Ah, the art of the handwritten note. Ring a bell to anyone? When was the last time you wrote a letter? No, not an email. Not a text, or a Snapchat, or a Facebook message or even an e-card. When was the last time you picked up an actual pen and paper and you physically wrote a note? The last time (and the only time in a long time) that we wrote anything by hand we noticed that our handwriting looked like it belonged to a 4-year-old and we couldn’t remember how to spell “unfortunate.” It was unfortunate indeed. These days it seems like writing by hand is becoming a lost art. And while email or texting maybe be easier and faster, handwritten notes have their perks as well.
Sometimes you put more meaning behind your words when you physically write them down. Author, Nelson DeMille, once said, “I like the process of pencil and paper as opposed to a machine. I think the writing is better when it’s done in handwriting.” Perhaps he is right. Handwritten work can be more personalized and more creative, plus it requires a bit more effort, which shows people just how much you care. A handwritten note is a classic form of communication that can be meaningful and special, regardless of the newest technology. Here are 15 reasons why the art of the handwritten note needs a massive revival.
1. It shows you care
Sometimes it’s not about what you send, but how much effort you put into it that matters. Sending an email may get your point across faster, but it only takes a matter of seconds to type out a quick note. Sending a handwritten note through the mail (or delivering it by hand) takes more time, more effort and more thought. Handwritten thank you notes will show the recipient that you care and that you’re willing to go the extra mile.
2. It shows good etiquette
Ask any etiquette expert and they’ll agree that a handwritten note shows a level of maturity and manners that no digital communication could ever match. It shows that you respect traditional values and that you appreciate the recipient enough to write and deliver a handwritten, personalized note. Your mother and Emily Post would be so proud.
3. It highlights your uniqueness
Anyone can type a thank you note using Times New Roman and a few smiley face emoticons. But there is nothing personal about a digital letter. The art of the handwritten note, on the other hand, shows your personality. It shows your unique handwriting style, it exposes your flaws when you misspell a word (guilty), and it demonstrates exactly what you want to say—and not what someone else could easily write for you.
4. It shows you put in the time
Next time you write an email time exactly how long it takes you to type and send it, start to finish. Then handwrite the same letter and time the process again. No surprise, it takes longer to write something by hand. Which is exactly the point. A traditional letter, written with a pen and paper, shows that you put in the time and effort to relay your message in a caring and personalized way. And while it might be a bit more annoying to write, the labor won’t be lost on your recipient.
5. It sets you apart
If you are sending a follow-up note after an interview (always a good idea) then you want to make sure you stand out among the rest of the candidates. Depending on your field, a handwritten note may make just the kind of impression you want. If you are in a creative role (interior designer, graphic design, fashion etc.) then a handwritten card “…can be a smart branding opportunity” says Barbara Pachter, etiquette expert and author of The Essentials of Business Etiquette.
6. You will support the USPS
Snail mail is on a major decline in this age where technology trumps all other forms of communication. By writing notes by hand and sending them the old-school way, you’ll be supporting the USPS and helping to maintain jobs in a dying industry.
7. It is much more personal
People love receiving handwritten notes and cards. There’s something thrilling about getting something in the mail that is not a bill or a coupon packet. It is old-fashioned, exciting and heartwarming, and those emotions hit before you even open the envelope. According to Daniel Post Senning (the great-great grandson of etiquette author, Emily Post), people still appreciate “The art of the postage stamp, the feel of the paper, the graphic quirks of a friend’s handwriting: There is simply nothing as personal as a handwritten note.”
8. You can express yourself with beautiful paper or stationery
Remember when you were a kid and you received your first set of personalized stationery with your name or monogram? It feels very grown up and special to own any paper goods that only you can use. And that feeling doesn’t go away as you age. Even if you’re looking for something less formal than a monogram, there are tons of beautiful stationery options to choose from. It’s one more opportunity to show your unique style by not only what you write, but also what you write on.
9. It helps you practice your handwriting
You spend years of your early life learning how to write in a variety of fonts. Some of us even took calligraphy lessons. It was cool back then, we swear! But what happened to all those skills? In an age where we type more than we talk, many of us have forgotten how to actually write down anything. Our handwriting abilities have gone to crap thanks to the whole “use it or lose it” theory. If you commit to writing your notes, birthday cards and letters by hand you’ll regain your ability to write in a neat, or maybe just legible, way.
10. It makes a strong first impression
You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Why not make it a strong and memorable one by sending a handwritten note. A note written by hand shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile, that you have good values and a good work ethic. And because not everyone will think to send a handwritten note, you’ll stand out.
11. It gives you the chance to buy some of the cool new stamps in print
We’re not saying you should start collecting stamps, but if you wanted to, you’d certainly have options. And even if you’re just buying stamps for functional purposes, you can have fun picking them out. Did you know they have stamps for holidays and themes? They also have limited edition designs or you can even get personalized stamps with your own photo, monogram or message.
12. Everyone needs a good pen
Back-to-school shopping was always our favorite, and we’re not even talking about the clothes. Walking into an office supply shop and buying all of the notebooks, pens and tools we would need for the year felt like a fresh start. And all these years later (don’t ask how many, we’ll never tell) it’s still exciting to get your hands on a really great pen. Plus, a good pen can change the way you write, so make sure to test out different pen types before committing.
13. It provides the recipient with something special to keep and cherish
Yes, emails last forever, but that doesn’t mean you ever really cherish their existence. A handwritten note is something the recipient can keep, can look back on and can smile about when they think of the joy it brought them. We still have letters we received at camp and cards from our wedding day. They really do still feel special years later.
14. It’s exciting to get mail
Opening your mailbox used to be fun before it was overflowing with bills, solicitations and junk. Make the mail fun again by sending handwritten cards that will bring your loved ones excitement rather than dread.
15. It is simply a classic way to communicate
There is something special about communicating the way you used to when you were a kid or when your ancestors were younger. It’s not as fast and maybe it’s not as easy, but it’s classic and the art of writing a handwritten note is your way of paying tribute to a practice that has brought joy to so many people for such a long time. It’s simple: handwritten thank you notes always win.