This year, I ended up in situations where calling and texting were not enough to make myself clear. In some critical moments of my life, I wanted to express myself differently and take my time to carefully pick my words.
I want to share the small experience I had this year writing letters to people I care about. And if you feel more comfortable after this, you will find my postal address at the end of the article to share your thoughts.
Writing is a slow process
Slowing down the writing process on purpose forces you to think a lot about what you’re gonna say. When your thoughts are clear, writing them down by hand will be so slow compared to a keyboard that you might be very frustrated.
Just don’t give up: schedule an hour with zero distraction to be sure you can complete at least one good letter.
After the third letter you will feel more comfortable and your writing process might be 2x faster, trust me.
Sending a letter is painful
You need to have envelopes, paper, valid mail addresses, then put them all together and going to the post office. All these steps can be optimised a little bit.
There are some tips:
1) Gather the postal addresses of the people you want to contact. I usually send my letters to their offices directly.
2) Buy self adhesive A4 papers (like this).
3) Use Word, Photoshop, whatever you are familiar with to create a one document per recipient with the mailing address on it. Like this:
4) Do the same with your own mailing address: to paste it on the letter (sender), and include two of them inside your letter so you make the work easier for the person to reply.
5) Buy a 100 pack of classic envelopes. (like this)
6) Buy stamps online (maybe here) I need more details for worldwide shipping. Otherwise buy a pack at the post office.
7) Prepare 100 pieces of papers to write on, have at least 10 in your backpack. Use normal A4 paper to start.
8) Have a great pen on you, always.
9) I only write on one side of the page (recto), I leave the other side blank (verso). If you make a mistake you just have to re-write one page, not two.
When all of this is setup, the writing process is much simpler: take your paper, write, put it in an envelope, add the stickers (recipient and sender), add a stamp, drop the letter in a public postbox.
The result is always awesome
Really, just one simple page of sincere writing can change the day of the person. I think my letters where all successful because no one can be disappointed by receiving something so personal.
You don’t need to be an amazing writer because letters are about feelings, not about precision.
Try various kinds of paper and pens. Don’t hesitate to include some drawings inside the letter. And you know what? The simpler the drawing the more impact you will have. It’s all about the intention.
If you’ve read some of my Medium posts (here, here), I did the illustrations myself using a combination of white paper and Prisma to get a crystal clear black on white result (PNG). I’m not an illustrator. I’m just drawing some sketches and simple lines. It’s funny and I think illustrations have a good impact on your audience.
People won’t expect it
In every problem there is a beauty: we all know the mail delivery system is a bit random for simple letters (I’m excluding all tracking and advanced mechanisms).
This randomness is a gift for your recipient because we can’t be sure when the letter will arrive. Even when the letter is in their postbox, they might open it the day after, or they might throw it in the trash by mistake. This randomness of failure is something that can add a bit of fun in this experience.
I advise you to ask your recipient if they often check their postbox and just let them know you will send something. Do it only once, then they will understand.
Write me something and I will answer
I will share the best and most creative letters if the author consents. Don’t forget to add your Twitter or e-mail address to keep in touch digitally: just for me to have a confirmation I can share it on Medium.
My office address (Remix Coworking):
Damian Le Nouaille
Baixada de Santa Eulalia, 4, 2–1
I check my postbox everyday. You won’t fail by sending something with a good intention: