The years I worked in libraries, I was perfectly fine after being handed a greeting card to sign. I felt no real pressure to write something brilliant, witty or definitively unique. But since I began working full-time as a writer, and now as a freelancer, it’s a secret shame of mine that on most occasions I can barely squeeze out “Congratulations on your new job!” or “Have fun on your birthday!” or “Bon voyage!”
Every year when Christmas card time rolls around, I am determined to have them done by the post office mailing deadline – complete with accompanying letters. Yesterday, I finally mailed cards and packages. I confess, they were bereft of their annual Christmas letter, but I did manage to personalize each card.
As soon as I pick up the pen and open the card, I experience instant writer’s block. Despite my deepest wish to write something meaningful, clever and compelling about what a particular family member or friend means to me at this most wonderful time of the year, every word I ever knew simply vanishes from my brain. Assign me a 700-word blog post, a 14-page white paper or an email blast campaign with a really tight deadline, no problem. That I can do.
But I was lucky if one card clocked in under 45 minutes! (In my defense, that did include addressing the envelope and applying festive stickers.) Part of the problem, is living life as a writer – writer’s write and as fodder for the Christmas letter, it’s not. No one wants to hear about sitting in front of your computer for hours at a time churning out brilliant prose for clients. Hence, this year’s lack of letters in my Christmas card envelopes.
I finally settled on a compromise. It might not be brilliant writing; compelling original copy; or even the slightest bit humorous, but it is my way of saying, “Hello there! I’m thinking about you at Christmas and wishing you all the best for the New Year!