By Beth Lowell
Most people I know don’t write letters anymore. Technology makes communication faster but the faster we go, the less we seem to say. Whether tweet or text, it’s 2 cumbersome 2 try 2 even use words anymore and don’t get me started about the abolishment of cursive writing in the grade school curriculum.
Here’s the thing – writing by hand slows you down. Science tells us that writing by hand helps our brains by uniting both sides of it, improving memory, inspiring creativity…and it relaxes us. Who can’t use a little relaxation these days?
Writing a letter is a way to express one’s self in a way that’s different from conversing. It let’s you tell your side of the story in a thoughtful, organized way without interruption. Plus, it’s a great gift to the recipient. Who doesn’t love to find a letter tucked among the bills and junk mail?
Expressing love, gratitude or revealing a secret can all be healing experiences…but what if the person you’d most like to say something to is gone? That’s where the What I Never Told You project comes in.
My name is Beth Lowell and I am a lifelong artist and letter writer. The purpose of my project is to invite you to write a letter to someone you missed the chance of saying something to. Participants mail in their letters which are then shredded unread and assembled into a paper quilt which carries the positive intentions of the writers into the world. It’s a collaborative process that heals the letter writer and also, I think, energetically,the recipient no matter where they are on the plane of existence.
Having trouble writing a letter? Here are my ten tips to make it easier.
Here are my 10 things:
- Get a really nice pen. One that feels good in your hand and glides across the page. Pick one with the color you like best. Gel pens come in all sorts of lovely colors. I prefer black ink. Always. Find your signature color and stock up.
- Get some nice paper. Nice does not mean expensive. You can use lightweight airmail paper, kraft paper, bond paper, whatever you like. Buy or Create your own monogrammed stationery.
- Get some scrap paper.
- Set the mood. Find the time of day that feels relaxed to you. Find the chair that you love to sit in. Light a candle, make a cup of tea, open a window, whatever you find relaxing.
- Set your timer for 20 minutes. You can get a lot done in 20 minutes. Spending only 20 minutes takes the pressure off and kills the excuse that you don’t have time.
- Organize your thoughts by making a list of things you want to say or create an outline using your very nice pen on your scrap paper. Stop when the timer sounds…or if you are getting into the process, continue. If you are continuing or when you begin again, set your timer for 20 minutes.
- Compose your first draft using your notes. Yes, I said first draft. You need to be clear about your intentions and message. Unless your letter is terribly long, 20 minutes is adequate. Stop when the timer sounds…or finish your first draft. Put your letter in a drawer. Let it simmer for at least 24 hours.
- When you start your next session, be mindful of your surroundings and mood as in step 4. Review your draft. Edit to eliminate unnecessary thoughts, rearrange paragraphs to make better sense or read better.
- When you are satisfied, break out the good stuff and copy what you have written. Sign and seal.
- Mail your letter. If you are following this blog about writing a letter to someone you missed saying something to, you will send it to:
PO Box 281
Morristown, NJ 07963
and your letter will become part of a healing art project that will carry forth the good intentions of the letter writers. Want to know more? Visit www.nevertoldu.com
I promised you more:
Be straightforward. Use simple sentences. Write how you speak. It’s not that hard. Don’t write mean things.
I absolutely cannot stand to hear people say they don’t write (even a thank you note) because they are ashamed of their handwriting. Your handwriting is kind of like your fingerprint. It’s part of you. Please, get over it. Nobody cares, unless they can’t read it. In that case, type your letter. Choose a font you like, choose a color you like. Follow all the steps, but do sign it with that special pen. And mail it. Email is for when you really don’t care to send your very best.
Follow the project on Facebook. Your comments are always welcome.