I don’t know a soul who would deny that a letter in the mailbox from an old friend can turn gray skies into blue--you feel the same, no? I’ve been pen pals with my grandparents, friends after I moved away, missionaries, little cousins, and even my siblings after I went to college. My dad taught us kids to write letters and thank you notes, and it became my favorite method of communication. In my opinion, there are few things that convey such love and care as a handwritten letter just for me.
Writing a letter isn’t necessarily easy, but that’s the point; acts of love and care shouldn’t be mindless activities. But if you’ve never written more than a short thank you note, writing a longer letter may be intimidating. With help from my dad and my grandpa, who are both fans of the handwritten word, I’ve put together a few suggestions to help you get started.
2. Date your letters. This is useful if, like I hope, we all save each others’ letters.
3. Ask a question or two, but don’t make the letter sound like an interview.
4. Focus on common ground. Build the body of your letter on those things you both relate to.
5. Plow deep, rather than wide (genius words from my dad). Instead of covering 10 different topics, delve into one or two. It will be more meaningful and thought provoking.
6. Short, not long. You don’t want the recipient to be intimidated by a five page letter and then not respond at all.
7. Keep the content cheerful and optimistic. Avoid complaining.
8. Add a drawing, quote, or scripture. Make it fun! When my little sister and I used to write each other, we tore out pages from magazines (funny, good advice, weird picture, picture of one of our favorite celebrities) and put our own commentary on them. It was an entertaining little thing to unfold.
9. Be conversational. As with any type of writing, be yourself. Just because it’s handwritten doesn’t mean it needs to be formal or stuffy.
10. Branch out from plain old lined paper. Try out some stationary, use a napkin from a restaurant you went to last week, or even just use colored pens. It’s the same concept Harley and I live by with our journal writing. You can make it interesting with the aesthetics too--not only with what you write.
Challenge: I know you can think of at least one person who would love to get a handwritten note. Now get to work and start writing!