens, or rollerball pens make nicer strokes than ball point.  Please never use pencil!!!  Again guys, there are really cool masculine patterns out there, so don’t think it has to be all girly!  Since writing is an art form, slow down.  Mistakes are expected, but your writing should be legible.  Take your time, enjoy the process of it.

5.  Mail the note.  Part of the fun of this is the unexpectedness of it all.  Going to the mail box is no longer the treat it once was.  About the only thing in them anymore is junk mail; so finding a handwritten note is a highlight to a person’s day!  Think about it, even Christmas cards are mass produced now.  You probably got a couple with family pictures on them, generically printed to go out to many people… or maybe even had a form letter card, but receiving a personalized, handwritten, thought out card on a normal day of the week; that is huge!!!  People love surprises like these, take advantage of it.  Leaving the note on a co-workers desk is good, hand delivering is appropriate at times, but when at all possible use surprise to your advantage!

Okay, enough on the subject… I am no expert, but I have seen the power of this in my own life, and in the live of those I have written to…

Oh yeah, remember those closest to you, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and spouses… these are the ones we are most likely to overlook in this whole process.  Mail one of them a handwritten note and watch how they respond to it!  It will make their day, and yours!

  1. what do you mean not “super successful at any of this encouragement stuff”? i don’t think that’s true at all!!

  2. […] The Lost Art Of Writing; Birthday, Thank You, Appreciation Notes … […]

  3. […] carve time out of my day today to hand write these guys a note (I fully embrace handwritten notes, read about it here).  I highly recommend that you reflect on where you are today, where you are going in your life, […]

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