I've got to explain that I am not the most organised person, in my usual life. In fact I shy away from too much organisation... as if it is a house of cards and if I forget one thing, the whole lot will come tumbling down. I'm an Aries, and we are one of those rare types that actually like change, so too much routine gets under my skin. Sometimes I wish I could have better routines or be more organised, but this is just the way I am - no use fighting it!
Yet, no sooner had I decided to get seriously into letter-writing than I started to get organised. The very first thing was an address book. I hadn't bothered to have one for a few years. Afterall, I had everyone's phone numbers stored in my mobile, everyone's email address stored in my gmail list of contacts, and if all else failed there was always facebook. I didn't bother storing mailing addresses - I'd just txt whoever I wanted to write to and ask their address. Sometimes I had to do this over and over!
Yet now I have a pretty little address book - it's covered in a liberty print and ties up with a blue ribbon - and I update it regularly with addresses of new penfriends. It feels like a little treasure trove. There are people in there who I imagine exchanging letters with for many years to come.
My next organisational tool was a little blank notebook where I record incoming and outgoing mail. Incoming is in the front of the book, and outgoing is in the back. I don't put a new date every day (too much organisation for me) but I divide it up into months. Sometimes i just list the person's name, sometimes it's a name and a general location. For postcrossing cards I record the first name and state or country of the sender.
In my outgoing, I list people who I am intending to write to, and then put a tick beside their name as the letter is sent. Right now I have about a week's worth of letter recipients listed in my outgoing without ticks beside them yet. It keeps me motivated to keep on writing.
So, when I receive a letter, I note it down in my incoming, and then I add the author straight onto my outgoing list, so that I write back to them before too long. Then I put the letter on my pile of 'letters to be answered'. Once a letter has been answered, the original letter goes into the top drawer of my chest of drawers.
As my drawer gets full, I'm thinking that I will bundle letters up with ribbon and then store them in shoe boxes under my bed. Well, that's the plan for now... I may change my mind before I get to that.
Some of my quirks:
- I can't write straight back. Each letter has to go on my 'letters to be answered pile' for at least a couple of days.
- I have to answer letters in the order I received them.
- If my list of people I'm planning to write to starts to get too short - say down to about three - I go looking for new people to write to.
- I am religious about checking my post office box and my home letterbox every weekday (no post on weekends).
- I have to post at least one letter each weekday, and I have to try to put new postcrossing cards in the mail within 24 hours of receiving the address.
Love from Kaz