Gone are the days of second post and coming home every day to a hallway filled with letters. And returning from a week in Lanzarote and having to give the front door a good hard shove because of all the paper stacked up behind it. These days it seems that only junk mail ends up on the doormat now. In fact, when you do get an envelope through the letterbox, it can feel quite exciting! Until you realise that it's your credit card bill and it's the only company with whom you've forgotten to go paperless.
The interweb is great - we at Cult Pens wouldn't be without it (well, we wouldn't be, full stop!) - but emails, texts and twittering mean that getting a letter these days is pretty rare. Which is a bit sad.
Fortunately, in 2013 a bright spark came up with an idea. Why not make February 'International Correspondence Writing Month'? That's a bit of a mouthful, it must be said, so it became known as InCoWriMo.
The concept is simple: write and then post a letter, card or note to somebody every day of the month. And that's writing - with a pen or a pencil, not on a keyboard or keypad - and posting - that is, trotting down to the end of the road and putting your missive into a postbox.
It's a means of encouraging people to get back into the habit of putting pen to paper, of communicating with another person in such a way that shows that speed and an instant answer is not the purpose of the message, but a simple thought instead. The letter doesn't have to be a long one; in fact it doesn't even have to be a letter at all! It could be a postcard: one you've bought or a blank one you've designed yourself. And if the thought of finding 28 people to write to (or 29 during leap years) is a tad daunting, don't worry - you can register at https://incowrimo-2019.org and find other like-minded letter lovers.
You don't actually need to target specific people either. There is a trend called #moreloveletters where people leave notes in places like coffee shops and on bus seats with upbeat or inspiring messages for whoever picks them up, usually addressed with 'if you find this letter, it's for you'. Such a nice thing to do, and so easy to do it!
Of course, if you want to write a letter you'll need a pen, some paper and some envelopes, all of which can conveniently be found at Cult Pens. You can jazz your correspondence up a bit as well, by using mt tape to decorate your envelopes, and a dip pen and ink to address them. Or try illustrating your letters. Many people include small samples of stationery in their letters as well, such as mt tape wrapped around gift tags or playing cards, and paperclips, stickers and even pens and pencils. The #happymail, which has been used over a million times, is used to post on social media, and the #incowrimo has been used on Instagram over 10,000 times by people displaying examples of letters and notes they've written and received.
February can be such a dull month, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere where the weather really isn't at its best, so joining in with InCoWriMo can only serve to cheer us all up a bit. Imagine travelling home from work on a dark rainy evening and opening your front door to find a handwritten letter on the mat. It's not just a change from a flyer from B&Q (other DIY stores are available), it's tangible evidence of a kind thought, directed specifically at you. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it?
5 February 2019