Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Writing A Book On Writing 'Thank-You Notes'

Think you have trouble writing? Imagine the newly wedded bride, juggling a move, a new husband and everything that goes along with it, needing to write thank-you notes to everyone who attended her wedding and/or sent a gift.

how do you make each note sound sincere, unique and heartfelt? how do you say 'thank-you' in such a way as to convey the joy you feel in your heart that the recipient participated in what has been the happiest moment of your life?

How to write a note by hand?

Ah-ha! There's the rub.

The fact is, as laptops and tablet have replaced pen and paper many of us are loathe to write anything by hand. Many schools are eliminating cursive writing classes and the skill of handwriting has long since fallen out of favor with just about everyone. Even Post-It notes are now primarily used in a digital form. So how can anyone be expected to hand write a note, especially a heartfelt, sincere 'thank-you' note?

According to one recent bride, author Emily Smith, it's easier than it sounds. In fact, she wrote a book on it.

I'm not here to talk about Smith's book, however, I'm here to talk about the power of the written word, the 'hand-written' word. When you take the time to write a note by hand the emotion you are feeling at the time moves from your heart, down your arm, through your fingers and embeds itself in the ink used to illustrate every word. There is real feeling in a hand-written note.

Don't believe me? Ask anyone still clinging to the grocery list a deceased spouse wrote days before their death. Ask any man who still has every handmade Father's Day Card he received, or the finder of a used book with handwritten notes about the text in the margin. Or the archeologist who discovered the graffiti left behind by the builders of the pyramids in Egypt.

When humans first discovered a way to convey in writing what we could not speak aloud to the reader, it was a way to enhance our communication and actually reach into the minds of our fellow humans. That art is no less powerful today. In fact, I say it is even more important today than ever before because we are slowly turning our backs on this skill. Much as we have almost all lost the ability to start a fire without a lighter, or a pack of matches.

If you fear writing, or simply haven't done it a while, there is no time like the present. Write a note to your mom, your sister, your spouse or your child. You might just be surprised at the impact it has on them, especially when compared with an email...

In 2007, Emily Smith graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law, got married and moved to California to start a new life with her military husband.

Such major moments all happened within four months of one another. Needless to say, writing thank you notes for wedding gifts was put on the back burner.

As the months slipped by, Smith came to dread the process. She didn’t finish until June 2008.

“I felt like I was sitting down to write the notes in the midst of packing and in the midst of all of the craziness. It was complete chaos,” said Smith, 31, now a Montgomery attorney and university professor at various schools.

She was embarrassed by her situation and wondered if other brides had experienced the same. She started researching how to write thank you notes in an effort to make the process easier. Eventually, she decided to write her own guide. Her sister, Rachel Daniels, 27, a University of Alabama graduate and Montgomery CPA, helped her.

Click here to read more about Smith's book.

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