The art of hand writing a letter to someone seems to have been completely eradicated and in a world that is now almost entirely digital, it is not all that surprising. Some will argue that because we are now so digital, it is a completely inefficient way of messaging someone, and perhaps they are write (pun-intended), it’s certainly slower than sending an email or text, but if anything that contributes to the effectiveness and power of the letter.
Hand writing a letter is an extremely personal way of connecting with someone, because you will pour time and effort into writing it, you take caution when writing it and think about it, because when written in pen, it is not easily altered. I think this is why they are so effective, and if you want to get in touch with someone, to express love or concern or gratitude or anything for that matter and you want them to really listen, then a hand written letter is the way to do it, because the reader understands that what they are reading has had work put into it and even if they don’t agree with the content they will respect the effort.
I believe it’s power also stems from the fact that a handwritten letter is tangible, where an email or text is digital, and in a way they feel as though they don’t really exist and that they can be deleted with ease, whereas a handwritten letter is physical, I would relate it to a vinyl record or a book. These are powerful products that will stand the test of time, despite phones that can store thousands of songs, people still opt for records and despite ebooks, people still opt for the physical copies, because they are far more personal, you understand what the writer/creator was trying to convey.
Take some of these examples for instance, Kurt Cobain’s suicide note.
As dark a topic as it may be, it says something about handwritten letters. How many suicide notes will be typed up on someone’s computer instead of being handwritten? My guess would be that not many. And that is for a reason, as aforementioned, handwritten letters are personal, private and have worth for the person who writes it and for the person who receives it. You are truly able to convey your meaning and intention into a handwritten letter, it is much harder for something to get lost in translation when it’s handwritten, compared with typing.
Another, and far more upbeat example of a handwritten letter can be taken from The Man in Black himself, Mr. Johnny Cash, who hand wrote a birthday love letter to his second wife, June Carter Cash:
This sole example is proof enough of how a handwritten letter can evoke emotion and awe in the intended recipient and a wider audience. You can see his thought process when writing it, you can see the mistakes he made, it is far more realistic than a mere digital message, this letter has character.
My final example of the power of handwritten letters comes from an 8-year-old boy in the early 1970s who wrote a letter to then President of the United States, Richard Nixon. The boy wrote to Mr. Nixon to give him some advice on fighting off his pneumonia:
As funny to read and to imagine a head of state being instructed to eat his vegetables by a child, it has to be understood that an eight-year-old boy’s letter to reach the then President of United States the handwritten letter must be considered one of the most powerful and effective means of communication available to us even if it is one of the simplest. So, get to it! Get yourself a good pen from your nearest stationary store or online such as The Pen Warehouse and go write a letter to someone…it means so much more when it’s written by hand instead of on a computer or a phone.