In a world full of technology, handwriting still holds the most power.
Many years ago my grandmother moved from the home she had lived in for most of her life to a smaller apartment in a retirement community. A few weeks later a large box arrived at my house. Our postal carrier delivered a brown cardboard package that held every letter I had ever written to her. They spanned a forty year period. I sat with each letter, note, and photograph I had sent and marveled.
My entire life was there in that box- from the earliest scribbling to my ramblings about being a mom with two children in middle school. My own handwriting told my complete story and these pieces of paper are one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.
The arrival of that box all those years got me thinking- what happened to the handwritten word?
Have we (almost) completely erased the loopy cursive of grandma’s recipe card with an online program that stores our recipes? Have our mailboxes really evolved to only contain unwanted bills, solicitation letter, and junk mail with only a few intermittent birthday cards, birth and graduation announcements? Is it true that most of the younger generation has no idea how to write or read cursive?
I wondered if we needed a revival. So I started a little experiment last fall. I wrote a note every day for an entire month. A “thank you” to our youth pastor, a note of encouragement to a friend, a letter of gratitude to a colleague or mentor. As the days stretched on I could always brainstorm just one more person who could be blessed by an old-fashioned letter, sent snail mail. And I realized something. Taking the time to buy stationary, find a stamp, look up an address, and hand write a note blessed ME just as much as it did the recipients. I received messages and letters back. My phone rang more. I felt more connected to people I had lost touch with or had never acknowledged their importance in my life. Business colleagues showed me that they had saved their note, pinned to a bulletin board just like we save the Christmas ornament that was shaped of macaroni and spray painted gold, a relic from our children’s preschool days.
And so today I issued a challenge. Could we collectively bring back handwritten words? Could we use pen and ink and have patience and intention as in the days before texting, Tweeting, and Facebook Messenger?
I’m up for this challenge and I am inviting you to join me. Every Thursday I will be posting just one prompt. One way we can use handwritten words to bless others, and ourselves. If you are inclined to share your journey on social media, just post a photo and use #InkWELLMovement I’d love to see how your words are impacting the world. You can watch the LIVE Facebook video below for more:
This week’s prompt is simply to write one thank you note. Think outside the box. Send it to someone unexpected, who may have no idea the impact they’ve had in your life. We can use our pens for power. Then use #InkWELLMovement if you post about it online. I’d love to connect with you!
Amy Breitmann is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. She is the owner of Blue Jean Communications, specializing in strategy and storytelling for brands and businesses. Subscribe to her email list HERE.