June 15, 2011

The Art of the Handwritten Note

Zsa Zsa and the cotillion instructor from my youth would be so proud to know that I still practice my good manners and appreciate the art of the handwritten note.  We all stay so very busy with our hustle and bustle life styles that I'm sure many of you are rolling your eyes right now as I step onto my soapbox of the importance of handwritten notes.  I know not everyone agrees, but please allow me to plead my case. 

Over the past few months, this skill has gotten more than a little practice thanks to the beyond generous gifts from my wonderful friends and family as we anxiously (very anxiously) await (still .... waiting) the arrival of Baby B.  Sure, on a few occassions I considered cutting corners and using a more modern, technology savvy means to appreciate these genrous gestures and friends; but each time I consider it I snap myself back in line remembering how thoughtful and wonderful it is to receive a hand written note.  And so... I carry on; ink stained hand and cramped fingers from the cursive writing I don't use much day to day.  I know I haven't written this many notes since my wedding almost 9 years ago, but I find this romantic writing practice such a personal way to appreciate the people in my life.  This time, I vow to be better about writing notes to appreciate people more often and as such.  And, once again, L over at Preppy Paper has saved the day with adorable monogram designed notecards that just make you want to find a reason to write!

As I thought about this post, I asked myself the question ... why do I feel like handwritten notes are so important?  The answer is simply because it's special.  A handwritten card takes time and a break from our normal social media, texting, email and go-go-go lifestyle to write.  The reader instantly knows that this is important and took some time, above and beyond, to contact them.  Plus, what's better mixed in that big stack of bills, magazines and junk flyers that we retrieve daily from the mailbox than a personalized message that brightens our day? 

The next time you have the opportunity to send someone a note to say hello, thank them for something or just because you know it will brighten their day ... do it!  Grab some adorable stationary and know that you not only will make them smile but you will feel good about the outcome as well.  Here's a few tips to  keep in mind:

  • Be Specific and focus on one concrete point.  Make sure the reader gets a genuine understanding of "why" you are writing.  Is it to say thank you?  If so, be sure to thank the recipient for the specific gift and maybe even tell them how you plan to use it.  Is it to say congrats for something?  Tell them how you are specifically proud of their accomplishment and it will go a long way!
  • Time is of the essence.  Be prompt in giving feedback or sending notes.  If the recipient receives the note closely tied to the action, it is more meaningful.
  • It doesn't have to be a Pulitzer Prize novel.  That's right ... a simple deep breath and a moment to collect your thoughts is really all that is needed to plan out a perfect handwritten note.  Don't stress about it thinking it has to be long, drawn out or elaborate.  A short and concise message can be just as impactful!
  • It is indeed the thought that counts.  Remember, the tips above and know that the recipient will appreciate knowing you cared enough to write them - and that's what it is all about!
So grab some too cute stationary and whip up a sweet note to make a friend feel special ... the handwritten way!

~charmed b