Back in late June I decided to participate in the 30 Day Letter Challenge, where I would write a letter to someone that had touched my life directly or indirectly every day for 30 days. The people to be written to are predetermined by the creator of the challenge. I broke up what was meant to be done in 30 consecutive days into months since I figured that none of my readers would want to read only my letters for a month. Here we are three months later and I have stopped at letter eighteen out of thirty. I am choosing to abort the mission, but I have learned some valuable lessons along the way.
I am a quitter.
Well, it’s true since I am quitting the challenge and leaving it hanging at with my last letter at Day Eighteen. My reason for stopping is that the challenge became stale. The letters in the beginning of the challenge are to people who really mean something in our lives and they become more and more obscure as you go along. It has gotten to the point where I cannot find anything inspired to say to the people the letters are to be written to. It’s time to be a quitter.
Getting things out in the open is cathartic.
One of my early letters was to my younger brother, who took his own life in 1998. Writing that letter was extremely hard, but after I had finished I felt lighter, with a sense of ease I hadn’t had in a while. I found that even if you never deliver the letter, writing out the way you feel is therapeutic and healing.
Nobody wants to read other people’s letters.
Okay, that’s not completely true. I did have a high readership on several of my letters, including the letter to my crush (Day Two) and my letter to a deceased person I wish I could talk to (Day Eleven). However, I had significantly reduced traffic to my blog on the days I posted the others. It seems that this challenge might be a good thing to do on one’s own, but not everyone is particularly interested in reading them.
Letters are a lost art.
As I went along in the challenge I realize that it’s been a very long time since I’ve sat down and written an actual letter to anyone. When I was in junior high and high school I was an avid letter writer, but nowadays a quick email is the best I do. It felt good to sit down and craft heartfelt letters to people who have touched my life in one way or another. Even though I am stopping the challenge, it has reminded me how important letters of appreciation and adoration are.
In the end I am glad I attempted the 30 Day Letter Challenge, but I feel no guilt for not completing it. I enjoyed the exploration and the insight it brought, but am looking forward to using the blog space for more universally readable posts. Thank you to everyone who read my letters and I hope they inspired you to write a few of your own.