Writing

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How to write a letter to your kids…

Towards the end of last year I read something that inspired me to start writing weekly letters to my younger kids.

The trigger came from thinking about when I was a child and receiving postcards from my grandparents when they went on holiday. Or from my parents when they went on a work trip.

The cards would be pinned to a cork board, or attached to the fridge with a magnet. They’d remind me that my parents were thinking of me no matter where they were in the world.

It was customary back then (30+ years ago!) to send postcards, and for a few obvious reasons it’s not so common these days.

Anyway, a few months ago decided that I’d like to write a weekly letter to my younger kids. Not only is it exciting to get something in the mail, but I wanted to give them something that they could place in their keepsake boxes and hold on for many years. Perhaps at times when I’m not around they will find comfort in them.

The bonus for me is that I have something fun to do with my 1961 refurbished typewriter that Cara gifted me last year for my birthday!

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a list of tips…so here are two lists for you:

List #1 – General guidance for writing a letter to your kids:

  1. Keep it really short and specific.
  2. Don’t overthink it.
  3. If your kids can read yet you can read it with them.
  4. Keep it positive – so they can go back to it in the future to feel good about themselves.
  5. Be honest – if you commit to promising something for the future make sure you follow through.
  6. Don’t worry about how they might respond. Know that you are influencing your kids in a positive way, even if they don’t realise it in the moment.
  7. Tell them that you love them.
  8. Don’t put pressure on them, criticise them or project your expectations.
  9. Have they got somewhere to keep their letters?

List #2 – Questions to inspire ideas to include in your letter:

  1. What do your kids love doing?
  2. What have you seen that you liked about what your kids did?
  3. What’s something you enjoyed about your time together recently?
  4. What’s something you are looking forward to?
  5. What are you proud of?
  6. What’s something that means a lot to you?
  7. Look back at photos from your most recent time together.
  8. What do you wish you had heard from your parents?
  9. What promises and commitments do you want to make to your children?

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Where’s letter IX? I missed a week…

Letter IX should have dropped into your inbox by now, but it’s not ready yet.

I noticed my time slipping over the past few weeks…this has happened before.

  • Week 1 – Letter is ready to go for Friday.
  • Week 2 – I’m still writing it on Friday
  • Week 3 – Letter goes out on Saturday
  • Week 4 – Letter slips into the next week

I’m not going to let it derail me. I’m going to find a win instead.

I’m going to get back to my original schedule of publishing on a Wednesday evening.

Letter IX is drafted now and I just need to get it into Mailchimp for sending out on Wednesday.

Now I have a chance to really catch up with myself and have letter X ready in advance for sending out next Wednesday.

DFTBA!

Chris.

New writing schedule

Today I start a new writing schedule – something more realistic that I’ll have more chance of being successful with.

I really want to write in the morning, which means I’ve moved the start of my ‘working day’ to 10am on a Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

Even if I get up at 5am, I still can’t really do any work between 6am and 8:15am – this is the time when everyone is getting ready for school and work.

I’ll spend the early morning writing an entry in my journal, and then spend time with my family up until everyone goes to work/school.

From 8:15am I will write, have a short break and then start my ‘job’ at 10am.

This already feels better and more manageable.

Let’s see how it goes.

Where’s letter V?

Well…I’ve taken a few weeks off from publishing a letter to spend more time on bringing a few thoughts and ideas together.

I’ve also been struggling to find a flow in a few topics that I’ve been writing about. I’ve been writing every day, but nothing feels quite ready for a letter. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of my process.

So, after 4 weeks of sending out a letter on a weekly basis, I’ve learned how much work I want to put into these letters, and maybe I won’t always been in a position to send a letter every single week.

That being said, I think there’s a little perfectionism going on here, and I’m putting too much pressure on myself. Thinking back to why I started this letter in the first place – I knew that I would have some challenges a long the way. That’s exactly why I started this project – to challenge myself to write more, and find out what I’m capable of.

This is my first major challenge, and I know that I need to break through it to get better.

What I’m saying is that I haven’t disappeared, I’m still thinking about this project and you every day.

Thanks for your support so far 🙂

DFTBA!

Chris.

My book idea has been staring me in the face…

At the start of the year I committed to my good friend Stef that I would come up with a core idea for a book by March.

Part of the process to figure out what the book might be was to start these weekly letters. Something to push me to write with purpose each day.

Thanks to Cara for pointing out that my book idea has been staring me right in the face.

It’s these letters!

In July 2019, roughly six months after publishing my first letter, I will begin to revisit all of my letters and get them ready for a book.

I’d love to be in a position to publish my first book late 2019/early 2020.