You’ve got (actual) mail!

You’ve got (actual) mail!

How do you feel when you receive a handwritten letter?

It’s been studied and proven that handwriting helps you cope with depression and improve its symptoms, aids handling loss, and is mentally beneficial as it allows you to process emotion and have a mindful moment. We all know of the zen state we can reach when journaling or writing a letter to a loved one. I mean, we are Scribes. *self high five*

But how does the recipient feel? What’s that magical moment of opening the envelope, listening to the crisp paper unfold and take in the message that someone took time out of their own busy lives to share with you, only you?

When I moved to the UK I was amazed by the fact a huge percentage of people STILL sends actual physical Christmas cards. And birthday cards. And just cards to celebrate a milestone or to bring sender and receiver that little bit closer. I have discovered postcrossing (I’ve told you about that too), and I’m continuing to fall back in love with the “lost” art of handwriting. So I’m very much on both ends of the mail exchange. So I think I know how to talk about this.

I have received a letter from a friend last week. I was not expecting it. This new friend of mine folded her letter EXACTLY like I folded my letter when I was a teen, without knowing. She sealed it with some wax seal (oh my heart!) and within the page wrote emotions, jokes and shared moments with me. How did I feel? Elated. Warm. Like I matter to someone, even if they are so far away!

That is the main thing with a handwritten letter or note: it’s a token of someone’s time that you get to cherish and save. The special connection and feeling you had by opening and reading that piece of paper. Not a text stored in a cloud somewhere or an email you’ve found good enough to download and save in a hard drive, but something physical kept in a special place for you. Even if that special place is the fridge door where you display the love note your love left this morning, or the handmade birthday card your kids gave you last year.

In my mom’s house, there’s a note that embodies one of the most happy memories I have of my birthday: a single groceries list, where I, at the top, wrote “I love you” as a cute joke with my mom and that then members of my family, on the party, added in several languages “me too”. Now, every time I enter my suburban flat’s kitchen I smile at the “Eu também. Moi aussi. Me too. Y yo.”.

This feeling we get, when reading what a pen left on a paper by someone dear, triggered me to search for public displays of emotion after receiving Inkpact handwritten notes.

They are tricky to find (if you do find more than the ones I mention here, please send them my way! It’s thrilling to read them!) but I managed to discover a couple that hopefully will also leave your heart pumping with smiles.

  1. This lovely man on Twitter, referred to the note we sent back in 2018 as an “amazing thing to come home to.” He went on to, within the 120-character count of the platform at the time, say the unusual gesture elevates the brand, which also makes us proud!
  2. In a recent campaign to drivers from a well-known transport company, one particular recipient has resorted to the hug emoji to display his happiness at the card mailed to him!
  3. One of our more recent clients has also shared direct messages they’ve received from corporate gifting campaigns that are always accompanied by one of our lovely handwritten notes:
    • “(…) You made my day today, with an unexpected and very pleasant surprise. Thank you so much, it was the perfect day to receive such an uplifting token”
    • “You guys are so thoughtful and professional; you always keep impressing me!”
    • “Wanted to send a quick thank you note for the sweetest surprise package I received yesterday. You guys sure know how to make us feel special during this crazy time”

I guess it’s safe to say every time we write a note, or a letter, from a place of love and kindness, the energy will be carried within the paper and land on the recipient’s heart ready to make them feel loved, cherished and part of a bond that’s stronger than a quick Whatsapp message.

Speaking of these new technologies, yes, it is far easier and quicker to message someone, even make it personal by adding a voice note. But is there such a feeling that can replace seeing a letter arrive by post with your name on it and the expectation with the story that lies within? I don’t think so.

I usually end our newsletters with a “catch phrase” of sorts. And given the love, kindness and thoughtfulness we can share with our handwriting, I think it’s appropriate to use it here too:

Now let’s go save the world, one handwritten letter at a time.

Tania, Community Manager

My pens and my devotion

My pens and my devotion

From Parker to Bic, what do I write with?

The one thing that all of us at the Scribe Tribe have in common is definitely our love for stationery and handwriting. We may have been told we have nice handwriting, and feel good about it, but the real kicker in the feels is when we get a new pen/set of stationery.

I think we were all that kid that dreaded the end of Summer holidays but craved the trip to get new supplies for the new school year, and no matter how high or low we were in the economic bracket, a new pen/pencil/notebook was just something we needed. And let’s be honest, craved.

So, my love for pens and stationery started young. I never really got why a free pen would be something someone wanted, because, to me, buying a pen is a special moment. Selecting which type to go for. Roller tip, gel, fountain. The size of the writing we will do with it (my personal favourite are pens 0.5 or 0.7 even, but funnily enough the one I use now is 0.3!). The colour. Apart from being 9yo and NEEDING every colour on the rainbow, we all know there’s more to ink colour than black vs blue. The list is endless.

Sure, we need practical pens to keep around the house, bags, backpacks, etc, for when we need to scribble something at the last minute. But all the times we purposely sit down to write are all the more pleasurable if we have our favourite pen between our fingers.

I’ve always had a soft spot for gel pens. But some papers can’t take it and will smudge faster than a Fox Terrier will lift their head at the word “ball”! And I only use my Parker pen for Inkpact jobs, anyway. So, here’s my go to personal collection at the moment:

 

Platinum Preppy Fountainpen

This baby is translucent, you can see the ink cartridge inside, you can see the discs where the ink rolls to the metal tip. It glides effortlessly. I have a Sepia colour cartridge in. Is there a more satisfying thing on a fountain pen? My everyday notes are written with it. Not the scribbles. The actual notes. The addresses on non-Inkpact jobs’ envelopes. The letters to my friends and family.

It was gifted to me last year by my boyfriend and even though it’s a 0.3 instead of my preferred thicker line, I can’t get enough of it, and am dreading this last Sepia cartridge finishes!

 

Kaweco Sport Fountainpen

Another gift from boyfriend from a couple of years back, that I enjoyed so much, I went out and bought another of the same model, in a different colour!

I now own 2, a baby blue with blue ink and a grey with dark grey ink. Both of which are used for journaling and letter writing.

Talk about feeling love for a pen! These ones are so nice to hold, the ink is constant, no drips or smudges, the detail on the tips are magical, and I really think I will add more of these to my collection.

 

Frixion Ball Slim 0.38

Stolen from boyfriend’s bag, these pens are magical! They are erasable, and perfect for fast writing and note taking. Since he bought these for himself, they are a little too slim for me, but nothing beats the way they write and how fast you can erase if you need to change something. I have one in black, red and sepia. Not enough!

These are not great for postcards or official anything, as the ink is also heat sensitive, so easily erased by leaving the paper in the sun. But for my acting classes, or other classes, where I need to scribble down fast and make sure I can touch the paper right after? Perfect!

 

BIC Velocity Gel 0.7

Oh my. These have been on my pen case for decades. My go to pen and preferred for comfort writing. I have said it before, I have a soft spot for gel pens, and BIC knows how to do the most amazing everyday pen. Speaking of which, I’m down to my last one: must. Buy. More.

 

BIC Orange Original Fine Ballpoint Pens Fine Point

Another staple that has been a part of my life, and I believe (at least) every (Portuguese) child! Simple. Reliable. Effective. Don’t change what’s already working, am I right? These pens have been around for decades! And nothing beats the easy writing you can do with them. All my postcards for postcrossing are done with these. That’s how reliable I know they are.

Phew, now that’s a list! And it’s ever changing. I do enjoy trying new pens, seeing what my hand prefers at that moment, and always give a nice test drive to any new pen bought, gifted, found or borrowed!

I’d love to know more about your favourite pens, and what writing you do with them, so let me know! I’d say write a comment, but I’d also be willing to get a nice handwritten note *wink*.

Tania, Community Manager

Letters are the present, not the past

Letters represent the present, not the past

Domizia, our very own Business Development Representative shares why she is in love with handwritten letters. After reading, you will fall in love too.

I hear many people say that letters are something of the past – something my grandparents were using to share their love in times of war. We are so fed with the thought that technology today is the new sole way of communication between people or a community.

Well, you will then be surprised that I’m 24 and I still use letters to write and communicate with my family, some friends, and my lover. In a way, I feel like the world has gone back to my grandparents’ time. People used to leave their families, leave their partners to find a job in a faraway country.

Well, now it’s same. Most people from my generation have to leave their family to study or find a job abroad. We find a partner coming from the other side of the world. And in such a distance online messages do not really convey how much you care for that person. And they are definitely not something you can keep in a memory box.

The letter from Domizia’s mom

I have one with so, so many letters! My mum sending me money abroad with a little message. My friend sending me a letter to apologise and express how much she values our friendship after a big fight. My partner sending me a letter for Valentine’s day.

You see, letters are not a mean of the past. They are the present. They are the best way to express your emotions and convey your feelings to the reader. They are a true human mean of communication.

The look of the card, the smell of the paper, the handwriting style, the thumbprints on the envelope. These are “parts” of the sender that will stay with the receiver forever and make the relationship special. We don’t write letters only for the message itself, but for all the human factors and senses that it involves. The creation of a correspondence of amorous senses.

When was the last time you wrote a personal letter to a beloved one?

Domizia Di Maggio - Business Development Representative at Inkpact

What not to do during a pandemic

What not to do during a pandemic

From the 18th to the 24th of May it’s Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. And what a time to remind ourselves to check up on our mental health!

In the midst of a pandemic we are surrounded by rules, and expectations we sometimes have no idea where they came from or even who set them.

We know, or at least are trying to understand, government guidelines. We stayed at home. We washed our hands. We had the unbelievable gift of time bestowed upon (most of) us. But what does all that mean in reality?

And then, the “outside” expectations. Social media connecting us all, and making us all feel so incredibly useless and like we’re failing. And keeping us so busy all the time, most of us are not processing our feelings and thoughts about the state of the world.

How? Well, read on…

Early on, it started with all these online free classes that started to take place. Gym owners, PTs, dancers, gym aficionados, all left out of jobs, decided to take their gifts online, and a new form of exercise came to be: Zoom classes and Instagram lives of all sorts. From Yoga to HIIT, boxing and ballet, you name it! And we enrolled them all.

Then came the bread-making. It turns out sourdough is not that hard to bake, and there’s something lovely about eating bread you made yourself. Not to speak of the wonders of watching dough rise. Yep, we have time, don’t we? Anything but staying alone with our thoughts.

Soon after, haircuts, new gardening skills, books checked out of the to-read lists (even if we can’t remember the storyline all that well), and creative writing. All the plays, poems, stories, we felt we needed to start and perhaps didn’t really want to finish. I mean, art comes from the heart, and that little honey is a bit mangled right now.

Not to mention, we are probably feeling like we watched ALL of Netflix by now.

And still… at the end of the day, we are still left feeling overwhelmed, afraid and unbalanced. We have not processed all of this. And you know what? That is ALRIGHT!

The sooner you realise you have NOTHING to prove to anyone, not now, not when the pandemic is over, the better it is for you and your mental health.

So, don’t feel like you need to declutter your closet and be all Marie Kondo. Or learn a new language, read all the books you own plus the ones you can afford to get delivered. Or write a novel. Also, and this may come as a shock to you, you don’t need to participate in yet another Zoom quiz night!

You can take things at your pace. You can read, if you feel like it, or listen to some amazing audiobooks if you can’t concentrate on the pages, or even, ditch the book and try meditating for the first time in over 50 years of living (there are some gorgeous apps and Youtube videos to help you get started).

You can have a cup of tea by the window, getting some sun (and vitamin D! Just please, wear sunscreen. Seriously, I could do a whole other post on how much you ALWAYS need sunscreen!), listen to your favourite song paying attention to instruments you may not even know are there (I recently found a little cymbal in Bohemian Rapsody I SWEAR has never been there before) or you can simply call your mom and have a nice chat or share recipes and funny stories from growing up.

Just take time. To be with who you choose to be with. To be with you. To be.

And now that we are slowly easing out into some sort of normalcy, please remember to check in on anxiety levels. More people outside can be a trigger, and a concern and we should all, as much as possible, still be inside. I won’t stop hammering this: it’s ok to not be as productive as you think everyone else is being. It’s ok to take things at your own pace. As the famous saying goes: You do you, boo.

And just as a closer, and to remind you to be forgiving and keep your mental health in check, here’s some advice I picked up from this article:

  1. Asking for help isn’t weakness
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Hard work isn’t a cure
  4. Processing takes time
  5. Shame doesn’t get the final word
  6. We’re ALL adjusting

We are all adjusting. We are all together. We all are.

Tania, Community Manager