Get Your Creative Juices Flowing: Writing

Hello, Readers!  Well, today’s topic is one that is near and dear to my heart: writing.  For me, writing is an everyday activity.  I studied it in school, I have a Bachelor’s degree for it, and I went to grad school for it as well.  Writing is almost a career for me, although it doesn’t pay to write at the moment.  But it’s a passion of mine.

Yet I know I may be in the minority on this one.  Not everyone likes to write, and it’s understandable.  Writing is becoming a thing of the past.  Now we text, we post, we tweet.  But when was the last time you wrote a letter for a friend?  When did you last sit down and write something, or even typed something?

Now, I understand I write daily for this blog.  But other than that, I last sat down and wrote a letter to my brother-in-law last week.  My brother-in-law is away from home for a few months, and he is very attached to our son.  So, while he’s away, I have taken time to write to him to include him in our happenings and our son’s growth so that he has a piece of home with him.  It takes me a few minutes, but it helps me as much as it helps him.

By making myself sit down to write a letter explaining what’s happening in our home, I am forced to remember the good points of our life here.  I can’t write the negative; that isn’t the point behind writing the letter.  So I have to focus on what’s good and tell others about it.  And it reminds me of why I’ve made the choices I have in my life.  It reminds me of why I’m married and why I’m a mom.  And it actually helps me feel better about my life.

Now, I know a lot of you are thinking that there really is no time to write a letter.  Between taking care of kids and managing your home-much less focusing on your career, regardless of being a SAHM or a Working Mom-there never seems to be time to focus on your writing skills.  But it takes about a half hour to write a note to a friend inside a card, including addressing the card and stamping it up for the mail.  That’s it.  A letter like the ones I write to my brother-in-law take about an hour maximum, which I can squeeze in while Sean takes his naps.  But the affect is immeasurable.

My brother-in-law has already commented that the letters sent to him have increase his mood dramatically and has helped him while he’s away from home for one of the first times ever.  And it has helped my mother-in-law, who has been missing her youngest son while he’s been away, because she feels much more at ease knowing that our letters bring him comfort.  And finally, it has helped me because it’s been a huge relief to feel like I’m doing something good for someone as well as using my degree for something other than writing out our grocery list every week.

So, what is needed to write?  Obviously you need someone to which to write.  I recommend a distant friend or family member to which you are close.  I have an aunt in Georgia that I can also write to  that, while I’ve never met her due to the distance between us, I have kept in touch with because of our similar tastes.  And I also have a friend who moved to Virginia a few years ago that I could also write to because of our shared interests in writing and books.  But, my favorite pen pal would be my mom, who loves to receive hand-written letters in the mail.  So, to begin, come up with a list of friends and family that would be easy to write to.

Next, decide how much time to allot for writing to your recipient.  Be it a half hour to an hour a week, or biweekly, or monthly, the choice is yours.  I would recommend a half hour biweekly for your letters.  It’ll give you time to find material while not being so rigid as to require a lot of free time.  That way you don’t run into the issue of not finding any spare time to write.

Finally, decide your method.  Card?  Letter?  The choice is yours.  If you are just getting started, I recommend buying a simple blank card at the store, which is typically a dollar, and writing in that.  As you continue to write, you may find yourself buying specific stationary for your writing.  When I was in college, I often wrote letters to friends and family.  And I bought a large box of nice stationary paper at a print shop.  I still have about half of the box, so I use that to write my letters.  It’s thick and elegant, and it helps my recipients feel special for receiving a letter from me.

And the rest is up to you.  Whatever you want to write, it a certain ink, use stickers to seal the letters.  Decorate the paper.  It’s a free for all.  But, if you need some ideas, try some of these:

  1. What’s happening with your kids and family?  Any extracurricular activities for the kids?  Any special interests lately?
  2. Are you working on a project that your recipient would be interested in?  A craft?  A DIY?  A house remodel?  A gardening project?
  3. “Today I feel like…” and explain your feelings for the day.  Are you happy or content?  Why?  Are you sad? Why?
  4. Your latest family outing or family night event.  What happened?  Did you see something or learn something you didn’t know before?
  5. Upcoming events.  Are you planning something special in the future?  How are your plans coming along?
  6. Reading.  Have you just finished reading a book that you loved?  What did you love about it?  How did you feel after reading the book?

And these are just a few examples of topics to get you started.  So, tell me Readers, have you written to someone before?  Have you received a letter from a friend?  How did you feel in either scenario?  I would love to hear from you!

Until next time,

-BBM

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