Don't forget to write

I love mail and everything associated with it: paper, pens, envelopes, cards, stamps, post marks, mailboxes, mail trucks and post offices. I advise all my coaching clients to send real mail whenever they can in the form of thank-you notes, postcard announcements and holiday cards. But few of them follow my advice.

I know it's a lot of work but real mail has a much better chance of being opened than email. And a much better chance of creating warm feelings in your recipient. If you're not sure where to start, let me show you my steps to using and loving mail.

Now is the perfect time of year to get going on the cards you'll send at the end of the year to wish everyone a happy season or new year. Here's my list of what to do:

  1. Make your mailing list. I look at my calendar and breeze through starting last January and write down everyone I worked with or met with this year who I want to connect with. When I was starting out as a coach, this used to be everyone I worked with. Now that list is too long. So, I pick and choose.
  2. Find the right card. If you’re a visual artist, create one with your art on it. If you’re a writer, design stationary with your name and a quote from you own work or buy some letterpress cards. (I use to print my cards, feel free to use my referral link for a discount.)
  3. Buy beautiful stamps. Visit your local post office or for some beauties. Marvel at the fact that for 49 cents, your piece of paper will be hand-delivered as far away as Hawaii.
  4. Address the envelopes by hand with a pen that creates lines that are both beautiful and legible. (Be a sleuth to find snail mail addresses. As a last resort, email your recipient and ask for an address.)
  5. Write a note that tells the recipient what you appreciate about them and that you’re wishing them well. This isn't a time to sell or market. So, drop your anxiety about what to say about yourself. This card is about them. It’s a gift, a form of love.
  6. Mail the cards. I send mine after Christmas when the whirl has died down. I always need a cheer-up after the rat race of the holidays.
  7. Let go of any expectation that you'll receive anything more in return than the feeling of satisfaction that you sent a handmade message into the world. Your recipient will enjoy your message in a private moment and probably won’t write back. But every once in a while, you receive an answer. If you write to me, I'll do my best to write you back: 1020 SW Taylor, Suite 860, Portland, OR 97205.

Now is the time of year to renew your love of real mail and harness its power to grow the relationships with people you care about.

The Letter, by Pierre Bonnard, 1906, Public Domain.