This summer I had the idea to start a mailing list. I made a list of 25 family and friends that I thought might want to receive mail from me and sent them a letter (see a recap of Letter #1 here). I received a significant amount of positive feedback from the first letter and added 20 new subscribers through word-of-mouth, so I decided to keep the mailing list going for at least one more letter.
For Letter #2, I decided to feature an interesting little contest I ran on Reddit this past Spring. The contest challenged the fountain pens subreddit to illustrate stories authored by the six word stories subreddit. Prizes were provided by Appelboom, an online pen retailer, and were awarded randomly to participants. The contest resulted in 35 illustrated six word stories in fountain pen ink.
With each letter I send to my mailing list, I like to include something physical that can’t be sent via email. So I hired a calligrapher to pen some of the best six word stories that were illustrated for the contest and included one with each letter. The stories were penned by James Fajardo (@himasf on Instagram) using white watercolor on black paper.
I dropped these cards in the mail the other day along with the following handwritten note explaining the contest.
Part of this mailing list project has to do with my penmanship practice; something I’ve been working on every day for over a year. Handwriting the letter is a great exercise because it forces me to create a complete work of penmanship that other people will see and judge.
I also want to be creative with this project. How many people have an actual mailing list outside of holiday cards and direct mail marketing? I might as well try some crazy ideas and see if something sticks. As you can see with the Six Word Stories contest, I am interested in the power of communities to crowdsource ideas and content. I intend to find some creative ways to explore this concept with my mailing list subscribers in the future.