Daylight Savings is finally upon us. The longer daylight hours bring a feeling of rejuvenation and possibility. We are thinking this is also a good time for reflection so we’ve decided to check in on our resolutions.
To be honest, we had a whole blogging plan for the New Year and thankfully to you all we were so busy over the holidays that we needed to hibernate for a bit, put our heads down and plan for the upcoming year. And here we are 2.5 months in. We can’t believe it.
Amongst our resolutions were a commitment to read a book a month (so far Kate is 1 for 2 and Isabel is 3 for 2--she's kicking butt), keeping our phones away when we are in the company of others, and write a letter a day (Kate is 2 behind but at 73/366). It is this last resolution, one that Kate has previously attempted (National Letter Writing Month) and failed once before, that is being most lived up to...well not exactly...seems like Isabel is doing well with her reading. So we ask ourselves why are Kate's letter writing and Isabel's monthly reading the resolutions that are actually working? For this post we’ll turn it over to Kate to hear how this resolution is different and what she is doing to actually achieve her goal.
As the co-founder of Of Note Stationers, a letterpress paper goods company committed to meaningful correspondence, I decided to take on this challenge because I felt that if I was going to talk the talk I needed to walk the walk. Isabel and I started this company because we needed an outlet, a means to slow down, a means to be creative, and a means to connect with others. But as our hobby became our job, one that we absolutely love, I didn’t prioritize my own letter writing. Everyday I was choosing to encourage others to reach out and connect, but I wasn’t making time for myself and so the challenge began. I attribute my success over the past 2.5 months to having a resolution to which I felt accountable. My loyalty to our mission keeps me writing every day.
I have found that I am most successful when I set a routine for myself. I am not doing this perfectly, but I try and wake up each morning and write a letter before I start my daily activities. Not only is this good for my mindset -- starting off slowly and with positive intentions -- but it is also good for actually accomplishing the resolution at hand.
I am realistic. I am not always able to write a letter every day, life does get in the way, but the benefit of the challenge being a year long, is that as long as I don’t mind taking the time to catch up I have plenty of time to do so. There have definitely been weeks where I have fallen 5 or 6 letters behind, but if I set aside an hour in the morning I can easily get back on track. On those mornings I have found that once I get past deciding who the first letter will go to and what stationery I will use, the rest comes easily. I reach a point of flow and then wish I could spend all day writing and reaching out. These words are currently resonating with me:
I am also realistic about the type of mail that is going out the door. There are tons of snail mail artists whom I admire and want to emulate, but I know that if I set the bar to be not only a letter a day, but also a handmade letter a day, then the bar is raised too high. Perhaps if I am feeling inspired and successful I can take it up a notch and challenge myself to one piece of mail art a week, but we aren’t there just yet.
Luckily and thankfully I am inspired to continue by the kindness of Instagram strangers and the responses that arrive in my mailbox. Rhea of @devoteddiarist stumbled upon our account and saw that I was taking on this challenge. She decided to officially take it too and has been my pen pal since. She has gone above and beyond by not only corresponding with me, but also by having a /366 stamp made and sent my way!!! Just the encouragement I needed.
Additionally, each letter I get in return provides a little spark to keep me going. I know that day I don’t have to think of someone new to write to I can instead focus my energy on the dialogue that has already begun between said pen pal and me. Thank you to each and every one of you who sends me notes!