Inspiration comes to us in all shapes and sizes, from everywhere, all around us.
It can even come in the mail. About a year ago I stumbled on a special thing called Postcrossing. It’s this wonderful program that allows you to send and receive postcards from all over the world. Since joining, I have received over 150 postcards from over 30 different countries across the globe. Every card is a surprise, one I happily look forward to when opening my mailbox.
Here is a postcard I received when I first started Postcrossing, and it remains my favorite card to date:
This card is from Germany, and for some reason it speaks to me. Every time I look at it, I am inspired. So far I have written two short stories and the outline of a novel based on this card. And the ideas just keep coming!
Other postcards have inspired me too. They show me places I’ve never seen or even heard of in some cases. Some show art from other countries, and some are photographs. I never know what to expect, and each one has something new to offer me.
For example, look at the beautiful scene pictured in this card from Taiwan. I’m imagining a village celebration, or a romantic evening on the lake, a midnight picnic…the ideas are endless.
So what is Postcrossing exactly? And how can you get started? It’s absurdly simple.
First, visit the website at http://www.postcrossing.com/. Read a little about the project, and sign up to create your account.
Second, fill out your profile. Tell the world a little about yourself and some of the things you like. Other Postcrossers can read this and get a better idea of what kind of postcard to send you.
Third, request an address from the website. The site will randomly select an address from its database to tell you where you’ll be sending your postcard.
Fourth, mail the postcard. Make sure not to forget to include the Postcrossing ID number (you’ll be given one when you request an address). This will allow the person who receives your postcard to acknowledge that they received your card.
Fifth, wait to receive a postcard of your own! Once a user has received your postcard and entered the ID number, you will be eligible to receive a postcard in return from another user.
Sixth, when you receive your postcard, enter the ID number on the website. You’ll also be able to write a brief message to the person who sent you the postcard if you wish. I usually send a short thank you and answer any questions they might have asked me.
And that’s it!
Once you’ve done those steps, just repeat. When you’re first starting out, you can only send out five postcards at a time. But the more you send, the more that number will increase! Before you know it, you’ll be receiving weekly inspiration from all corners of the world in your mailbox!
Have you tried Postcrossing? What has been your experience with it so far? You can look me up on Postcrossing here.