Letter Writing–Much More Than a Day or a Profession

2014-12-14 03.39.37Did you know there is a Compliment Day (January 24), an International Joke Day (July 1), and even an Ask a Stupid Question Day (September 28)? Well, I used to ask why we have days for all these random things until recently, when I discovered a day designated for something that mattered to me. December 7 is Letter Writing Day. Not everyone wants to celebrate the art of letter writing, but I sure do!

My love for letter writing began many years ago when I was in the third grade. One of my teachers encouraged me and my classmates to write her notes, which we dropped in a special box for her. She would read each note and respond with a note of her own, usually written by hand on decorative paper.

I already loved writing at this young age and soon learned the value of letter writing. A letter gives us an opportunity to share a personal message with an individual. Personalized letters help build lasting relationships.

The letters my teacher and I wrote allowed us to connect and develop a friendship. In fact, we continued writing each other long after I completed third grade. One of my most memorable letters to her included an invitation to my high school graduation to which she responded, “Yes!”

Little did I know that this beloved hobby of letter writing would one day be a considerable part of my profession. In my role as a development (fundraising) writer, I draft several letters a day. Some of my letters ask individuals to partner with our organization through a financial contribution that supports our mission. Others congratulate an individual, express sympathy for a loss, or extend an invitation for a meeting or a tour. My favorite letters thank donors for their gifts and share the impact of their contributions on the organization and the people we serve.

Although I now write hundreds of letters a year, I always remember that each letter is significant—a lesson the Lord revealed to me when I attended my first Christian writers conference in 2007. Many of the conference faculty spoke about writing best-selling books. While wondering if I would ever write a best seller, I overheard some of the other conference attendees saying they were discouraged, because they felt called to write poetry or Bible studies for small groups at their church, not best sellers. When I prayed about this, the Lord responded, “As long as you write whatever I lead you to—even if it is for only one person—you will be successful.”

A simple letter addressed to an individual can be just as important as a published book read by millions. Our words may affect someone’s life in a way that changes their course not only on this earth, but also for eternity. In addition, our words may influence the lives of everyone they meet along the way. Even if the words in our letter touch the heart of only one individual—that one is significant beyond measure.

Whether you write professionally or not, I challenge you to write a personal letter (or two or more) to someone who matters to you. You can even make a day of it! I would love to hear how a letter you sent or received made a difference in your life or in someone else’s life.

 

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