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Pen Pals With Pens, #InCoWriMo

January 25, 2017 , , , , ,

The month of February, known for Valentine cards, is also the month for #InCoWriMo, international correspondence writing month.  I have started a bullet journal to switch at least some of my writing to my own hand, but I am slow getting started on that project.  I heavily rely on digital media to both send and receive everything. When I discovered this challenge to send or hand deliver one hand written note, postcard, or card each day for the month of February I was nostalgic for my old pen pal of childhood.  My pen pal lived in England and was also a Brownie Scout. Many of my fellow scouts burned out fast on writing letters, but I stayed in touch with mine for several years.  I started sending letters to Ann of England around second grade and carried on until about sixth, I think.  I remember the gifts she sent me at Christmas, but I don’t remember what I sent her.  I know there was an effort to make the gift represent America somehow.  I also was forced to write to my grandparents and send thank you notes to anyone who gave me anything or invited me to go anywhere.  I had to write a legal pad page of cursive every day at my father’s orders because I got a C in handwriting in school, which was not acceptable.  I hated doing that intensely, but I adored buying fancy stationery and writing to my pen pal.  I think I can revive the excitement by writing by and to people all over the world next month.

I know some dedicated print and mail specialists who make sure they stay active by sending letters and snail mail. My friend Marc Zazeela, @MZazeela, has been a logistics and shipping expert for his entire professional career.  He knows all there is to know about sending anything anywhere at the best rate.  He serves commercial and international clients, but is a strong proponent of sending handwritten notes.  Hellen Rittersporn, @HELENSstudio, writes a wonderful blog all about letterwritting called Anchored Scraps in which she stays current with stamps, pens, history of correspondence and more.  She is naturally on board for the February challenge, and has written this very informative piece on the subject.

There are many famous folks who want to receive letters, such as the Postmaster General of the United States.  Many more of us not so famous people have set the intention of finishing this challenge by publishing our mailing addresses on the site for sharing.  The website and e mail reminders you will receive when you sign up are very helpful and inspirational.  They have designed a planning calendar to help you design a strategy, or just fill your dance card:

2017 calendar InCoWriMo

2017 calendar InCoWriMo

Now there is a crustacean on instagram running a contest associated with the program.  countcrustaceo is running a contest to make things more interesting.  Now you can’t say this is not fun:

View this post on Instagram

InCoGiveAway! Use Your Pens! Prize: Lord Windermere's semi-evil half-brother, Count Crustáceo de Cozumel! That's right folks, Lord Windy's villainous half-brother is looking for a new home after a near-boiling experience off the coast of Maine. He is fully recovered, easy to care for, and promises to help you take over the woooorld – bwahahaha! But wait – there's more! Count Crustáceo comes with his very own Instagram account, @countcrustaceo – #ohyeah See a recent photo of The Count at To enter this random draw contest, just… 1. Be sure you are following: @incowrimo 2. Record a video of yourself using a pen to write InCoWriMo. You can use a fountain pen, a ballpoint pen, a dip pen, even a crayon – it doesn't matter. Use whatever you like. Write in cursive or block letters or calligraphy or even hieroglyphics – just have fun! 3. Post your video to your own Instagram account using the tag @incowrimo and the hashtags #incowrimo and #writeincowrimo That's it. Quick and easy! Contest Begins: Now Contest Ends: 11:59pm Pacific on January 31, 2017 A random winner will be selected from all eligible entries and announced on February 1st (to kick off InCoWriMo). This contest is open to anyone and everyone, worldwide – but you need to be at least 13 years old and have an Instagram account. — #incowrimo #incowrimo2017 #snailmail #fpgeeks #fpn #letterwriting #penaddict #fountainpen #penpals #handwriting #snailmail #snailmailrevolution #happymail #giveaway @gourmetpens — This giveaway is in no way sponsored by, administered by or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, you confirm that you are at least 13 years of age, that you release Instagram of any responsibility, and that you agree to Instagram's terms of use.

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Writing and mailing letters certainly takes more effort than communicating digitally. Your efforts are usually noticed. Who doesn’t enjoy the surprise of a real handwritten, or typed letter?


Marc Zazeela

January 26, 2017

So, you are the last person I wrote to on my mom’s vintage postcards …how many years ago??? and those were drawings, I did not even write. So I am writing to you in February. If Carla wants a letter than i can knock off another day on the calendar. It is not just about Valentine’s any more…


Pamela Morse

January 26, 2017

I remember having a pen pal. I would write letters and if I was lucky I would get a reply 3-4 weeks later. It took FOREVER it seemed to get mail. I like sending handwritten notes. I did thank you notes very often…. but heard little back. It’s so easy to call someone or email them now. And might be faster too . I like to send cards with a short note inside because those are things I tend to keep mysefl.
nice ideas though to write a hand-penned letter!


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

January 30, 2017

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