The Lost Art of Writing a Letter: Tips and Tricks

men with pen

Long gone are the days where writing a letter to say thank you or in times of celebration was the norm, but it’s time to bring that back!

Have you ever had a pen pal? Do you have a box of old letters (not store bought cards) from friends and loved ones that you’ve gathered over the years?

Unless you’re a senior citizen, you’ve probably never done such a thing. These days, more people are calling, texting, emailing, and using social media to stay connected.

There seems to be no need to write a letter anymore, but that’s just not true! Writing a letter is still a classic, genuine way to show someone you’re thinking of them. It’s a timeless tradition that is arguably more thoughtful now than it was back when letters were a main form of communication.

Here are all the ways you can bring letter writing back into your life and those you care about.

Different Reasons for Writing a Letter

Maybe you’re interested in working on your handwriting and putting your thoughts to pen and paper, but you just don’t know who to write a letter to. Many people talk themselves out of writing a letter because they’re in constant contact with the important people in their lives every day.

You either live with your significant other or you’re in technology-based conversations with them 24/7. You Facetime your parents, grandparents, and siblings, or use some form of photo and video sharing to catch up. Even dating and educational conversations are online now.

Think of the people who have significantly impacted you. Write a letter to impact them in return.

This could be for a partner, an old friend, a great teacher, or even a mentor.

The following are a few reasons when writing a letter is the best way to get your thoughts across.

To Say “I Love You” or “I Miss You”

Stop sending heart-eyed and kissing emojis and send someone you love a message with more depth. Write them a letter and mail it. Even if this person lives down the block or sleeps on the other side of your bed, give the letter the effort it deserves.

Sit down and express all the things you wish you’d say more of. Or, turn writing a letter into sharing one of your favorite memories and recreating the story. Maybe even use this as an opportunity to talk about your dreams for the future together.

Whatever you’re focusing on, the letter is sure to come across as straight from the heart. Use it to remind your partner, parent, or grandparent how much you truly care for them.

If there’s someone special in your life you haven’t seen in a while, write the letter just to say you miss them, and to fill them in on what’s been going on in your life! You’ll be surprised just how nice of a surprise this can be – and who knows, you may have a newfound way to stay in touch with those you love who are far away.

To Show Appreciation

Sometimes, love isn’t romantic, but still something to celebrate.

Think of your favorite college professor or the mentor who helped get your business off the ground. When was the last time you spoke? Even if you talk to this person on a regular basis, consider making the conversation a little more meaningful.

Write a letter thanking them for something specific that has impacted you. This could be a lesson you learned ages ago that you recently had to apply or a recent experience that made you think of a certain memory together.

To Invite Someone to an Event

There are times when you’ll find yourself writing a letter to both the people you speak to regularly, as well as those who you’ve grown a little distant from. Think, wedding or graduation invitations, or maybe even a baby announcement!

Sure, you’re probably going to make a social media post and follow up with certain people over the phone. But, send a few letters to the guests you definitely want in attendance. Write letters to each of the bridesmaids you plan to have at your wedding, or to the teachers who helped make your degree possible.

Such gestures make your invite even more welcoming.

Formatting and Writing a Letter

Whoever you decide to write a letter to, consider a few things before you get started. This isn’t a journal entry you just scribble down and put aside.

Writing a letter takes patience and thoughtfulness. Make every word with care and try to make your thoughts flow together. The more you do this, the better the letter as a whole will turn out.

Keep the following two things in mind as well.

Address the Other Person

Speak from the heart, but know who you’re speaking to. There’s a big difference between writing a letter to your lover versus writing one to an old boss or your current mentor.

Still, don’t be afraid to be a little personal. This is a person who knows you on a deeper level than most, whether on a professional or more intimate standpoint. Share your thoughts with them freely.

Write with Eloquence

Although you should encourage your thoughts to flow, you have to ensure they make sense.

Pay close attention to your grammar and punctuation. Find ways to use different words, tenses, and sentence structures to make the letter more engaging.

The other person is going to enjoy it no matter how good of a writer you consider yourself to be. But, it’s worth trying to write as best as you can.

Make It Special

Just when you think the letter is ready to be folded and sent off, add a few final touches. Write your signature with a bold pen, a few lines down from where the message cuts off. Then, print your name below it and record the date if you haven’t already elsewhere in the letter.

For an even more special touch, spray the letter with a scent. Lovers will appreciate your go-to perfume, wedding guests will think a floral scent is a nice touch – or something themed around your wedding like a warm, cozy smell for a fall wedding or an ocean smell for a beach wedding. Maybe skip this step for more professional letters, though.

Finally, consider sending the letter with a small supplemental piece, like a photo or a postcard. This gets guests excited about an upcoming event and adds a little more meaning to sending a letter. To get the postcard just right, click here.

Get Your Message Across the Old-School Way

Sometimes, you get so excited to share good news with someone that you Facetime them in the middle of the workday. Other times, you make a long, sappy post on Facebook for the world to see.

But, there are moments when nothing gets a message just right like writing a letter does. Start making this more of a habit, and watch how your relationships blossom.

Letters are great for those you grew up with, those you’ve grown a bit distant from, and everyone in between. They can be to wish a person well, tell them you’re thinking of them, or cheer them up as encouragement through a tough time.

For more ways to offer cheer and joy, check out these five great ideas.