I wager that you own a mobile phone or device on which you send SMS messages everyday. Have you ever stopped to think about how many words you text?
According to a Baylor University study covered by Janice Wood in “College Students In Study Spend 8 to 10 Hours Daily on Cell Phone,” college students spend an average of 94.6 minutes texting per day. Considering that the average rate of texting is 38-40 words per minute, according to TextMagic, you might be writing upwards of 3,700 words per day. That’s likely a gross overestimate. To write 1,000 words per day, however, seems more logical.
After I deleted my social media accounts, I found an app called SLOWLY which, to many, is a different social media platform. It’s a pen-pal app designed to bring letter-writing to a virtual space. SLOWLY is aptly named, as letters are delayed in their delivery based on the distance between the sender and recipient. For example, a SLOWLY letter from my home in the Czech Republic to Spain can take 6 hours to deliver.
This type of correspondence might seem counter-intuitive amidst the fast-paced social environment of 2019. For me, it’s a breath of fresh air. I’ve found that the letters I write and receive have a lot of substance. When you can only exchange a couple messages with someone per day, each one is well-thought-out. Plus, the value of good grammar rises.
On average, my letters are 400 words in length. I usually send two or three letters per day which means that I write a minimum of 800 words per day using the SLOWLY app. Couple that with WhatsApp and I definitely reach the 1,000 daily word count.
Unless you’re a writer, you probably don’t see any value in a daily word quota. Really, it’s not about the number but good written communication is a valuable skill and not likely to depreciate anytime soon, personally or professionally.
The ability to write is the ability to organize your thoughts. As such, it instills self-discipline and self-awareness. Since I started sending letters daily, I’ve seen enhanced fluidity in my writing and, consequently, in my thinking.
But it’s not just about me! It’s about my companion! The beauty of letter-writing is in the reciprocity. And it’s not a passive exchange; that’s the key. Somehow, only with words, you and your partner are actively involved in each other’s lives. It’s a unique and yet simple human connection that we’re hard-pressed to find among our follower lists.
So, this week, I challenge you to write a letter, whether to a friend, a family member, a stranger, or yourself. Heck, write to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I always respond!
If you want to learn how to make writing a habit, I recommend “Why A Daily Writing Habit Improves Your Life” by Darius Foroux.