National Handwriting Day 2017

Our handwriting’s just one of the many facets of ourselves.

January 23rd is officially known as “National Handwriting Day” as it falls on the birthday of John Hancock, the first person to sign The Declaration of Independence. The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association started this holiday in 1977 to acknowledge the history of penmanship and to recognize the importance of handwritten notes.

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We continue to celebrate the art of the handwritten note and the individuality of each person’s handwriting. We hope that this holiday inspires you to put pen to paper and join the tradition! We’ve included a few of our favorite quotes about writing below, though we look forward to hearing from our followers as well.

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“And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” – J. K. Rowling

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Isaac Asimov

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” – Alexander Pope

 “Writing gives a sort of immortality to all other things.” -Richard Herring

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course.” – Graham Greene 

Please feel free to share your handwritten notes on social media by tagging @dempseycarroll on instagram or twitter and using the #NationalHandwritingDay hashtag to celebrate with us.

National Letter Writing Month

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”  – Haruki Murakami

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The Dempsey & Carroll Team has accepted the challenge of writing one letter per day for the month of April in celebration of National Card and Letter Writing Month. We always celebrate the art of the handwritten note throughout the year, but we are taking this challenge as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in the age of technology. It is always refreshing to see that people appreciate when time is taken to send a beautifully crafted note.

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We would love to see who else has taken up this challenge as well! Be sure to tag our Instagram handle @dempseycarroll and the #writeon and #dempseycarroll hashtags for the opportunity to be featured on our feed. Happy Writing!

The Lost Art of the Handwritten Note

Repost from our friend Yanik Silver:

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Let’s face it, in today’s digitally wired society there seems to be a slippery slope of what passes for meaningful communication. Look, I’m as guilty as anyone. Actually, I used text to give condolences on a friend’s loss of her father recently. I can do better.

Going beyond a Facebook message, text or email and actually create a connection, with intention, is when something much more magical happens.

I’ve always known it. You have too.

And a handwritten note is one of those little things that makes a big difference.

I’m re-learning it starting with my kids.  I got the idea to put a drawing and note into their lunch boxes every day for school. It started in the last month of school and now it’s continued into camp. They love it. And the fact that they love it makes me want to continue to wow them with a few cute little drawings and my semi-funny (at least to me) captions.

Here’s how it started (he didn’t get the ‘groaner’ of a joke here):

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Then I got some cool sparkly gel pens and they evolved a bit. Here are the ones from the end of school:

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It really doesn’t take me too long and I love doing it since as a kid I wanted to be a cartoonist. I just Google some cartoon characters and then use that as inspiration.

It’s that handwritten quality that really makes it stand out. If you have little kids in your life, don’t their colorful notes mean so much to you? At Father’s day I got a handmade card from Zoe with a rocket ship on front since I’m going into space. And with instructions inside the card to color the page. I love it!

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And from Zack I got a hand drawn card with a picture of me about how much he loves playing hockey with me. Priceless.

Everybody would love this…

There’s no reason I couldn’t do this in a meaningful way for people I want to keep and bring closer into my life too. Think to a time when you got a handwritten note from somebody it just meant so much more, right? I’ve got some notes from sales people or others I’ve worked with and they’ve always been elevated in my mind – but only if there’s a genuine and authentic nature to them. Not some cookie cutter “Thank you for your business. It was my pleasure to serve you, blah, blah, blah.”I guess better than nothing but not really meaningful.

Handwritten love letters

I recently sent my wife, Missy, a 3-page love letter from a 3X Maverick Multiplier Retreat in Chicago. We did a session at Lifebook with the Mavericks to explore creating and deepening your relationships. It made me stretch.

So at 3 o’clock in the morning I wrote out 33 reasons why I love her. Then I bought a cool wooden greeting card and popped it into the mail. It was a really incredible surprise for her to get the card with the note inside. I was away in Toronto on another trip and she told me she cried when she got it. Mission accomplished!

I’m not going to copy all of it here but you can see a bit of it. The amazing thing was writing it out I felt even more love and gratitude for who she truly is. It’s so much more than just buying a Hallmark card and handwriting in “I love you”. Try it some time.

I’ll also leave Missy little notes every once-in-a-while now too in random places for her to find. I used to love when she did that for me on trips. I’d find little post-it notes tucked into my socks or under a shirt when unpacking.

What about business contacts?  

Well wouldn’t you want to deepen those relationships? Of course. Part of what’s prompting me to write this was actually getting a text from one of our Maverick1000 members, Shelby Larson, ContentDivas.com. She had spoken at Underground and I wrote her a little thank you note afterwards. She said she still has it on her desk. That’s pretty cool! (Actually I showed Shelby a rough draft of this first post and she told me she’s been on a handwritten note campaign. She gets 5 out per week to different categories of people she cares about.)

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Direct mailers have known that handwriting works incredibly well. Have you ever got a blank #10 envelope handwritten to you with a maybe a post-it note attached to an “article” that reads “Try this it works”.

These are called tear sheet mailings and there are massive mailhouses that simulate handwriting. I used to use handwritten addresses in my first mail order business and feel like it increased results. It could even be as simple as a personalized post-it note or maybe a little note on the bottom of your checks to affiliates. I still do that when I sign my own checks.

Or think about books. If you’ve ever had a book signed to you from an author don’t you get more meaning if there’s something handwritten beyond just their regular catch phrase? I love it when authors send me their books along with a little inscription if I’ve impacted their lives in some way. Richard Branson signed his latest book, Screw Business As Usual, to me with this:

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There’s truly something magical about handwriting – especially if you put some of your personality and authentic heart into it. If you’re a doodler like me include some of your doodles. If you like to create bubble letters – go for it. If you’re into flowers and animals – why not add a few creative touches? Start creating more personal notes you can and see what the results are.

There’s no doubt in my mind you’d stand out using more handwritten notes– head and shoulders over anybody else. It seems overwhelming if you feel like there are 100s of people you SHOULD be writing notes to. Or feeling obligated to. Maybe it’s a hold-off from when your parents forced you to write horrible Thank You notes after your 8th birthday party or something like that but…

…Screw it.

Start with those who really touch your heart. Maybe it’s your kids or partner first. Maybe it’s to your parents or someone else in your family. Or to your most meaningful customers. Or pick a new random connection who you want to get to know deeper. Just a simple ‘Thank you’ but done with style would knock their socks off. It can be long or short. Funny or deep.

Also it’ll help if you have supplies and stamps handy at your desk, in your office, in your purse, etc. Get some cool note cards that inspire you. I bought my last set from Minted.com. They had quite a few whimsical designs I liked. Or if you’re a bit more formal you can’t go wrong with Smythson of Bond Street.

I just picked up a book, the The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication by Margaret Shepherd. It’s pretty good and you’ll pick a few tips from there and note starters.

Need another reason? Handwriting also provides all sorts of benefits to you aside from the reaction and impact you’ll get. Here’s a Wall Street Journal article how handwriting trains the brain.

To me it’s even more personal. I know with my handwritten journal entries there’s more meaning there than just typing on a computer. I believe your handwriting is directly wired to unite your head and heart.

Update: After I wrote this post- I sent out a handwritten note to my friend whose father passed away. She told me she read the note 3-4 times and it was extremely meaningful. That made me feel great, and I’ve been continuing with notes to people I really admire and haven’t really told. Once you start making this a habit – you won’t want to break it.

Just try it. I’d love hear what happens with your experiments and please drop me a comment to continue the conversation.

Why We Still Write Letters

Think of how many emails you receive in a day.

They come from family and friends to fill you in on their lives, maybe with an attached picture of their new home or their dog. They’re sent throughout the day at all hours, containing business proposals, updates, commands, changes, ideas. You type up your reply, brief and informal, using terms like “EOD” if you’re at the office and colons and parentheses to create a smiley face in an email to your dearest friend from college. You sift through spam to sort through companies advertising their latest sales, their newest products, how you have to have it all right now!

Just a click away.

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Now—think about how many letters you receive in a week.

In the age of email and social media, letters are becoming increasingly obsolete. In a study published in the Telegraph, one in ten children has never written a note by hand. Yet there are still people out there (and I am certainly one of them) who are nostalgic for the handwritten note and yearn to preserve this tradition. We rebel against the conventions of our time, looking to tradition for ways to reinvent our self-expression. Writing a letter is a deliberate act of reflection, both of the relationship to the recipient and to ourselves.

With the plethora of emails I receive in a given day, I find solace in the discovery of a handwritten letter in my mailbox. I feel a wave of hope knowing people are still putting pen to paper and sharing pieces of themselves in the form of handwritten notes. It’s the experience of knowing that someone thought about you and took the time to create something special for your eyes only. With our Facebook or LinkedIn profile pictures as the new first impression, letters now become the true portals into the hearts of others.

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A postcard I received from my dear friend Marine, who lives in France. She used up every inch of the card– I just adore that!

Send a letter to someone who matters to you. Make your sentiments known in the way you cross your t’s and dot your ‘i’s. Show someone you love them. Your letter is something tangible; it will be held, touched, and read over again and again for years to come.

 

Madeleine Garone,

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A Love of Many Colors: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

Imagine a love fueled by both intense devotion and tumultuous passion. This was the reality for artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. During the span of their 27 year relationship, artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exchanged numerous letters that reflect the spectrum of their love, encompassing their joy, anguish, and desire.

In 1922, Frida Kahlo met painter Diego Rivera, whose work she admired deeply. After not being in contact for several years, the artists reconnected in 1928 and Rivera began to act as Kahlo’s artistic mentor. Their relationship eventually became intimate, yielding one of art history’s most fascinating romances. The artists inspired one another, Kahlo and Rivera urging one another to explore their passion deeper in their art. Diego is cited as stating, “I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And would continue to be up to the moment she died, 27 years later.” (Source: http://www.diego-rivera.org/quotes.html) Despite their immense love for one another, Kahlo and Rivera had multiple affairs throughout their marriage. Yet, Kahlo and Rivera remained devoted to one another because of a resilient passion that withstood even their relationship’s darkest moments.

Transcribed translation:

Diego.
Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or love.
To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your anguish, and within the very beating of your heart.
All this madness if I asked it of you, I know, in your silence, there would be only confusion.
I ask you for violence, in the nonsense, and you, you give me grace, your light and your warmth.
I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors [sic], because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.

F.

Madeleine Garone,

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Revisiting Our 14 Days of Valentines: The Chosen Love Note

This year we at Dempsey & Carroll asked ourselves, “Why does Valentine’s Day have to be only one day?” With this question in mind, we launched the 14 Days of Valentines to promote and honor the love that surrounds us. Image

We extended the opportunity to everyone to share their love notes with us. After being inspired by such moving and personal notes, we selected our favorite, a love note from Michael Buffon to his wife. He graciously allowed us to share his note, which can be found below.

I still remember the first time I met you…hours went by in what seemed like minutes.  I knew that there was something special about you and I felt an instant connection. Twelve years went by and through chance we reconnected and my life was changed forever.

My wife, best friend, and lover, you’re more than I could have ever imagined.  I love you more each day and I am yours forever.  I am truly blessed and celebrate our love with you this Valentine’s Day. 

Notes like Michael’s show us love is a profound and powerful sentiment that we can feel and experience. We thank Michael, his wife, and all who shared their letters for making this a very special Valentine’s Day for us. Though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, we can make believe it’s Valentine’s Day every day with kind actions (those “just because I love you” kind), smiles, and of course, a thoughtful handwritten note.

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The First Job Begins with a Thank You Note

Although the notion of less is more holds true in thank you notes, there is an art to writing them to a prospective employer. After a job interview, it is regarded as a courtesy to send your interviewer a thank you note within a few days. Sending a handwritten thank you note shows your prospective employer that you took the moment to reflect on the time spent with him or her as well as your commitment to the role to which you are applying. In an era that has given rise to the email as acceptable means of correspondence, you will be sure to stand out among your competition with a beautiful handwritten thank you note.

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  •  When writing a thank you note to a prospective employer, it is very important to weave unique elements of the interview into your note, especially a moment of discovering a shared interest or common experience during your conversation.
  • In addition to reiterating your interest in the job, the thank you note provides the opportunity to further highlight your qualifications for the role and to add in anything that you may have forgotten to mention during your interview. Be concise and confident.
  • To conclude your note, write that you look forward to hearing from your interviewer. Sign your note with a simple Sincerely, My best, or Best wishes followed by your signature.

The interviewer will be sure to take notice of your attention to detail, polite manner, and thoughtfulness—all qualities of an excellent future employee.

Madeleine Garone,

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