Friday, May 28, 2010

All the best...um, wishes for an, um...

I am a writer. I churn out brochures, newsletters, magazine stories, books, speeches, news releases, citations, web content, and blog posts.

What I can't write is a simple message on a greeting card.

At the office, they pass around cards for birthdays, babies, retirements, illnesses. All I need to do is jot a quick greeting and sign my name. You know, "Have a great one!" or "We'll miss you!" or "Feel better soon." But by the time it gets to me, all the good ones are taken. Or I'm first and I just know everyone else will judge what I've written.

Oh no, I can't do this. I'll just set it down for a minute and come back to it. An hour later somebody wants to know where the card for Suzie is because we need to keep it moving.

For the past three weeks, I've had this card sitting on my desk at home. I chose the photo and printed it on a large matte greeting card. Then I said to my hubby, "We need to write a wedding message to Nick and Molly."

In fairness, I've already written three...one for a printed coupon from the Honeyfund site, where I choose a small portion of their trip to China to support as our gift. A second message in a card that went around the office. A third in a notebook where we each wrote "advice" for a happy marriage, as if we know more about it than they do. But none of those messages said what I really want to say.

These two are smart and funny and conscientious and kind. They are great together and good for each other. We are nearly as excited about their wedding as we were about our daughter's. There, I've typed it. It's not that I don't know what I want to say...maybe it's that I can no longer think with a pen in my hand.

Which is funny, if true, because when I first tried to compose at the typewriter, I could. not. do. it. I wrote college compositions by hand on notebook paper and then typed them. Tonight I'll do the reverse. I'll copy my typed sentiments into the card by hand, and we'll sign our names. Crisis averted.

22 comments:

Cheryl said...

I have the same problem! It drives me beserk. Even before blogging, I finally resorted to typing something up on the computer and like you, found it worked like a charm.

Have a fantabulous time at their wedding!

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Nancy, I feel your pain. Only time I ever get writer's block. Grrr. Indigo

@eloh said...

In my past working life... whatever we did had to be documented... I found that I could get good sleep in front of a typewriter... my hands did all the work... they could even spell words that I couldn't!

Kat said...

Very pretty card.

DJan said...

Long ago I kept a journal, writing by hand, and it felt so good. The other day I had to write a note by hand and felt crippled! I'm so accustomed to the keyboard now that I think I've forgotten penmanship! I can relate.

Emma said...

I, too, feel the pressure of greeting cards. I spend waaaaay too long in the card aisles at Target trying to find the perfect card.

Jeanie said...

I think because you are a writer you want what you say on the card to be more than a cliche. I love that you found your words on the keyboard.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Of course I'm not the writer you are, but I can relate. I have to word process my thoughts first before copying them to a card.

I suppose our grandkids will just send e-cards (or, yikes, text messages) and be done with it.

Allyson said...

This is a phenomenon that is simply puzzling to me. First of all, my entire family reads my blog and consider me to be one of the best writers in the family. So, every time I have to write in a card or in a guest book at a beach house, I feel like I'm under a crap ton of pressure to churn out the most perfect expression of our week's enjoyment. I will crush under pressure. I would make a very bad bridge. But if I can type it...it works. My written journal by my bed is spotty and not all that witty. My blog, by comparison, is lightyears better. And, like you, I wrote all of my papers by hand and THEN typed them. I have no idea how this happened but at least you've made me more aware that it's not just me and I'm not on this crazytrain by myself. So, thanks for that. ;)

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you and your family!!

Everyday Kathy said...

I have a tough time with this, (and Love letters) too! Always wanting to be all witty or something... good job figuring it out!

grammy said...

I am so bad at writing in a card
especially a sympathy card
I am reading 'Home Safe' by Elisabeth Berg
the main character is a writer with writer block (o:

lesinfin said...

I didn't realize so many people suffer from greeting-card anxiety! I avoid those cards that get passed around the office like the plague!
In the end, I just end up signing my name with a smiley face and a flower.

Have a wonderful weekend!
xoxo

Ms Sparrow said...

I did a 120-pg cookbook with family anecdotes and recipes. I gave them to 27 friends and relatives. When it came time to write a personal message in each, I couldn't think of anything appropriate to say.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Wow, Ms. Sparrow, I think that is the perfect story to illustrate this point! And I thank lesinfin for putting a name to this phenomenon: Greeting-Card Anxiety. Maybe the AMA will declare it a disease and the big pharmaceutical companies will develop a pill for it. (Not that I'd take it, of course.)

FabuLeslie said...

So funny. Look how useful blogging is! On so many levels. Who knew?

LadyFi said...

Sounds like a great message! Love the lilacs.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I do mostly custom cards too..I believe they are more personal..yours is lovely BTW.
I usually write some thing out on a blank piece of paper and set it on my desk for a few days and them transfer it to the card..usually in pencil..talk about pressure:(

CatLadyLarew said...

You have spoken for millions of us who go brain dead as soon as the communal card is put into our hands!

Katie Gates said...

Hi Nancy, Stopping by through the WOW site. I relate! I also am a writer by trade, but I never, ever approach a card without my note already drafted! I think it's because there's no delete key, and those of us who take pride in our wordsmithing have especially strong relationships with our delete keys!

Kitty Moore said...

Phew! Well done - have fun at the wedding!

Krista said...

I am *terrible* at dreaming up sentiments for greeting cards. It looks like lots of people share this affliction!

Christine said...

It sounds like you just might do very close to what I do for a living! How interesting and fun.

I actually LOVE to make cards, but I'm with you, I struggle with the messages that go into them. But the funny thing is, I usually have lots of mushy stuff to say, I'm just always worried that the other person will find it weird or overboard. I'm a mushy kind of person, free to express my feelings. Do you suppose people like that or, or are they turned off by it?

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