Towards the end of September, I decided I’d quite like a challenge for October, so I asked around on social media. After a few random suggestions, I decided to spend October writing letters.
I started out thinking the hardest part of the challenge would be finding 31 people to write to; I thought I might get a few people sign up using the form I put on the blog, but that the rest of the month would be filled by sending letters to my friends and extended family.
As it was, I managed to get a bit of advertising on two radio stations, and mentioned it in my weekly column for the local paper. That, combined with a lot of Tweeting and Facebooking, meant that I ended up sending 50 letters this month.
I have written letters to family friends I’ve known my whole life, old school friends I’ve not seen for years, fellow bloggers, readers of my blog, and I’m sure a fair few strangers who just saw my ads and thought it might be nice to get a letter. I also wrote to some children through a website called Letters Project, who contacted me early on in the project after seeing a tweet.
I’ve also received a few letters. Some people wrote back to me after receiving their letter, and after I was on local radio, a lady I worked with ten years ago sent me a letter, care of the radio station. I will be replying to these letters… I just had to concentrate on getting these 50 letters out of the door first!
Each of the 50 letters I wrote was unique. They may have all had similar content (I’m not that creative), but I did write them all individually. I did think (stupidly late in the month) that I could have just drafted a generic letter and copied it out fifty times, but I think that sort of defeats the object, don’t you?
The aim of this project was to spread a little cheer here and there. I love it when the post comes, and there’s something a bit unusual there – even if it turns out to just be that thing I ordered last week and had forgotten about. I like the idea of sending a letter to someone and perhaps brightening their day. I still have letters sent to me by my nan when I was little and she was staying with my uncle in Surrey, as well as a few others that have arrived over the years. With the advent of emails, text messages and social media though, it’s easier and quicker to just send a message than wait for a letter. Plus, stamps are expensive (and don’t I know it!). Still, I would rather receive a letter than a text, any day of the week. I was hoping that by sending people letters, I might inspire them to send their own letters – not necessarily to me, but to anyone they thought might like one. I was really pleased to see this tweet from Henrietta, who was one of the people I chatted to on local radio:
Took a leaf out of @SingleMAhoy book today and wrote an actual letter.Well more of a postcard but so much nicer than a text or email !
— Henrietta Creasey (@HenCreasey) October 20, 2014
I was also really honoured to have inspired fellow blogger Kip Hakes to start up #NovemberNote, where he will be sending letters to people for the month. I really like the idea of other bloggers taking up this challenge and sending letters all over the place. Do any of my fellow bloggers fancy sending letters in December?
Over the last month, I have sent letters all over the UK, to the USA, to Bulgaria and to Australia. I was surprised to have so many non-UK people sign up, but it was fun to have letters going so far. Most of the letters were posted by S, and on days where we had post going further afield, she came to the post office with me. We went to a post office that hides away at the back of a shop near the cathedral, filled with all sorts of exciting toys and gifts; she loved it.
A few years ago, I read Join Me by Danny Wallace; he started a “cult” to see if he could, and decided to turn it into “Karmageddon” where members did good deeds on a Friday. I got really into it, and would bring sweets to work to leave in the break areas every Friday. I also used to put together parcels for friends, containing things like party whistles, CDs of novelty music designed to make them smile, and glitter. Lots of glitter. I would have liked to do something like that for this project, but it would have been really expensive – and not ideal, considering I moved house in the middle of this month too!
So, what next? Watch this space!