Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 Year of Letters Review: Reflections So Far

At the end of 2011, I did a big, self-reflective year in review process, largely based on the suggestions of Chris Guillebeau of the Art of Nonconformity blog. I thought about 2011, what went well and what didn't, and what I'd like to make happen in 2012.

I thought I would do a similar, though shorter, process for My Year of Letters in 2011.

I started MYOL in July 2011. Since then, I've sent an average of more than one letter per day, although I didn't realize my goal of actually sending a letter a day (ie, I might send 7 letters in a week, but I might have sent 2 in one day). This happened a few times when I traveled, lost track of time, etc. In 2012 I'd like to stay on track with the practice of writing a handwritten note everyday regardless of circumstances. However, life happens, so all I can do is try my best!

I had started out keeping track of how many letters I sent and where I sent them too. However, over time I found this to be a bit tedious - not having time to update the lists in addition to actually writing letters. On one hand, I really wish I knew exactly how many letters I've sent so far! On the other hand, I don't think it really matters.

MYOL started out with me sending letters to almost everyone who's address I have. I also started sharing these blog posts on Facebook, and through that, received more addresses. This, combined with having wedding party invitations, thank you notes for the gifts we received, and holiday cards, took up the bulk of the year. When I started the project, I thought at some point I'd have to start sending random letters to people I might not know - famous people, politicians, etc. That hasn't really happened yet (I did write a few letters to Congressional representatives), although I would still like it to. I'll set a goal for 2012 to include more "random" letters in my writing.

Through my initial round of letters and Facebook posts, I developed a few lovely pen pal relationships from friends from various phases of life. That has definitely been the most rewarding part of the YOL. As I've mentioned in previous posts, letters are special - you have a different kind of conversation than if you were sitting over coffee or talking on the phone. It's also given me a chance to reconnect - one of the initial goals of the project. I treasure my correspondence with these friends. In 2012 I will continue to nurture these relationships.

I've received so many letters! This is a pure bonus of the project. Right now they are all in a shoe box, and I rotate the ones that I display on my bedside table, kitchen counter or bookcase. I want to get a nice, special box to put my letters in - just looking for the right container.

I also got involved with Postcrossing, which has been a really fun little project. However, I do rely on Postcrossing if it's the end of the day and I'm not feeling inspired to write a longer, more involved letter. Good or bad? Not sure. But I do know that I've really enjoyed participating in the project, have a really nice postcard collection, and have some new friends from all over the world :-)

In short, it was a good start to MYOL. Now I'm about half-way through the year, and my intention is to keep it up - in fact, my overall intention is to keep it up for the rest of my life, but let's take it one day at a time :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment