Beyond The Letters

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,

Paul”

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,

Paul

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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50 Responses to Beyond The Letters

  1. leegschrift says:

    Never ever again one letter. No problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. micqu says:

    I loved the letter you wrote to me. Thank you for it. And yes you even made me smile.

    Merci mein Frënd. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. rebbit7 says:

    Must have been a lot of work for you those past 19 months! Really enjoyed the letter you wrote to me a while back– it’s incredible how you can keep things fresh with each letter you’ve written! It’s been a pleasure reading the other letters you’ve sent to other bloggers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. m4gical says:

    Congratulations on finishing the letters! You must feel like you have a massive weight lifted off your shoulders, though I’m gutted they were probably my favourite posts to read, I look forward to your others posts though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you did this series and I am honoured to be part of it! You did a great job but I’m sure you are super happy to be finished now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dutch Lion says:

    Thanks for explaining it. Good for you. Clear that out and start something else. Have more fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Little Rants says:

    Awh Paul. This feels like the emotional ending to a hit TV show. I’ll miss the letters but you have brilliant 🧠 so you’re going to write amazing stuff anyway. Letters or not.
    Love, peace and Amul Cheese (it’s famous in India),
    Sooch.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Angela says:

    I loved reading your letters Paul, especially mine they definitely all put a smile on my face like all your posts do! Well Done getting them all done and I think it’s only fair that you retire from letter writing indefinitely!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tanushka says:

    That explains everything. I thought these were random shootouts to your friends. I used to think “How many damn friends does he have?” Also, “Why are all of them so interesting?” And as I have mentioned in several of the comments, I used to be very jealous of all of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Tanushka says:

    And also, great job you did.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was going to request one! Well done on the effort though, Blend, I am proud of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Awww Blend noooo! This whole time I was hoping you’d request one. And I didn’t want to ask you if you wanted one in case you didn’t, then it would be weird…but we’re already weird so I guess it would’ve been fine. Ahhhhhh. I might come out of retirement to write you a letter. Or I’ll find another way to make it up to you. Thanks for being proud of me lol but I’m devastated now haha

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Squid says:

    Congratulations on finishing these, dude. You crafted each so well and comically that I enjoyed other peoples’ almost as much as I enjoyed mine! That’s an accomplishment, sir, and you have a right to retire for sure. Enjoy the relief from the pressure!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dear Bro-nada:
    It was January 17, 2018, a day like some other (although, I can’t recall which other due to that nasty bout with Paulzeimers I had), when I received my letter—letter #34 by my calculations. Oh sure, 33 other letter recipients had already opened their letters before I did, but 7 other folks would have to open their letters AFTER I opened mine—Mmmmmwwwwahahahahahah!!!! Still, none of the other 39 letter receivers (and you all know who you are) would get a letter quite like mine. No, my letter was truly special, because it came from my identical (Canadian/American) twin brother (I’m American/Canadian), sadly, after his tragic nose job accident over the Swiss Alps which cost him the same identical red nose as mine. But we don’t talk about that publicly, not until Christmas Eve, anyway—then all bets are off. It’s kind of a sibling thing. Oh, if only that cargo bay door hadn’t swung open when it did, then you’d never be able to tell us apart—with the exception of his strong Canadian accent. What’s that aboot anyway, eh? But no matter, the important thing is, my very special family letter is very private—for family eyes only—never published in any of his blog posts. So, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah to you other 39 letter receivers. Excuse me for second, someones whispering something into my ear. WHAT’S THAT, PAULO? WHADD’YA MEAN HE ALREADY POSTED IT IN HIS BLOG? ARE YOU SURE? DOESN’T HE REALIZE THE OTHER PEOPLE WILL SEE IT? HE DOES! WELL THAT DOES IT… I’M GOING TO TELL MOM AND DAD—NO PIZZA FOR HIM THIS WEEK! NO SIR!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      NO PIZZA?? That’s it, I’m telling mom and dad that it was YOU who broke the coffee table when we were kids but you make me take the blame!

      Thanks for the comment, otherwise. hahaha.

      Like

      • No, no, no please, Paul!!!! I’ll be good, just don’t tell mom and dad about the broken coffee table—that was their PRICELESS one of a kind Starbucks Christmas cup holder table! It’s irreplaceable, and they’d banish me to Canada instead of you! Not that being banished to Canada (especially right now) would be all that bad, but I doubt I could live with the guilt of knowing that mom and dad had to buy 200,789 (single shot) grande lattes… in only two weeks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Hmm I’ll let this one slide, but if my pizza intake is threatened again, it’s back to the sandbox!

        Like

      • But… the cats are going there now! Oh!!! Unlimited pizza is back on the table! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Jad says:

    I for one absolutely loved my letter and I will keep it in my blog always I also enjoyed being a little peeping Tom and reading everybody else’s letters so…. kudos to you, 19 months is not a long time for 40 letters I have someone who sends me a one line email once every 4 or 5 days He’s my semi quasi penpal and I’m fine with that time frame!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’m glad, Jad! Yeah that was the cool part of this…everyone reading everyone else’s mail lol. At the beginning, one person asked me if I was actually mailing something to their house…I felt bad saying that I wasn’t haha. Also, 1 line every 4-5 days sounds perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ely says:

    My letter was the most exciting thing that’s happened since sliced bread ok? Full blown appreciative of you and your attention to detail and ability to play along with WHATEVER comes your way, even alien-cats taking over the universe and being forced to deal with my TACO interrogations. lol 😂 thank you for being YOU, unapologetically and sorry I’m so behind on all the bachelor posts!!! The whole thing is overwhelming for me to be honest (not you or your writing, just the drama and the back and forth nonsense of the show lol).
    Without a fox to be given,
    Ely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Your letter was so much fun to write because I knew you’d “get” it. Those Bachelor posts are a lot to handle. I probably wouldn’t write them if I didn’t know that people read them religiously lol. Why must they make me feel good about my writing!?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        Lol!!!! You’re committed to these posts like you were committed to those letters! But you REALLY genuinely enjoy that show don’t even lie boy- it’s ok. I respect that. Lol! You’re such a blogthropist. You know? Like a philanthropist? Except you’re charity to the world is your writing talent? Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        It’s such a good train wreck of a show I can’t stop watching it, I’ll admit it. Hahaha a blogthropist. For some reason I read that as Blogflorist and thought I DON’T EVEN PLANT STUFF. Thank you though. You’re right. I am everything you said haha #humble. And so are you. Lately I’ve been trying to find entertaining blogs and there are none out there. So I appreciate what you do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        lol! Don’t even plant stuff. 😂 I agree. We are tough to find. Thanks Paul. Working on some posts!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Bummer. The letters were fun to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You could even make it known its not a sure thing these notes…..lol

    Like

  18. Myka says:

    Congratulations on finishing your task! I hope I never probed you for my letter – I think I forgot I was waiting for one a few times. When it arrived, it was perfect – as you aimed for, and I knew it would be. I know you say that you would never do this again, but I know you’ll come up with something else, and I await that with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Thanks for everything over these recent years. Here’s to so many more – .xo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thank you! Nah you were never a bother in asking for your letter. I have something new things up my sleeve, just trying to figure out how to introduce it. Stay tuned…

      Like

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