03 Jan I’m going to be writing letters in 2017
My friends will say that I am in constant pursuit of the new. New gadgets, hobbies, experiences, waist lines etc.
However, there are a few things that have remained a constant for me:
- My family
- My love of books
- My preference for writing with a pen or pencil rather than typing
I can’t comprehend life without my wonderful wife and son, so I’m confident that this constant will remain unchanged, albeit with perhaps some welcome additions.
However, my love of books is under attack from the very people I care most about in the world. While I love negotiating the hardback obstacle course that has become the family home, Mrs Brown is less keen on living in something decorated by Bernard Black.
So, I have been bought a Kindle for my birthday. It’s arriving today. I’m both excited and nervous of this suspicious and slightly sinister thing, I’ll need to visit the local bookshop to calm my nerves.
My final constant, writing with a pen and pencil is about to be elevated to a new level.
I’m about to write my first letter.
Not the kind of letter complaining about a hotel stay or trying to get out of a parking fine.
A personal letter.
Why am I doing this?
As a communications professional, I find the difference in response you get depending on the channel you’re using to communicate fascinating. A Facebook post compared to a Tweet. A breakfast meeting with a journalist compared to a press release.
A letter compared to a call or an email.
This will be my experiment for the year.
I want to see the response I get from those that receive my letters. Whether it strengthens our relationship, or gives us something more to chat about. Will I draw closer to family I don’t get to see all too often? Will they take it upon themselves to write back?
There is something tangible, subtle yet meaningful about writing and receiving a personal letter. It’s a practice that has long since been replaced by the LOLS and OMGS of the text and email world, but that’s what gives personal letters such significance today.
They’re thoughtful. You need to put effort into composing a letter, buying a stamp for it and sending it on its way.
There’s something odd about a world where it’s accepted practice to post a tearful yellow face to communicate one’s sorrow at, say, a terrorist attack that kills scores of innocent people.
Perhaps I’ll be knocked back. I can already envisage being sent a ‘WTF’ WhatsApp Gif in response to my first attempt. Either way, it will be an interesting experiment in a form of communications that, sadly, I’ve never deployed in my career or personal life.