Write It Out: Notes

I’m not talking about reminders for yourself of what you need to get done. I’m talking notes to other people. And I’m talking handwriting them.

It has become increasingly possible to write people notes via digital means. This isn’t entirely bad; it has made it possible for me to stay in touch with people all over the world I have met on various trips. I would be a hypocrite to say that’s a bad thing. Still, there’s something rather impersonal about it.

For our wedding and our baby, we have done registries on Amazon. Living across the country from our families means there’s not a whole lot of crossover between stores, and even if there was, Amazon makes it easy for people to be able to send things directly to us. Amazon gives you the option of sending a thank you note directly from the website. It would definitely make things easier. Then I wouldn’t have to keep track of addresses and lists of who gave what, etc. I just can’t bring myself to do it, though.

My husband is a techy guy. He loves computers and technology, and yet, he and I agree entirely that there’s nothing quite like getting a handwritten notes. Is it easier to keep digital notes without clutter, absolutely. Is it easier to find the notes that were most encouraging or otherwise meaningful if they are all on the computer, yep. But you know which notes we are most likely to keep? The handwritten ones.

What is it about handwritten notes that makes them more personal?

For one thing, while each person’s writing style is unique, each person’s handwriting is particularly unique. We may not be able to point out exactly what it is about a loved one’s handwriting that is special to them, but we know their writing. As soon as we see it, we realize who it’s from and there is a warmth of feeling in connecting to them through that. This may not seem all that big of a deal until we come across a handwritten note from someone who has died. The powerful connection of seeing their writing again can bring a flood of tears at missing them, but it also usually brings happy memories as well.

Also, handwritten notes take longer to compose and write. You only have so much space on a card so you have to carefully think through what to write. You can’t write as quickly as you can type so your brain has to slow down and let you work. Your words carry more meaning simply because you had to make them personal.

And let’s face it, we tend, even as adults, to get super excited about getting something in the mail or a little gift left for us. As adults, most of the mail we get is bills or junk. Getting something that is addressed to us in a hand we love is still as special as it was when we were kids. There have been a few times I have gotten something in the mail that I was excited about only to open it and find a typed letter. It’s just not the same.

Now to be fair, there are times where it is necessary for someone to type rather than write. Perhaps their hands shake uncontrollably and writing really just isn’t possible. They’ve recently gotten hurt so even typing is hard as they pick out one key at a time. They’re short on time but really have something important to share. Whatever the reason, there are times where it is a necessity. I’m not ragging on that. I get it. I’ve had to do it before too. I just want to point out that relying exclusively on digital media doesn’t bring the same personal touches that sitting down with pen and paper does.

Send someone a note. You never know just how special it will be to them. They may keep that note for a very long time because of how special it was to them. Just like a smile, a note can have far deeper impact than you will ever know.