This is a time to dream up some big goals for 2016 and think about how you can expand your reach and stretch yourself, and I definitely applaud and encourage that. But it can also be a time to go small—to use your words to connect with one or two people at a time.
By “small,” I mean brief, but also “intimate.”
- pull out a note card and write a letter
- craft an email to an old friend
- pen a poem and slip it under somebody’s windshield wiper
- leave a love note under a pillow
Small, focused, writing projects have some side benefits beyond blessing the recipient of your writing. By writing to someone specific, you develop your voice.
You’ll be a little more comfortable and relaxed when writing that note or typing that email for someone you know well. You might insert a little inside joke, tell a story, and play with a more informal style. You’ll probably keep it somewhat tight and brief; then again, maybe you’ll be a bit more leisurely. When you know your audience well, you can tailor the message to them.
You keep specificity instead of defaulting to generalities.
Brain Pickings offers excerpts from a vintage book on letter writing:
Though written, as all genuine letters are, for the private eye of one or two familiar friends, and without any thought of their publication, they nevertheless often form the most interesting and imperishable of an author’s productions…In other productions there is the restraint induced by the feeling that a thousand eyes are peering over the writer’s shoulder and scrutinizing every word; while letters are written when the mind is as it were in dressing-gown and slippers — free, natural, active, perfectly at home, and with all the fountains of fancy, wit, and sentiment in full play.
When we write small, we can experience that same kind of natural, active approach that offers a kind of freedom and sense of play.
Will you do it? Will you write small?
If you write small—if you write that email or letter—would you let me know in the comments? You can just say, “I did it, Ann. I wrote small today.”
Ideas from this episode:
- While we’re dreaming up big goals for 2016, we’ll benefit from writing small.
- If you write small in the sense of writing for an intimate audience of one or two, you’ll gain creative freedom.
- When you know your audience well, you can tailor the message to them and practice specificity.
- Experiment with voice and tone in these small writing projects.
- These efforts will bless the recipient, and if you take advantage of the playful approach, they’ll bless you, as well.
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