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[Guest Post] Month of Letters Planning Calendar

January 31, 2016 in Fun Things, Journal

Today’s guest blogger is LetterMo Community Member Elizabeth Janes, who is a big ol’ F&SF nerd. She needs to spend more time drawing, making jewelry and garden art, and cleaning house. She lives in upstate New York, mere minutes from the Massachusetts border.

I was lucky enough to stumble across Mary’s Month of Letters challenge in time to allow me to participate from the get-go. I look forward to the challenge every year, and though the LetterMo experience hasn’t yet transformed me into a model correspondent I do send more cards and letters throughout the year now than I did before. Thanks for the inspiration, Mary!

I’ve chosen to concentrate on writing to people within my small circle of friends, rather than signing up to find new pen pals; it’s way too easy for me to spend hours writing letters while neglecting waiting tasks of greater importance. But even given my short MoL address book, since my life isn’t what you’d call brimful of excitement (“utterly devoid of incident” probably wouldn’t be accurate, but it wouldn’t be that far off the mark, either) I usually wind up writing about the same things to more than one person. And I usually have a hard time remembering what I’ve written to whom.

To help me keep track, I’ve taken the idea of the LetterMo planning calendar and turned it into a record-keeping calendar. In the blank days at either end of the month I list the people I want to be sure to write to, with a box for checking off each person when their first piece of mail goes out. (I love boxes for checking.)

After I finish writing a card or letter, in the calendar’s day on which that item is sent I make brief notes on subjects covered, along with (because I can be somewhat obsessive) coded reminders on the type of mail: C for card, P for postcard, L for Letter, E for decorated envelope, A for a no-envelope sealed-with-wax Jane-Austen-style letter.

LetterMo calendar

On the back of the page there are lines for recording mail sent to people I don’t know (fan mail, constituent mail to elected representatives, praise or complaints to companies with which I’ve had good or bad experiences), and for keeping track of mail received. Because I’ve found that I’m apt to forget what the postcard rate is several times a month, and to help in making use of my small-denomination stamps, this year I tacked on a line of rate reminders.

By the end of the month the calendar is a scribbly mess, but it’s fun to be able to look back at mailings from previous years and remember writing about my runaway ink-sample-buying habit (curse/bless you, Goulet Pen Company!), or the day I locked both house and car keys inside the car with the engine running. (That provided subject matter for a six-postcard serial mailed over sequential days. I did write them all on a single day, but made sure to write and mail at least one additional piece each day to keep to the terms of the challenge.)

Sadly, my brief notes aren’t guaranteed to connect me to detailed memories. “Kirk/Spock never stuck next to loud talker or had to take selfies with Khan” probably made some kind of demented sense a year ago, but it’s a bafflement today.

Click here to download the 2016 planning calendar (PDF), which is invitingly empty. Print it out and have fun filling the days!

[Wayback Repost] Make Your Own Stamps (Or Grab Some LetterMo Stamps!)

January 27, 2016 in Fun Things, Journal

This post was originally published on January 24, 2015. It’s reappearing today as a Wayback Repost, so you might see some old comments below. Feel free to continue the conversation!

zazzle custom stampThe Month of Letters is nearly upon us! Time to make sure you have all your supplies–pens, stationery, stamps. I’m more pleased than I should be that the post office has Batman stamps available right now. But hey: Batman!

Of course, if I wanted a stamp with Batman on it I don’t have to rely on the USPS. It’s possible to make stamps with whatever image you desire via Zazzle.com. And while grabbing an image from a comic panel is probably frowned upon (copyright and all), it’s just fine to add an image of your own.

The Zazzle stamps come in multiple sizes, in first class and postcard denominations, and are fully sanctioned by the Postal Service. You don’t need a Zazzle shop to create custom stamps for your own use. You can either just upload your own image or start with a template and customize from there.

Zazzle also has a pretty extensive stamp shop with several designs and beautiful artwork that you can purchase as is, if you like how they look.

Month of Letters Stamp

And, if you’re so inclined, you can also purchase Month of Letters stamps from the LetterMo Zazzle Shop. Mary created them, and you can get a bunch of different sizes and values from postcard all the way up to Priority Mail.

If you order stamps right now you’ll have them in time to use for Month of Letters. Imagine how cool it will be for your letter recipients to get something in the mail that’s not only a treat on the inside, but personal and unique on the outside?

Zazzle isn’t the only place that lets you create custom stamps. Do you have experience with and like using another? Please share in the comments.

2015 LetterMo Participant Stickers.

February 1, 2015 in Fun Things, Journal

2014 participant labels If you’d like to let people know that you’re particiipating in the Month of Letters, we have these handy stickers you can download and attach to your letters.

Download the 2015 participant labels pdf.

The 2015 Month of Letters Planning Calendar

January 28, 2015 in Fun Things, Journal

LetterMo2015I need to thank Morgan Kane and Pamela Berry who both volunteered to create Month of Letters planning calendars.

Pamela’s is a google doc, so you can change things around if you need to.

Or you can download Morgan’s as a pdf to start your planning process. Here’s the pdf of the LetterMo 2015 calendar

Download the Month of Letters 2014 Participant stickers

January 29, 2014 in Fun Things, Journal

2014 participant labelsWant to let your recipients know that you are playing along with the Month of Letters?Simply download the pdf file and print it on a sheet of sticker paper or use regular paper and a glue stick.

Just a reminder, these are NOT postage. Please do not put them on the front of the letter so that the letter carriers aren’t confused.

Download the PDF of the 2014 participant labels

Download the 2014 Month of Letters planning calendar

January 23, 2014 in Fun Things, Journal

LetterMoPlanningCalendar2014If you are looking for a way to organize your Month of Letters Challenge, we have a calendar for you.

Simply print it out, and then fill in at least one name per day  to help plan ahead for your letter writing. (By the way, it’s not breaking the rules to send more than one thing a day.)

Download the Month of Letters 2014 Planning Calendar  as a pdf.

Day 4 — Be a postal explorer

February 4, 2013 in Fun Things, Journal

As we kick off the first full week of The Month of Letters, you have the simple task of sending six items in the mail, one each day.

If that seems easy, why don’t you kick it up a level and use the Challenge to get to know your neighborhood a little better. Using the mailbox map try to use other mailboxes than your usual. Who knows, you may find a new coffee shop or a shorter route to the dry cleaners while you are questing for a mailbox.

And if you succeed? Badges!  Earn the Explorer by reporting one trip to a new mailbox on the “What have you mailed” form.  The Adventurer is for the intrepid letter writer who visits four new mailboxes.

And as soon as I finish the design, there will be the Trekker, for the letter-writer who manages to go to twenty new mailboxes.

Download: Month of Letters explanation cards

February 1, 2013 in Fun Things, Journal

lettermo business card Month of Letters participant K. Tempest Bradford suggested that having a little business card to explain what the Month of Letters Challenge was, would make it easier to explain to friends why they were getting a letter out of the blue. That was a great idea.

She also wrote the copy, so all I had to do was lay it out. You can download a .pdf with the business cards all ready for you to print and slip into your mail.

Download the lettermo business card pdf

Month of Letters Postcards

January 7, 2013 in Fun Things, Journal

LetterMo2013postcardAs an experiment this year, I’ve set up a Zazzle store and made postcards. You can also download the image and print your own if you’d prefer but… I’ll be frank. If you order the postcards, it helps support running the website. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps.

Order the Month of Letters Challenge postcards.

Download the 2013 Month of Letters Calendar

January 1, 2013 in Fun Things, Journal

LetterMoPlanningCalendar2013

As the New Year begins, it’s time to start thinking about the Month of Letters Challenge. To help you organize your thoughts, we have a calendar.

If you are looking for a way to organize your Month of Letters Challenge, we have a calendar for you.

2012 Participant Richelle had said,

“I printed up a calendar and am filling in the days with people I want to write! I have a big stash of stationary I am hoping I can finally use. I may have to break the rules and send more than one a day. So many people I want to write!”

That was a brilliant idea, so I made a calendar page that you can print out to help plan your letter writing. (By the way, it’s not breaking the rules to send more than one thing a day.)

Download the Month of Letters Planning Calendar 2013  as a pdf. Thanks for the suggestion, Richelle.

 

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