NOTE: This article has been adapted and updated from one that originally appeared on my Facebook Group page: “The Art of the Heartspoken Note.” You’re invited to join that group for more great tips and encouragement for your note writing.
I have four unrelated—and very cool—tidbits to inspire you to write more personal notes and improve your personal note writing skills:
Receiving a personal note touches people.
My friend David Spanburg sent me the wonderful picture above showing words that shape arms giving someone a hug. It is a heartwarming and extremely creative depiction of what personal notes and letters are all about. Do you see why I consider them such powerful connection tools? With a little research, I learned this picture was designed for Australia Post in 2007. Click here for the details of those who created it.
Short notes are just fine.
My brother Bruce Herbert sent me a treasure trove of lovely thoughts, quotes, and examples about note and letter writing. He included this about brevity: “As you know, E.B. White was a master of the short communication. He might be useful to help reinforce the idea that folks do not need to write long missives. One of my favorite letters in a collection of his work ends with an apology to the recipient for the length of the letter; he said, ‘If I’d had more time, it would have been shorter. So, with that fine sentiment echoing in my ear, dear sister, I will close here!”
Embrace the right mindset about personal note writing.
Try to think of it as a privilege or opportunity instead of an obligation. It’s not about how many notes we can send as how many lives we can touch…how many hearts we can lighten…how many souls we can encourage. Start with whatever seems manageable to you and nudge yourself to stick with it. Stop fretting about what to write. Just write a note and get it in the mail. And then write another one tomorrow. Receiving a personal note or letter in the mail instead of just bills, catalogs, and advertisements is such a treat. They’ll love you for it.
Keep a log of your correspondence.
Sometimes I panic thinking I haven’t written someone I meant to. I have also been known to think so much about writing someone that I’ve convinced myself I actually did…when I didn’t. Keeping a correspondence log or record has solved both of those problems and I encourage you to do the same.
I used to use one of those little calendar/schedule books that companies often give away at Christmas, but I’m happier now with a blank hardbound notebook that I can customize with three simple columns. Here’s my favorite from Amazon. Click on the image for details (my affiliate link). There are over 20 color choices, and page design options include blank, lined (ruled), dotted, or squared.
I keep my correspondence journal with my stationery and stamps. Whenever I put a stamp on a letter, I log the date, a code for the purpose, and the recipient. Here’s a picture of my journal below. You can make up your own codes, but mine is simple: TH: Thank You; SY: Sympathy; EN: Encouragement; CG: Congratulations; GW: Get Well; TY: Thinking of You; BD: Birthday; CH: Christmas; NY: New Year’s; $: Bill payment or donation; O: Other.
You may prefer an electronic record you can keep on your phone or computer, but just make it simple and convenient so you’ll actually use it.
What most helps you with your own personal note and letter writing? What message have you received in personal mail that made a difference in your life? Please share in the comment below or join the conversation on my Facebook Page.
If you struggle with note writing or just want to add some fun and impact to it, you’ll love my book published by Koehler Books in 2022: HEARTSPOKEN: How to write notes that connect, comfort, encourage, and inspire. You’ll find these tips and many, many more. You can order it from my HEARTSPOKEN BOOKSHOP (to support my writing and independent bookstores) or from AMAZON (available in hard, soft, or Kindle formats).
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