Wednesday, January 04, 2017

The Value of "Real Mail"

So, probably about a year ago I signed up for the Letter Writer's Alliance. It's a pretty small fee, and you get a cute little membership kit and access to part of their shop that is members only. But the biggest thing I signed up for is they do pen pals.

I've done pen pal services before and they always kind of faltered, especially because a lot of them seem designed for like a one time exchange. I wanted to actually write back and forth and establish a real connection. So I signed up, and what they do is they send you one address, and they send your address to one person. So you get two pen pals right off the bat.

In addition, at some point last year I started an effort to send two postcards and one letter each week to friends and family that have said they want to get more snail mail. In part because I like snail mail, and in part because I have literally an entire wooden chest full of postcards, stationary, and stickers and some of them have been in there since I was in middle school which was a very long time ago. And I told myself I couldn't get new stationary and stickers until I used up what I had (I've only kind of stuck to that, but done okay).

It's been great. I don't get replies as often as I send things out, for sure, but I love putting together everything to send stuff out and it's a nice way to stop and do something non-screen related for a while. I put on some music (I can't do podcasts and write words) and write for a little while. I made a checklist to keep track of where I was in my rotation, so that everybody gets stuff pretty regularly. It's just on the graph paper in the back of my Passion Planner.

I buy cool stamps, but I also get stamps in big packs so I don't have to worry about it that often. There's no bulk discount for stamps, but if you get forever ones you save some money if you have some when they go up. I've also gotten a few wax seal stamps and wax, but that's another post about how that's going.

My pen pals from LWA have been great. I've really enjoyed getting to know them, and seeing what all we have in common. They're both very awesome women. A lot of LWA posts make it look like you have to do all this fancy mail art to fit in and that's definitely not the case, my pen pals do all that sometimes and not others. I will put together what I can depending on how busy I am, I figure I'd rather write a letter and send it than put it off until I can make it all impressive. The point is to write in the first place.

I've been getting more mail, which makes me happy and making connections, which also makes me happy. And I know that I'm making at least a small part of my friend's days nice when they open their mailboxes too. Just remember if you start that it's not about getting replies (you'll get some, I'm sure, especially if you do pen pals) but it's about the joy of sending the mail. If you start from that, it'll be great.

Send more letters in 2017!