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The Artistry of the Hand-Written Word

The Artistry of the Hand-Written Word

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By William Oliver Hedgepeth, Sr.
Online Career Tips Contributor and Program Director, Government Contracts and Acquisition at American Public University

The Artistry of the Hand-Written NoteI recently wrote nine thank you cards, by hand, with ink, on blank paper cards. I did this after wrapping up a session with members of an advisory council where industry professionals shared their advice for the next steps in improving my academic programs and courses.

Each thank you card was carefully worded as those words were being written by hand and not typed in a Microsoft Word document or email. I am not referring to a card from a retail store, where the words are already written and you simply need to sign it.

It is so easy to write this little essay as Word keeps my grammar and spelling in check. But write on paper and you have to know a bit more on where the sentence is headed. It is amazing what happens to your thinking when you are determined to spend the few minutes to remember what a person did for you and what you want to remind them of in regards to their words or deeds. You want to paint a picture with words, a short story of sorts of how that person is being acknowledged.

Accept the Challenge of Writing a Note

Try your hand at writing a thank you note by hand, not on the laptop, and not as an email. Write 137 words in ink.

You will find that you have written a wrong word, maybe used an “of” instead of an “on.” Now you have to read that half sentence again, pause, and find a way to make the sentence whole with that errant word. Then you surprise yourself with a new meaning to that sentence. Such is the nature of the art of writing.

Put that card in a paper envelope with a stamp. Then put the mailing address on it. Now the return address: do you have some of those free address labels from the Red Cross or March of Dimes handy? So many choices to make.

Next time you have an encounter with someone from work, pen a thank you note. Just do it. Write one today; just one thank you to someone. See what you feel and think about writing and about how you think about those few sentences penned by hand.

Let me know what you find out about yourself. You may be surprised.

About the Author

Dr. Oliver Hedgepeth is the program director for the Government Contracting and Acquisition programs at American Public University System. He is the former program director of Reverse Logistics Management and Transportation and Logistics Management. Prior to joining APUS, Dr. Hedgepeth was as a tenured associate professor of Logistics at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and chair of the Logistics Department. His book, RFID Metrics, was published in 2007 by CRC Press and is in revision.

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