The Month of Letters Challenge

A Month of Letters participant

Feel free to download this web badge and post it to show your participation.

Last September, I took a month off from the internet. During my vacation, I told people that they could correspond with me by paper letter. Some people did. Some people still are. Every letter delights me.

When I write back, I find that I slow down and write differently than I do with an email. Email is all about the now. Letters are different, because whatever I write needs to be something that will be relevant a week later to the person to whom I am writing. In some ways it forces me to think about time more because postal mail is slower. “By the time you get this…” It is relaxing. It is intimate. It is both lasting and ephemeral.

How so? I find that I will often read the letters that I receive twice. Once when I get them and again as I write back. So, that makes it more lasting. It is more ephemeral because I don’t have copies of the letters that I write and I am the only one who has copies of the letters that my correspondents write. So, more ephemeral.

When was the last time you got a letter in the mail? December sees a lot of mail and you remember that sense of delight when the first card arrives. You can have that more often.

I have a simple challenge for you.

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs.  Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

All you are committing to is to mail 24 items.  Why 24? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 24 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

Feeling intimidated? It’s fewer words than NaNoWriMo and I know how many of you do that. Join me in The Month of Letters Challenge.

FAQWebsite (Yes, I just made one) – FacebookTwitter or as #LetterMo

  1. I think this is a great idea! I’m in! Too late to post a letter today, but I can write one tonight & another tomorrow morning & post both tomorrow. : )

  2. Great idea. 

    It brings me to days when I was in the Reserve military, and away during the summer for training.  We were having our boil-in-a-pouch meals when we were looking at the boxes they came in – they were a bit bigger in size than a large postcard, the cardboard was about twice as thick, and had the name of the entree printed on them.  We’d tear off  the front, write on the blank back, address and stamp it and let our loved ones know that we were thinking of them while eating our pouch of “Meatballs and Gravy” or “Ham Omelet”.  Also, being Canadian, the entree name would also be there in French, in case someone wanted to write to a Francophone relative.

    Take care.

  3. Great idea. 

    It brings me to days when I was in the Reserve military, and away during the summer for training.  We were having our boil-in-a-pouch meals when we were looking at the boxes they came in – they were a bit bigger in size than a large postcard, the cardboard was about twice as thick, and had the name of the entree printed on them.  We’d tear off  the front, write on the blank back, address and stamp it and let our loved ones know that we were thinking of them while eating our pouch of “Meatballs and Gravy” or “Ham Omelet”.  Also, being Canadian, the entree name would also be there in French, in case someone wanted to write to a Francophone relative.

    Take care.

  4. What a wonderful idea. I miss when I used to write my multipl pen pals in Hongkong, Ireland and Finland. There is just something about holding someone else’s words scribbled on thin PAR AVION paper, knowing they came from a distant place. Great idea!

  5. I fell in love with this idea when I saw the badge on your blog….I do have to adapt it a bit since its the 11th of February and I didn’t get started on the first.  

    I mailed my first letter today.  It is to my friend Becky whose mother has recently been placed on hospice.  Each day Becky comes home from work, changes clothes and begins the labor of love of visiting her mother, feeding her, playing cards and watch her struggle to breathe.  At the very least, now she will come home to a card in the mailbox letting her know that I have thought about her that day and hope for a moment, she can feel something different that what has captured her mind for the past year.

    It is my intention to continue this through her passing and beyond.  Thank you so much on bringing this personal and wonderful form of communication back into my life.

  6. I fell in love with this idea when I saw the badge on your blog….I do have to adapt it a bit since its the 11th of February and I didn’t get started on the first.  

    I mailed my first letter today.  It is to my friend Becky whose mother has recently been placed on hospice.  Each day Becky comes home from work, changes clothes and begins the labor of love of visiting her mother, feeding her, playing cards and watch her struggle to breathe.  At the very least, now she will come home to a card in the mailbox letting her know that I have thought about her that day and hope for a moment, she can feel something different that what has captured her mind for the past year.

    It is my intention to continue this through her passing and beyond.  Thank you so much on bringing this personal and wonderful form of communication back into my life.

  7. I fell in love with this idea when I saw the badge on your blog….I do have to adapt it a bit since its the 11th of February and I didn’t get started on the first.  

    I mailed my first letter today.  It is to my friend Becky whose mother has recently been placed on hospice.  Each day Becky comes home from work, changes clothes and begins the labor of love of visiting her mother, feeding her, playing cards and watch her struggle to breathe.  At the very least, now she will come home to a card in the mailbox letting her know that I have thought about her that day and hope for a moment, she can feel something different that what has captured her mind for the past year.

    It is my intention to continue this through her passing and beyond.  Thank you so much on bringing this personal and wonderful form of communication back into my life.

  8. I fell in love with this idea when I saw the badge on your blog….I do have to adapt it a bit since its the 11th of February and I didn’t get started on the first.  

    I mailed my first letter today.  It is to my friend Becky whose mother has recently been placed on hospice.  Each day Becky comes home from work, changes clothes and begins the labor of love of visiting her mother, feeding her, playing cards and watch her struggle to breathe.  At the very least, now she will come home to a card in the mailbox letting her know that I have thought about her that day and hope for a moment, she can feel something different that what has captured her mind for the past year.

    It is my intention to continue this through her passing and beyond.  Thank you so much on bringing this personal and wonderful form of communication back into my life.

  9. Mary,
    This is fabulous! I like writing and I agree that when you slow things down the quality of the writing is vastly improved.  I’m going to unplug more frequently.

    Cheers,
    Marc

  10. Mary,
    This is fabulous! I like writing and I agree that when you slow things down the quality of the writing is vastly improved.  I’m going to unplug more frequently.

    Cheers,
    Marc

  11. Hurrah! Although, I don’t think that writing slowly necessarily begets better writing. I do think the style changes, but I don’t think there is a causal link between speed and quality.

  12. Hurrah! Although, I don’t think that writing slowly necessarily begets better writing. I do think the style changes, but I don’t think there is a causal link between speed and quality.

  13. I’ve been taking the challenge all month and not looking forward to the end!  It’s been fun (as I just couldn’t send a simple letter) but I know I won’t be able to keep up without the “challenge” incentive.  Since you have a website for the Month of Letters now, how about another similar challenge later in the year?

  14. I’ve been taking the challenge all month and not looking forward to the end!  It’s been fun (as I just couldn’t send a simple letter) but I know I won’t be able to keep up without the “challenge” incentive.  Since you have a website for the Month of Letters now, how about another similar challenge later in the year?

  15. I’ve been taking the challenge all month and not looking forward to the end!  It’s been fun (as I just couldn’t send a simple letter) but I know I won’t be able to keep up without the “challenge” incentive.  Since you have a website for the Month of Letters now, how about another similar challenge later in the year?

  16. I’ve been taking the challenge all month and not looking forward to the end!  It’s been fun (as I just couldn’t send a simple letter) but I know I won’t be able to keep up without the “challenge” incentive.  Since you have a website for the Month of Letters now, how about another similar challenge later in the year?

  17. Well, I’ve done my month o’ mailings.  Have to be honest – didn’t mail anything the last two weekdays of February, but it was interesting how people responded getting “mail” instead of “e-mail” from me.  I even had a chance to re-connect with folks I hadn’t seen for ~20 years from school.

    Interesting experiment.  I will definitely will be sending more snail mail in the future (even if not daily).

    Well done, Mary!

  18. What a great idea! I’m going to write a letter or a card everyday from March 10 to April 10! I remember how much I enjoyed getting letters through the post before I got a computer. I was even a great letter writer too!

  19. What a great idea! I’m going to write a letter or a card everyday from March 10 to April 10! I remember how much I enjoyed getting letters through the post before I got a computer. I was even a great letter writer too!

  20. What a great idea! I’m going to write a letter or a card everyday from March 10 to April 10! I remember how much I enjoyed getting letters through the post before I got a computer. I was even a great letter writer too!

  21. What a great idea! I’m going to write a letter or a card everyday from March 10 to April 10! I remember how much I enjoyed getting letters through the post before I got a computer. I was even a great letter writer too!

  22. What a great idea! I’m going to write a letter or a card everyday from March 10 to April 10! I remember how much I enjoyed getting letters through the post before I got a computer. I was even a great letter writer too!

  23. I would love to post this on my site (with link back, of course) and run it during May. May I!