We’ve grown used to typing our messages on all sorts of keyboards. It’s convenient, efficient, and free. What more could we possibly want in the digital age? Whatever we have to say to someone, we can compose and send to the remotest corners of the world in a matter of seconds. And it feels like the scope of new possibilities for swift communication is growing by the hour.
Meanwhile, our once favorite pens are collecting dust in the depths of our desk drawers, and unused envelopes have gone yellow and crinkly. When was the last time you posted a holiday card to someone? Can you recall any thank you notes you wrote by hand?
Electronic mail is very customizable — we can sprinkle emojis all over it, attach wise quotes or photos to it, and recenter our words in a beautifully designed template. With the best of intentions behind our best wishes, our loved ones will be sure to feel our warm embrace from afar.
Still, the potential of a blank page feels bigger. An empty occasion card, a letter yet to be written, or even a post-it note waiting for a scribbled I love you offer the kind of depth that can only be woven into the fabric of a physical note. We can read it, touch it, smell it, preserve it as a physical memory. Can a digital message top that? Can it be personalized to such a degree?
The most genuine and tangible results of our creativity will always live thanks to the materials we hold in our hands. When a sculptress brings a statue to life with her chisel, every mistake manifests realness, every dent speaks of how she perceived the world in that given moment. An artist immortalizes more than what she sees and feels — she preserves a moment in time that will never happen again.
Similarly, we can never handwrite the same message twice. Every crease and every accidental fold of paper serves as the most unique canvas for our words. The ink filling our inscriptions will never behave exactly the same way in a single letter written twice. The way we hold our pen may change, even if ever so slightly, from one word to the next. Each and every squiggly line is one of a kind and our longhand note may never really be replicated.
This unwritten poetry that resides between the lines of our messages enhances our gift of words. If we want to make someone feel special, is there a better way than to offer them something only they will ever have? A Valentine’s Day note, a birthday card, or a letter of apology will always translate your feelings more effectively with the added effort of something made to order.
On that note, at Intelligent Change, we have exactly what you might need to express your appreciation for someone with pen and paper. Ok, the pen you’ll have to obtain yourself, but our set of handmade letterpress occasion cards is precisely what will allow your message to be heard. Use the luxurious minimalist design of the cards to personalize them however you please, the space is yours.
Are you unsure of what to write inside? While we cannot put the words down for you, we might have a few tips. Start by taking a walk to clear your head. A bit of fresh air and movement will activate your brain and the right sentences may come to you of their own volition.
Think about the occasion, the person to whom you are addressing your note, and the gist of what you want to say. Imagine how the person on the receiving end might feel about your words. Capable both of inflicting pain and healing a wound, a word is a powerful tool that should not be taken lightly. Choose your sentences carefully and sleep on them a bit longer if need be.
Writing by hand is also a wonderful mindfulness exercise. Avid journalers know how much therapy you can get from a single entry in a notebook. Imagine what wonderful lines you might be able to come up with when you focus solely on the physical task of decorating a card with letters. No notifications, no ads, no noise — only you, who you are, and what you need to say.
Also, think how nice it would be to make your message visually beautiful. Maybe you could research calligraphy courses to take your writing game to another level? Anyone on the receiving end of your words would most certainly appreciate this kind of dedication. However, please don’t worry if you end up with chicken scratches, your penmanship is still secondary to your message, it’s the effort that counts.
Above all, be sincere. There is absolutely no room for manipulation or hidden agendas in a heartfelt message that is supposed to show a person that you care about them. And if you want to go the extra mile, add something fun or special — a doodle, a poem (for added personalization, have a go at composing it yourself), or an inside joke you share with the receiver of your message.
You can even give the entire process a test run and mail the card to yourself first. It will allow you to step away from it for some time and see it with a fresh pair of eyes when it arrives in your letterbox. But you might also want to write a full-length letter to yourself for the simple pleasure of receiving one in the mail. Yes, even when it’s to you, from you, with love. Now, can you imagine the same joy in the addressee you have in mind? Worth it, isn’t it?
With the undeniable efficiency of typing and digitization, the uniqueness of handwriting remains intact. The clickety-clicking keyboards and screen pop-ups will never match the sincerity of good old ink and a piece of paper that we handpicked especially for the receiver of our message.
It seems we’ve come full circle from hieroglyphs to emojis. Yet, we can always snap a picture of a note to digitize it, but never the other way round. While we all have different mannerisms in typing, and each of us operates within a different content style, it’s only when we write by hand that we’re able to display the fullness of our character and the depth of our message. Details matter and a little goes a long way.
A handwritten message is a handmade gift — the most thoughtful gesture there is, reserved for those we care about deeply.
If it was possible, we would send our cards to all of you. But the question is, who will be receiving a handwritten gift from you?