Why You Should Start Writing Letters...Today - Common Sense Living Newsletter
 
Common Sense Living India

Why You Should Start Writing Letters...Today

Life
Jan 07, 2015

 

Dear Ritika,

Sometimes walking the straight path of life is too boring, too normal and often directionless. Why do what everyone expects you to do? Why not throw a curved ball or make a move that is somehow out of character?

Someday you may face a situation that you encountered many times before. You know exactly what will happen if you just do or say what you always do and say. And that's not a result that you particularly want, you can hardly lose out by adopting an alternate approach. And you could just win big.

I envision a day when you will have real power and that will bring a smile to my face, because I envisioned it first!

Good Luck and God Bless,
HT


I chanced upon this letter recently and it reminded me of the wonderful friendship I had shared with the person. He was writing to me honestly and candidly about stretching my limits, about experimenting with the unknown, about finding my true power.

It still makes me feel good, it still gives me an ego boost. In an age where people send you mass forwards on WhatsApp and email, this letter is still one of the most comforting messages I've received and one I go back to time and again.

And what's more, it doesn't get lost in cyber space. Five years later, I can still open it, unfold it, relive the bond and feel better about life once again.

When I saw this magical video sent by a Common Sense Living reader, AS, I felt more strongly about the power of letter writing.

Source: MongPro / Shutterstock

This video, in a nutshell, is a story of a teacher who encourages his students to write letters to their future selves. Currently in their teens, they write about all their hopes and dreams and how they envision their lives 20 years hence. The teacher in turn, takes the effort to send back each one of the letters to the students many years later, often going through the Yellow Pages and finding their new addresses.

But just why does he go through all this effort to archive people's letters and dreams? Because very often, writing letters to yourself or to others is almost like changing history, writing a prophecy. Letters serve as guides when you're low, they bring back old memories, they show you just how far you've come and how far you still have to go.

More than anything letters firmly seal your relationships, giving them new meaning, strength and understanding.... Relationships may fade and people may move on, but the ink never dries.

I remember when my brother was studying in the United States, even though we had internet then, my father would write him a letter every week. He realised my brother was homesick and lonely in a new country and needed constant support and encouragement from his family. His handwritten letters did more than give hope, they served as important lessons from a father to his son.

From time immemorial we've seen how effective and powerful letter writing can be. Subtle nuances of history, which were hitherto unknown, got discovered in letters from Gandhi to Nehru or from Nehru to Jinnah. They gave a greater glimpse of their personalities and also gave new insights to the challenges that they faced as leaders of nations.

Similarly, love stories have been written through letters. In earlier times, when the girl and boy were forbidden to meet before marriage in India, they often communicated through letters. They revealed a little more of themselves in each letter. Especially if they lived in different cities or countries, this was the only way they could connect to their loved ones.

Even Bollywood movies capture the sentiment in songs like Yeh Mera Prem Patra Padhkar from the film Sangam or Chitthi Aayi Hai from the film Naam.

The joy of receiving letters is unparalleled. As kids, we'd get excited every time we saw an envelope pushed under the door. We'd rush to see who it was for and we'd get a tad disappointed if it wasn't addressed to us. And like we were always told, "It's bad manners to open other people's mails." So we'd simply hand over the letter and wait with bated breath till someone shared bits of the letter with us.

But it's not just the receiving of letters that is joyful, the writing is, too. Writing letters is like a ritual by itself. You take time out from your busy life. You choose good stationery. Sometimes you personalize the stationery. You fold the paper, put it in an envelope, find stamps and send it off with a prayer!

Most importantly, you decide the words that are going to go in there. You decide how much you're going to share and how much you're going to hold back. You choose your words carefully, because you realise a letter has no 'undo' option. It has eternal value, it will live on long after you.

You try to write legibly and clearly, but you almost always decide to write from your heart. That's what makes letters so personal and meaningful. They come straight from you to the recipient. They have no pretense, they haven't been drafted by someone else. They are who you are.

The digital world takes away personalization. Our emails are deleted before they are even read all the way through. But in the case of a letter, very rarely will you find anyone who throws it away before its read to the end. In fact, letters become keepsakes, they are memorabilia from our lives.

As Hannah Brencher, founder of More Love Letters, writes in an article: "We must keep writing to each other, showing up for one another - acknowledging each other in small, focused, affirmative ways - no matter what other technologies we have at our disposal."

In today's times, letter writing has become an even more important tradition to hold on to. It is our true inheritance. All we need to do is take the effort and make the time. Be rest assured you'll leave a lasting impression in the mind of the reader. You never know you may even alter a life, show someone a dream!

So when you finish reading this eletter today, pick up your favourite pen and paper, choose a person you wish to write to and get started. Your letters may just create a new history altogether!

Some Letter Writing Tips

Write on...
Source: MongPro / Shutterstock
  1. Choose a quiet place to think and write from.
  2. Choose a letter paper that reflects your personal style.
  3. Choose a pen that has dark ink and stands the test of time.
  4. Preferably write at your desk, your handwriting will be neater.
  5. Draft your letter in a notebook before you write the final version.
  6. Personalize the letter with anecdotes from your own life.
  7. Show the person you care, make it about him/her.
  8. Use language that is appropriate to the relationship.
  9. Think twice before you write anything.
  10. Seal the letter well, traditionally they used wax seals, you can use Fevikwik☺

 
 

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8 Responses to "Why You Should Start Writing Letters...Today"

Sunder

09 Jul, 2015

Nice. I agree and happy to read this article. Still there are people in this technology addict world who believe in writing letter in hand. The value,love and closeness remains and can be seen when one writes and one who receives letter. That bond is overlasting and that is proved and believed. I am seriously interested to write letter in own hand for any professional purpose. Nowadays people lost affection because we cut and paste in all the situations.

ASI KANNAN

06 Feb, 2015

It is not just writing with pen on the paper. It is writing with heart from a person to the heart of the receiver/addressee

Shankar

08 Jan, 2015

Nice one. I truly consider this article more timely in today's world wherein youngsters have got addicted themselves to whats app and selfie portraits. Writing with own hand even a few lines gives the satisfaction to the writer in penning down his feelings and thoughts which is definitely not the case with sending text messages or emails.

Like (1)

YOGENDRA PAL SINGH

08 Jan, 2015

Good article to encourage the present generation to use letter writing to ,start ,enrich, maintain.. relationship. They are doing it through internet. Hand written letters leave deeper impressions.

venkat

07 Jan, 2015

It's good meaningful message. Lives became mechanical with e mails,wattsup etc. Great to start writing letters to share feelings, love & warmth. Venkat

Girish

07 Jan, 2015

Excellent post Ritika. I think, world record for writing letters will goes to HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj, president of BAPS.org He has read and replied to over 700,000 letters. www.baps.org/...go to Pramukh Swami and his work tab.

shivnair

07 Jan, 2015

Ritika thank you for taking me to memory lane.Ya now email and better telephone network reduced the letter communication virtually non existing. Going through your lines bring back the joy of waiting for letters and replying them during my college days and early days of marriage. feel like start writing again! shiv

anil

07 Jan, 2015

Good post Ritika, It is an excellent topic for discussion. You have touched the matter very well, inspiring me to start writing letters on paper. Very true, nowadays people are busy for nothing. We have lost the patience of doing certain acts like reading books and writing (letters), which can give us immeasurable pleasure when indulged in. No technology ( Kindle, computers, or tablets or smartphones) can substitute the pleasure of writing on paper and reading from a physical book. I have realized that and have reverted to the good old habits. Its about time we all find time to appreciate life and enjoy these simple pleasures.

Like (1)
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