Letter writing, like fashion, is an art. In fact, etiquette expert Emily Post even suggested that, “the letter you write…is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste, and character.”
With the growth of electronic mail , getting a ‘Just Because’ card or short note in the post has become something of a novelty. I myself have several penpals that I write to (not as frequently as I would like to) and with that have developed a taste for vintage stationery and ephemera as well as fountain pens. The latter will be subject of another post in the future, I promise. I encourage you all to put pen to paper and just write and if you don’t know how to get started, read on for my tips.
Here are my Top Tips for Letter Writing
Create a nice environment for writing your note. Get comfortable, light a candle, make your favourite drink and cast all other issues of the day aside for that moment. If you’re a planner, schedule that time in your diary. It doesn’t have to be long, but choose a time of day that is quiet and you can be uninterrupted. For me I find that I work best either first thing in the morning, after the school run, or just after dinner. I’m a bit of a night owl so I find that my energy levels are higher. Though that might just be the residual effects of the day’s caffeine intake after copious amounts of tea.
Treat yourself to a nice set of stationery. Now ‘nice’ doesn’t necessarily equal expensive. Though you can go that way if that is your JAM. Here, you really have a few options. You can go the DIY route by picking up a few supplies, get a selection of custom made cards for which I highly recommend having a look on ETSY , or my personal favourite using Vintage stationery and ephemera. I like to keep a small (ok large ) supply on hand. I recommend FeedtheBirdies and BostonBagLady, both on ETSY. Birdie even has a Send A Card Campaign. It is just a free encouragement (no strings attached) to send a greeting card, preferably used, to anyone that you choose.
Use your favourite writing tools. If you’ve followed my blog for awhile it will come as no surprise that my preferred writing tools for my missives include a vintage fountain pen – usually one of my vintage Esterbrook purse pens – or one of my vintage typewriters. Clearly I have a penchant for Royal Typewriters from the Mid Century Modern period. Look at all those fun colours!
Lastly, find inspiration and practice. Like everything else and as the old adage says, Practice makes Perfect. I’ve found that the more I write, the more I find it easier to craft the next letter. Instagram is full of mail art ideas if you’d like to find ways to incorporate your ephemera in the envelope as well. This isn’t a requirement… and certainly not a skill I have mastered… but it’s pretty to look at and I’m always in awe when I receive letters from my talented pals out there.
I leave you with some sound advice from Richard Polt on formatting your typewritten letter from his book The Typewriter Revolution. He says …”There’s a salutation : ‘Dear X’: The greeting ‘Hi’ marks you as an emailer.)” I couldn’t agree more, I always start my letters with “Dear”.
I hope my tips inspire you to send someone a note. It shows that you’ve taken some time out your busy life to think about them, and that is a great gift in itself. I’m sure the receiver will be delighted and so will you!
Are you a stationery lover too ? Other resources I should add ? Let me know in the comments below.
- Emily Post’s guide to how to write a letter http://www.bartleby.com/95/28.html
- The Art of Sending Personal Mail http://theglamoroushousewife.com/2013/08/the-art-of-sending-personal-mail-part-1/
- The Typewriter Revolution – Richard Polt http://www.typewriterrevolution.com
- PaperTams for Mail Kits
- FeedtheBirdies on ETSY for vintage ephemera
- BostonBagLady on ETSY for vintage stickers and ephemera
- Join The Letter Writer’s Alliance for $5