I’ve been sending a lot more handwritten letters and handwritten notes these days. Here are a few reasons you may want to bust out your favorite pen and stationery set, and create a handwritten card or note for someone you care about!
Handwritten Letters are the Best: Here’s Why
In today’s fast-paced world of innovation and progress, we often think that faster = better.
But if that’s true, 100% of the time, then why do people LOVE to receive snail mail so much?
If we’re being honest, I think a lot of us are a bit burnt out from all the speed and efficiency of the modern, digital era.
Sometimes slow is nice, and nothing says slow better than the thrill of finding a handwritten envelope stuffed with a thoughtful letter in your mail box, and examining the outside for clues to figure out who it’s from and where it originated.
1. Sending Handwritten Letters is Unexpected
Most people email, tweet, text, and Snapchat their way through life without a second thought.
But what if the best way to stand out and leave lasting, positive impressions in this digital age is to take advantage of the methods other people have written off (no pun intended)?
Snail mail shows you put in a bit more effort.
A personalized letter to your sister makes her feel extra-special, or you might let someone know just how much you appreciated that job interview.
Either way, handwritten mail leaves a lasting impression.
2. A Handwritten Letter Makes for a More Personal Experience
Typing is fast, efficient, and tidy. It is the default mode for most of the work we do.
Sometimes we need time away from efficiency and convenience to become immersed in an experience; think quality vs. quality.
With letter writing, I can switch off the digital distractions for a few minutes to think about details like choosing from my own stationery collection to find a nice, quality paper to use, how to format the letter, what message I want to write, and maybe a doodle or two.
I can also consider the artistry of handwriting and lettering. It’s a very tactile experience, and it’s hard to beat the penmanship and personality of a human hand and real ink vs a typed out computer font or text message.
In my opinion, personal notes that are handwritten are much more satisfying than messages sent from the digital world.
Let’s be honest, I often won’t fully read a canned email I receive – why should I expect others to do any different?
3. Sending Handwritten Letters Requires You to Think Before You Write
I’ll be the first to admit that I change my mind a lot. Like, A LOT. I delete almost every sentence I write before I am truly satisfied with it, and why shouldn’t I? I have a delete button right here that swipes away text faster than I can type it.
Not so for handwritten letters.
I actually have to take the time to be mindful of the message I want to send the recipient.
Each word I put down on paper is carefully chosen, especially with no grammar or spell check around to save me.
This process can exercise corners of your brain rarely used when typing with Spellcheck, and the benefits can carry over to the rest of your writing.
4. Handwritten May be Better for your Brain
Some experts believe that writing by hand fosters creativity, leads to better writing, and is better for information retention.
If that’s not reason enough, writing by hand is also believed to keep your cognitive functions sharp as you age. Many famous even novelists insist on writing their first draft by hand.
(Bestseller list, here we come!)
Finally, there’s the physical effort involved in sending a handwritten letter. You have to actually stand up and walk to the mailbox or post office, which gets you away from your desk and helps you get your steps and standing time in for the day.
An email definitely can’t do that!
5. Handwritten Notes are more Personalized
Unlike an email, how you personalize your handwritten mail is limited only by your imagination, and the letter itself can feel like a gift to receive.
I like to use a simple stationery so I can add my own embellishments and make something truly unique.
Aim for a high-quality card stock or paper like Crane & Co. stationery sets. They have simple borders and embellishments, so they don’t interfere with doodles and hand lettering, which I like to add myself. I also prefer a bold ink; Faber Castell is one I use daily for my bullet journal, and they do beautifully on letters as well. The bold ink makes a nice contract against the page.
I don’t always have time to do my own artwork, so I keep some printed stationeries and notecards on hand. Studio Oh! makes adorable printed notecards that always look so friendly to me. The Winrase stationery caught my eye because it comes with brown and black paper, which vaguely reminds me of a farmer’s market: chalkboard signs and paper bags. I love the idea of putting together a chalkboard letter with bright white ink, and brown envelopes.
Companies like Goulet Pens, and Jet Pens, also stock thousands of items that will put your letters at the top of the stack. You can choose stationery, envelopes and liners, ink colors, stickers, doodle with your favorite colored ink, and use special seals to give your letters an extra personal touch. Pinterest is full of ideas for creating envelopes with unique materials and embellishments.
And don’t forget postage – I love the act of choosing a cute stamp! One of the reasons handwritten letters are the best is the act of examining the envelop and cool stamp that brings it to you! Real stamps have a touch of romance of the old world, before everything became digital and we could travel across the world in 24 hours.
Finally, your own signature at the bottom of a handwritten letter has much more flourish and personality than a typed out name at the bottom of an email.
Final Thoughts: Why Are Handwritten Letters Special?
Exactly why are handwritten letters better?
While we may not be able to put our fingers on the reason, exactly, I think a lot of us know it to be true.
The excitement of receiving something hand-addressed to us, that isn’t a bit or some marketing direct mail.
The appreciation we feel to the sender, knowing how much time and care they took in writing this gift of correspondence for us.
The novelty of it all, especially for young people who grew up in a digital world.
No matter what you write or who receives your letters, handwritten letters still hold relevance in the modern world.
A real handwritten letter is sure to strengthen your personal relationships and give you creative satisfaction. They even give you a reason to practice your calligraphy or handwriting, if that’s your jam.
I want to hear from you! How do you use handwriting in your everyday life? What are your best experiences with sending handwritten letters?