I think it’s safe to say that I’m never writing another letter again in my life. At least not on my blog, that is. I am spent. I am a drive-thru window that is permanently stuck open because of the amount of traffic that comes through.
Yes, that analogy makes sense. Leave me alone.
Leading up to July 24, 2016, I was trying to think of new things to do with my blog. I wanted to do something that was fun and creative, while also introducing my readers to other bloggers.
I knew I didn’t want it to be the traditional, “Here’s an award, go follow these people” post. I wanted something different.
Then it hit me.
On July 24, 2016, I made a post saying I had an announcement to make on July 26th at 9AM.
That sounds official, right? A scheduled post and everything.
I titled that post, “The Announcement” and was extremely nervous to share it.
In that post, I laid out my idea.
I wanted to write letters to other bloggers, but I needed them to request one.
My expectations were low. I was expecting, at most, ten requests. When I received my first comment on that post, the blogger said it was a great idea and that they love to read other people’s letters.
But they didn’t request a letter for themselves!
I thought my idea was dead in the water at that point. This must be a bad idea.
And then the requests came in. I got about 30 in two weeks.
What would I write to them about? Well, I planned ahead. I had them submit answers to five prompts.
Their name, where they live, a fictional topic they wanted me to tell them about, one of their interests, and a question they had for me.
I figured those five things would give me enough to write a letter. Failing that, I’d read their blog and “About Me” page, and figure it out from there.
Full disclosure: the “fictional story” was my way of ensuring I always had something to write about. I was hoping people would be really creative in what story they wanted.
To be completely honest, many people gave me very little to work with. Some letters were more challenging than others for the simple fact that I didn’t really know the blogger that well, and they provided me with very few details.
That’s just me being honest.
In the end, I wrote 40 letters.
My first letter went out to Meghan on August 2, 2016 and my last letter went to Becky on March 2, 2018. I didn’t realize the symmetry in dates until now.
By the way, my birthday is September 2. Numbers are weird.
Yes, it took me 19 months to write 40 letters.
They were a constant weight on my shoulders because I wanted to make each one as great as possible. Sure, you can say, “Oh, why didn’t you write a few every week, you would’ve been done much sooner.”
I couldn’t do that.
I get bored of the same thing very quickly. I needed to write about other things, too.
“But Paul, 19 months for 40 letters!”
And if I did it again, I’d still take 19 months. I never wrote a letter when I didn’t want to. I didn’t think that was fair. I had to be all in, or not at all.
Along the way, people would send me comments asking where there letter was. Or they’d complain about how long I was taking. I didn’t like that. As if I didn’t feel guilty enough taking a whole year to write people a letter, they had to remind me how impatient they were.
This wasn’t as easy as you think it was.
With every letter, I tried to put a smile on the recipient’s face. I think I accomplished that. And if, in the process, I introduced new readers to their blog, then mission accomplished.
One of my favourite assignments in school was a Grade 10 History project where I had to become a person from the past and write a letter to people in the future. I had to become about eight different people and write eight different letters.
For that assignment, I italicized my words because that gave it the feel of a real letter, in my mind, at least. So I decided to put all of my blog letters in italics, as well.
The format for my letters was always the same, but always different. No matter what, I wanted to sign off by saying, “With ________”
I think my favourite sign-off was my first one:
“With love, peace, and Canada Geese,
My closing would normally be a call back to something I had written in the letter. I figured that would make it come full circle and look cool.
As much as I enjoyed this whole thing, I don’t think I ever want to do it again. It’s too much for me.
I think I’ve beaten the dead horse enough, anyway. A lot of you probably thought, “Another letter??” every time you saw it in your Reader. For that, I owe you no apologies.
For 19 months, these letters have been on my mind.
Every time I had nothing to write about, I thought about how many letters I had left and told myself I should just power through them. But then I’d see what my next letter had to be about and know I needed more time to figure out what I wanted to say.
Again, I can’t reiterate this enough – the fictional stories a lot of you wanted me to tell you about weren’t all that creative. Sorry, I’ve been wanting to say that for 19 months. Let me vent.
If you received a letter, I hope you enjoyed it!
If you didn’t receive a letter, I hope you enjoyed reading the others!
If you had no clue why I was writing letters, until now, I don’t know what to say.
With no more letters to write,