One week in…National Card and Letter Writing Month

april-letterwriting-month

How could I have let a week of April go by without mentioning that this month is National Card and Letter Writing month? The U.S. Postal Service officially designated it so in 2001 “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.”

Neither Mary needs a month dedicated to letter-writing to coax them into writing letters, but we certainly couldn’t let the month go by without some mention on our blog that is dedicated to letter-writing, friendship, and good books.

Speaking of blogging, this Mary (Mary PK) is headed to a blogging panel at the Cedar Falls library this afternoon.

blogging panel

I began my Mary Potter Kenyon blog in June 2009, nearly nine years ago. The blog tagline was “Housewife Writer Dishes on Writing,” and I mostly wrote about mothering, couponing, and well…writing.  My youngest child would turn six the following month, which coincidently would also be when I began work on a book that would become Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings, and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession.  I’ve signed six book contracts in the ensuing years, so this “housewife” must have been doing something right on the writing front. Now my blog is also my website, with the inelegantly dubbed heading; “Author, Public Speaker, Workshop Presenter.” I began another blog, “Crazy Couponer: Tales from the Dark Side of Couponing” in anticipation for the release of that book, sharing pieces of my work-in-progress, (yes, Virginia, there is a dark side to couponing, and you can read about it in my book) along with stories and photos of my own super savings shopping trips and my transition from coupon box to coupon binder.  That was a fun blog to maintain, but a person only has so much time, and with two new books coming out in 2014, something had to give.

And sometimes, that something is blogging. This blog, “Mary & Me,” was created in November 2014, in anticipation of Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink, with the post-writing duty shared by my co-author. I expect it will keep going as long as we have books to review and letter-writing and friendship topics to share.

On that “note,” isn’t it time you celebrated April by writing a letter of your own?

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A NaNoWriMo…for Letters?

Every November there comes a challenge for potential novelists all over the world…to write 50,000 words in one month. Writers register for National Novel Writing Month which is commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, attempting to complete what amounts to a rough draft of a book. Mary K has participated several times, working on a non-fiction book during the 2012 challenge. 50,000 words is a daunting task. The Marys are up to 45, 000 words in their own book project, and that is after months of writing. Only by manuscript’s completion the end of this month do we expect to hit, and likely exceed, that magical number.

We are pleased to share a much less daunting challenge we discovered recently, five days into the month of February: A Month of Letters. Founder Mary Robinette Kowal’s  challenge is simple:

  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

It’s not too late to sign up. I (Mary K) joined this morning and plan to “catch up” to the challenge by writing a letter or card on Sundays too, or sending out more than one on some days. The goal is to write and send a letter on each of the 23 mailing days of the month. Perhaps I could count yesterday’s two and Monday’s one sent letter in the equation as well.

month of lettersI read about this challenge on another amazing website, the Letter Writer’s Alliance. The Letter Writer’s Alliance is dedicated to preserving the art form of the hand-written letter. The L.W.A. was established in 2007 by Kathy Zadrozny & Donovan Beeson. They manage every aspect of the Alliance, from design, to packing orders, to maintaining the website. With over 7,000 members worldwide, the member site is the biggest part of the Alliance. They offer free printable downloads, exclusive member products, and vintage postal items. A Lifetime membership is a  mere $5 and offers access to new pen-pals. These lovely ladies are also in the process of writing a foreword for Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink.

What else do they do? They hold virtual letter socials! They have one coming up this Sunday, February 8. You can view the event details here: http://letterwriters.org/#events

Basically everyone writes letters within a 24 hour period, using social media to “join in” together. You can even view a live video of Donovan and Kathy writing letters for an hour or two. And they will have a special guest: the creator of Month of Letters. You can view the video live or the recorded version here come Sunday at 3pm CST: http://letterwriters.org/VirtualSocial.html

We hope you will join us in making February a month of letters. But why stop there? Once you get into the habit of writing letters, you might find you enjoy it just as much as “Mary & Me.”