April is National Card & Letter Writing Month
WEEK 1: Let's Celebrate!
If you’ve been on my note and letter support list for a while, you’ve already gotten this email and I apologize for the duplication. I’ll have that squared away next week. Substack has lots of features that I think you’ll enjoy and, of course, you can still unsubscribe any time.
Here at Heartspoken, we’re celebrating National Card and Letter Writing Month in April with a quick weekly email every Monday this month to inspire and encourage you to up your game by writing a few more notes and letters than you usually do. I hope to inspire you to think beyond the expected types of notes and letters to touch more of the people who interact with you daily or who have played an important role in your life.
And of course, we’ve got goodies for you each week. Please share this email with a friend and suggest they get on this email list—it’s always fun to do these kinds of things with someone else.
Here’s the plan
Each week in April you’ll get a short message from me, some new writing prompts, a downloadable gift, and a link to a favorite writing tool or desk accessory.
A very brief history of note and letter writing
While the first recorded handwritten letter was written by the Persian Queen Atossa in about 500 B.C., low literacy and the cost of writing supplies limited letter writing to royalty and clergy. Not until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century did paper become more accessible and affordable. Ironically, envelopes are over 5,000 years old, created by the ancient Babylonians to hold important documents and papers that needed to be conveyed.
The United States Postal Service was formed in 1775 during the Second Continental Congress. In the early 1900s, the Postal Service was the primary means of long-distance communication, and personal letters were a common form of communication. In recent years, the volume of mail handled by the Postal Service has declined significantly due to the increasing use of electronic communication.
This week's writing prompts
Prompt #1: Never underestimate the power of a personal, handwritten note or letter. A note crafted with thoughtfulness and compassion can have wide impact. The most poignant note I ever received was to thank me for a note I had written to someone else!
Write to someone who has lost an older family member whom you knew. Perhaps you can tell them something about that person they wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Prompt #2: Never worry about what to say in a personal handwritten note. The words are already in your heart. When you tap your own heart for the right words, your notes and letters are transformed! Grasp this beautiful process, and your writing will become alive, meaningful, and impactful in ways you could never have thought possible.
Write to someone who helped you when you were younger. If they are no longer living, try to find their spouse or children and write to them to tell them how much their loved one helped you.
Prompt #3: I believe that notes—especially handwritten notes—are a beautiful and overlooked connection tool—often the best choice when we want our connection to be rich, intimate, and meaningful. Personal notes are so much more than just good manners. They are connection tools for building and nurturing relationships.
Write to a childhood friend and share your memories of time spent together – at the beach, at the lake, in the neighborhood. Recall, if you can, a specific experience you had together.
Prompt #4: The downward trend in household first-class mail continues. No wonder those personal notes and letters are so special…it’s because they’re so rare! Your personal note or letter will stand out when the recipient sees it in their mailbox or on their desk.
Write to someone and describe the view outside your window.
This week’s gifts from Heartspoken:
•CLICK HERE to download “7 Tips to Add Impact to Your Personal Note Writing.”
• CLICK HERE to download “Who Should I Write To?” It’s a list to get you thinking about all the possible people to whom you might write.
This week’s writing tool recommendation: Pentel's Energel Liquid Gel Pen
I love writing with a fountain pen, but it can bleed or smear on certain kinds of papers or cardstock. My go-to “next best” is Pentel’s Energel Liquid Gel Pen. It writes smoothly, and it looks almost like fountain-pen writing, but it is much less likely to bleed through.It comes in standard black and blue, but also in a wonderful assortment of colors. The links below are for the .7mm tip that I prefer, but you can find these pens in even finer tips (“needle tip”) and a wide range of colors and pack sizes:
• Assorted color 4-pack – great starter pack (one each black, blue, red, and purple): https://amzn.to/3Koit6U
• 5-Pack black ink with three refills: https://amzn.to/3Koit6U
• 5-pack blue ink with three refills: https://amzn.to/42VQZwC
• Assorted color 10-pack: https://amzn.to/3ZCqBoF
Of course, the writing tool that should be on everyone’s desk is my book HEARTSPOKEN: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire. CLICK HERE to find out where you can buy it, read testimonials, and peruse the first 28 pages.
“Heartspoken is a work of art—and a work of heart. Her words are packed with wisdom and inspiration. It is so practical and I especially admire how she put the reader at ease with her encouragement to write naturally. Her NOTES formula is brilliant!”
~ Peggy Post, Director Emeritus, The Emily Post Institute