Why We Should Write Letters Again (Please)

letters

Over the weekend, I put together an article for the Thriveworks Blog under that same title (I added the “please” just for you guys) and stressed the importance of maintaining a culture of meaningful letter-writing.

The reason I write with such haste is simple: Digital communication, with all of its bells and whistles, has a major flaw. Yes, we can send thousands of texts to numerous people and have inboxes with thousands of emails, but in 100 years, what record of your existence will remain?

Let’s say your email does last 100 years and some kind of apocalypse doesn’t happen (or this technology doesn’t become completely obsolete). Who is actually going to sift through thousands of emails and, let’s face it, junk mail you’ve been using to correspond with people for years? We don’t even like organizing our inboxes.

That is why I cheer for letter-writing. Think about it: Where does a lot of our knowledge about human history come from? Sure, we have official records, but what do we use to gain an insightful analysis of the world at hand?

We typically use journals and letters. Now, I’ve encouraged journal-writing enough for one lifetime, and it is valuable in its own right. But handwritten letters are unique in that they don’t just convey introspection. They shed light on the messages we felt the need to impart on people we care about. I have a feeling that letters like that are more valuable than a four-part text we sent to our ex in 2010.

I’m not trying to disparage on anyone who does have meaningful interactions with emails and text messages. Messages are messages, and how you communicate isn’t always relevant. Still, I take more comfort in knowing that my handwritten letters (and journals) will have more of an emotional impact on the people who read them long after I’m gone.

Don’t take your words for granted. I know a lot of people who are reading this are great writers who take pride in their love for the written word. That is why we should be the ones who are trying are darndest to write online and offline. Our kids, grandkids, and future alien overlords will likely thank us for it.

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12 Replies to “Why We Should Write Letters Again (Please)”

  1. I used to have a pen-pal in high school and college (did I just give away my age?) and still have all the letters I’d received. I’ve thought about throwing them out on multiple occasions, but it feels wrong, somehow. I think you’ve just given me the reason why.

    Will people think I’m weird if I made a call for pen-pals on my blog or facebook page? Probably, but the idea is intriguing.

    • I used to have pen pals in high school and college as well, and I’m still in college! I always keep all my letters and I can’t imagine a world without pen pals…its a sad thought. But I also send letters to my girl friends as well.

      I totally think you should do a shout out on your blog for pen pals!

      • I’m really liking the idea. And hopefully it would serve to improve my penmanship as well – my handwriting’s terrible, and getting worse from disuse.

    • I used to have pen pals in high school and college as well, and I’m still in college! I always keep all my letters and I can’t imagine a world without pen pals…its a sad thought. But I also send letters to my girl friends as well.

      I totally think you should do a shout out on your blog for pen pals!

  2. I have been pen palling for the past 8 years and it’s a favorite hobby of mine. I may send texts and emails, but that’s more out of necessity than preference.

  3. When I was in junior high and high school, we passed notes to one another. No such thing as texting, because there were no cell phones. I finally threw away a bag full of those notes a few years ago. I now wish I hadn’t, because one of my oldest best friends just told me the other day that she still has all of hers. I feel like I threw her out, not just the paper.

  4. You have just reminded me of how much I used to love writing letters and also a post card that I found the other day! When my best friend went to Birmingham University it was at first sad. But then we started writing and I used to love getting her letters, it was really great getting a new one through the post. We would send each other letters and tell of all our exploits and also draw little cartoon pictures of what was going on. We used to send each other post cards as we thought this was hilarious, as she was only in Birmingham, (I was studying in Brighton at the time). I still have some letters somewhere, probably at my Mum’s, in my memory box. I found one of the Birmingham post cards the other day, (I didn’t realise we still sent them after university and I had moved from Brighton), it was stuck inside my box of old vinyl records. But what matters is how I laughed when I read it, it has a line from our still favourite ZZtop song in it!! We have remained best friends all our lives, and finding that post card was just eye cryingly funny, (as we both still love ZZtop)! We both moved back home after we had children and so still enjoy lots of hilarious chats and rock music! So I totally agree some written things are best saved and kept, and maybe we should write more in the future, (on paper), I have found I love finding paper memories,

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