Give Your Mailbox Some Love this February with InCoWriMo!InCoWriMo Greetings! A few weeks ago, Kim gave us ideas on some pen-related resolutions for 2017. One big resolution on my list is to write more letters. Fortunately, a special event is right around the corner in February to help me (and everyone!) do just that– International Correspondence Writing Month, also known as InCoWriMo.
InCoWriMo tasks snail-mail lovers with the lofty goal of writing one letter, note, or postcard per day for the each of the 28 days of February.
Are you up for the challenge?
For those already familiar with this annual event, now’s the time to stock up on paper, ink, stamps, sealing wax, maybe even a dandy new fountain pen to get you going with gusto! I’m guessing most of us don’t need much convincing to get out our favorite pen or two (or 28) to lay down some ink, but there may be some out there who have questions:
Who do I write to?
In short, ANYONE! You can correspond with young or old, stranger or closest friend, even those in your own household. If your address book is looking a little thin in these modern times, there are internet resources to hook you up with kindred spirits – your mailbox will be brimming in no time. In my opinion, this is where the REAL fun comes in. Join with InCoWriMo participants from all over the world by submitting your address publicly*. The snail-mail boards on fountain pen forums like FP Geeks (www.fpgeeks.com/forum ) and Fountain Pen Network are also friendly places to start when looking for fountain pen letter buddies.
And don’t miss the annual list of 28 People (and One Lobster) Who Would Love to Receive your Correspondence. This single list could carry you through the month with notable fountain pen personalities and other important public figures. Spoiler alert – the Queen of England is even on there!
Do the letters have to be mailed?
Nope. The challenge is simply “One A Day. Every Day.” Leave one on your sweetie’s pillow. Walk one to the neighbor’s door. Pass one to a classmate between periods (NOT during class). While there’s nothing quite like the feeling of opening up your mailbox to see a stamped letter from someone from far away, when was the last time you wrote to the important people you see all the time, about how meaningful they are to you? Or just to say, “Hello, I thought of you!”? That sentiment is precious with or without postage.
What if my handwriting is too bad?
If you feel that your handwriting could use some help, then this is a great opportunity to get some practice in! You may find that writing a letter by hand takes more thought than simply typing, and sometimes just slowing down can help smooth out your rough strokes. If you need more help in the legibility department, consider trying out the exercises in the Cursive Logic Workbook or Ziller Business Writing workbooks. If doing drills endlessly doesn’t sound very appealing, maybe using a cool letter-writing project like this to practice will sweeten the deal. I plan to practice my flex writing and foundational lettering as part of this adventure. Will it be perfect? Absolutely not, but even in my short time meeting other pen people, I’ve learned that you’re always among friends. Don’t let a small thing like handwriting hold you back.
What should I write about?
The benefit of writing to fellow fountain pen and letter-writing enthusiasts is that you already have something in common. Use your choice of pen, paper, and ink as as a conversational launch pad. Segue into what you love about the hobby. If you’re writing to a stranger and feel a little daring, share some personal reflections that feel too “out there” for those you see in daily life. Or even find a literary passage, poem, or joke that you enjoy, and copy it down as artfully as you wish. The ideas are endless! And let’s be honest, it’s just fun to receive correspondence and savor a moment of connection with another person through the written word. Sit back, ink up, and go with the flow!
Still need to know more? See the official site at www.incowrimo.org for more FAQs and to take the 2017 InCoWriMo pledge.
The InCoWriMo challenge is all about finding a reason (excuse?) to indulge in letter-writing, pens (fountain or otherwise), and possibly even make some new friends throughout the world. The start of a fresh new year is the perfect time to jump in and see where this exciting exercise takes you! This will be my first time participating, and I can’t wait to see what comes in.
Veterans of InCoWriMo– What are some of the reasons you look forward to participating? Do you have any tips for first timers like me?
Write to me at
PO Box 1734
Oshkosh, WI 54903
*A Note About Privacy: In this day and age, many people have reservations about having personal information like their name and address posted publicly online. Why not investigate getting a short-term Post Office Box? They may be more affordable than you think, but prices vary by location, so check with your local Post Office for more information.