The (*Lost) Art of Letter Writing

The (*Lost) Art of Letter Writing

Does your company have a book club?

Write a letter.

Heard a good story lately? Write it down. Done something amazing? Write it down. Worried about something? Write it down. You get it, right? Spend a little more time today thinking…and ink it in your Momentum Journal.

Just about everything I do begins as an idea in a notebook. Or on a white board. And, every now and then, on a restaurant napkin (hopefully, a paper napkin!). This gives me the chance to write a “rough, rough draft,” knowing that if I really do ultimately write that letter that I’m thinking it’ll have gone through a few revisions.

Whether I’m working on next book (click here) or writing a Keynote speech (here) or dreaming up another Micro Momentum Activity for our readers (over HERE), I like to start things in the safety and security of my own journal. I can write without publishing, I can draft without finalizing. It’s important…

Just Do It. (Thanks, Nike.)

Today, tomorrow, this weekend… sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and write a letter. Want some help? Here’s your three step plan:

  • Find a pen or pencil.
  • Open a notebook to a fresh page (or, grab a piece of paper from your printer!).
  • Read the three prompts at the end of this post.
  • Click HERE to start the timer…

Write a letter…

Me, I write at least one a day.

Yup. Every day…more than 7 a week, most weeks!

The letters I write have an opinion. I like to acknowledge the people I write to. And, it’s really easy to find people to send these letters. When I look out at my world and see an action, a movement or an event and have the thought, “Wow, I’m grateful,” that’s my indicator to take out my journal and write.

Many times, I keep the original letter I send. It’s easier than you think…all I do is take a picture with my Smart Phone, and add that jpg as a note in my digital filing system. I label the photo with the name of the person I’m writing, that’s it. All the meta data (when I wrote it, where I wrote it) is saved in the file itself.

As you can see from the picture below, I’ve been doing this for a long, long time!

From the White House

Over time, I’ve experimented with different formats for my letter writing exercises. For a while now, the letters I write follow a loose format which includes responding to the following prompts:

  1. I call out in 4-7 sentences exactly what I saw (or learned) that person did.
  2. Next, I describe how “what they did” makes me feel.
  3. And, I include what I’ve learned from their action.

Now, that’s all a loose suggestion, and I’ve only been practicing writing letters like that for a few years. I can imagine in a decade or so I’ll have changed it up again, but that’s not the point. The most important thing is that you ask yourself THIS question:

“Are there people in my world I could write a letter to?”

If the answer is anywhere near YES, open your Momentum Journal and write that person’s name on the top of the page. Over the next couple of days, add a few lines, ideas or paragraphs as you begin to respond to the three prompts above.

Want some help? I write and talk a lot about “Journaling” in my books. Click here.