Category Archives: News

That’s a wrap

A heartfelt thank you to all of our members for making LetterMo 2019 a major success.

Our admins will be around, approving new member requests weekly — or as more often is the case this time of year — deleting spam accounts. We’ll also be clearing out inactive, older accounts to reduce the likelihood of spamsters with nefarious intents from gaining access via those accounts.

If you’ve signed up recently, please make sure you drop a hello on our 2019 Introduction thread. On the Postmaster end, your modest interaction within the forum makes it very easy for us to see who is engaging with our community.

We are always excited to hear when folks found great matches who intend to continue their correspondences throughout the year. We would like to remind you that any letter you received during February should be answered, no matter how long the interval between receipt and reply might be. Snail mail people, by virtue of their hobby, are patient folks.

We also remind our members that some folks intended to commit to the LetterMo Challenge only — meaning only answering mail generated in February.

If your original February letter was answered, but you sent a follow up in March or April, you might have to be a bit more patient — like February 2020. We understand that this confusion might be disappointing to some folks.

LetterMo Postmasters consider letters gifts, so we are simply thankful for what we receive and encourage our members to celebrate whatever mailbox bounty they collected this year.

If you are hoping to find additional pen pals who are eager to write currently, check with the various resources shared within our 2019 Forum and/or Facebook group.

After March On… it’s time to Write_On for April Showers of Mail!

Since 2001, April has been known as National Card and Letter Writing Month when it was officially designated by the U.S. Postal Service “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.” Well, it’s no surprise that it’s another favourite month of LetterMoians too!

Egg Press in Portland, Oregon, started the WriteOn Campaign in 2014 with the hopes of creating a letter writing habit by completing the joyful task and challenge to write 30 letters in 30 days during April. Their mission is to “promote joy, creativity, expression, and connection through hand-written correspondence.” They have a great list of resources including templates and printables. Need to stock up to get through the month? They have a limited supply of special #Write_On merchandise available and have a special offer on qualifying online purchases through March 31st with special code.

Do you enjoy meeting other card and letter writing fans? Check out their calendar for events or the Directory of Letter Writing Societies to see if there is a group in near you to see if they are having a meet up. Most of them also accept mail too so you could add them to your list! The directory was created earlier in 2019 by Megan Hillman, the founder and letter-writer-in-chief of the Colorado Correspondence Coalition. Please contact her if you have started your own letter writing club and want to be added to the list.

Still looking for someone in addition to your LetterMo friends to write to in order to meet your goal of 30 mail items? Consider #MissionMail – from the LetterMo STAMP (bingo) game P2: Participate in a Mail Mission – Members have already posted several ways to put positivity into the world via mail” by sending words of encouragement and support, and to bring a bright spot to someone’s day.  They include: US Military members or being a Soldiers’ Angel, Canadian Forces  members, Mail More Love to folks who have been nominated,  Prisoners, EldersFoster Youth, Hospitalized Kids, Peace Corps members,Long distance truck drivers, and showing support and solidarity after tragedy in Christchurch , New Zealand. You can also check the LetterMo Facebook Groupas members post other mail writing campaigns they come across.

Do you want to track your letter writing? Check out this collaboration stamp by Rhea of @MailMoreLove and Paper Pastries to show what number piece of mail you’re on #/30, as well as all the other adorable mail related rubber stamps. Speaking of stamps, these are my current personal favourite snail mail stamps from Wit & Whistle.

Does the idea of 30 Items still seem daunting? Consider Pretty by Post’s #SendCardsSpreadLove Challenge which runs April 15-19. Danielle, PbP’s Chief card curator & paper lovah, asks if you have 5 days (yes, just 5!) to dedicate to your loved ones to create deeper connections by sending cards and spreading love that will become keepsakes that will last a lifetime. When you sign up, you will receive an email with the #SendCardsSpreadLove Challenge outline as well as a special code for limited time offer for free shipping if you’re interested in ordering curated greeting cards and stationery. You will also receive tips, resources and you can enter to win daily prizes when you post your entry in the private Facebook Group or Instagram. Sign up today and get all the details about this fun challenge. The official hashtag is #sendcardsspreadlove.

Speaking of fun, be sure to check out Sara, Snail Mail Superstar and LetterMo supporter from Constellation & Co. for a month of deals, new releases during National Card & Letter Writing Month, as well as resources about reasons to write and overcoming hurdles to writing.

Remember to share and tag your mail-errific efforts this April on your posts on Instagram or in the daily mail call in the LetterMo Facebook group so we can cheer you on:
#write_on #lettermo #happymail #snailmail #nationalcardletterwritingmonth #sendcardsspreadlove

Let us know below if you know of any other organizations celebrating National Card & Letter Writing Month by hosting special events or offering special deals to letter writers.

Happy Writing LetterMo friends!

Irene @ilau

Would you like to run the Month of Letters?

My dears,

This is a difficult post to write, but the time has come for me to give up the Month of Letters. It began as a way for me to disconnect from the internet and slow down. I have loved all of the people that I got to meet through it.

But over the years, the effort involved in maintaining and running the site has grown to the point that I can’t sustain it. In full and painful honesty, we’re at the point that February triggers my depression symptoms as I realize that I’m letting people down.

We’re slammed with spammers and I don’t have the ability to stop them. There are things that the site needs that I can’t provide.

So what I’d like to do, rather than just shutting it down, is to hand the Month of Letters over to another caretaker. I issued the initial challenge, yes, but it is bigger than me.

Do you want to run Month of Letters?

If you do, I’ll still pay for hosting. I can cheer from backstage. But I’m at a point where I need to let go of trying to manage the site. In 2018, I’m trying to be better about understanding my limits. Please understand and accept my apologies.

Sincerely yours,

Mary Robinette Kowal

Edited to add: There’s a new team! LetterMo is alive!

Plans for this year’s Month of Letters, in which I admit that I have a problem.

We’re less than a month away from the beginning of Month of Letters!

I’ll bet you’re wondering why there haven’t been posts leading up to the month the way I’ve done in previous years. I’m going to be honest about this, and this will be my first time mentioning this on the internets. I’ve been dealing with depression for much of the past year, and only started treatment last summer.

The reason I’m telling you this is that I’m trying really, really hard to treat this as no more shameful than a broken arm or a cold. The social stigma on mental illness is much less than it was when I was a kid, but I’m still hampered by those early beliefs. I don’t want to reinforce that by hiding my own struggle and, frankly, that struggle is about to affect you.

Here’s the deal. WordPress upgraded the software that I run the site with, which is great. Unfortunately, the new version breaks the badges. My webmaster let me know in plenty of time to have it fixed. Plenty of time. At the same time, she also let me know that she was going to need to step down. Both of which would have been fine, but they coincided with the period right before I finally admitted that I was ill. So, we’re a less than a month from the beginning of Month of Letters and this major thing is still broken.

I’m better than I was last summer, but using the broken arm analogy, I still can’t lift this thing. I’ve decided that rather than frantically trying to pick up the thing that I’ve dropped and cobble something together, I am going to focus on the point of the Month of Letters, which is the letters and the connections that come from that.

The challenges will still be there this year BUT the badges are going to be on the honor system. When you win a challenge, you’ll be able to add that badge (I think) to your profile.

I’m streamlining other parts of the site for this year, because that’s manageable. And breaking it into smaller tasks means that I, with my broken arm, can still carry it. Next year… next year, I’m hoping that everything, everything, will be in a better place.

And if I can just also add… If you’re struggling, too, it’s not shameful. Just do what you can do, and know that it’s okay to ask for help with the rest.

Introducing Michi Trota, our new community liaison

This is our third year and we appear to have about 7000 people signed up for Month of Letters. Unlike the first two years, I’m having to travel this year so I decided to bring in some help. Allow me to introduce Michi Trota, the Month of Letters new community liaison. What does that mean? Michi is going to help me keep an eye on the forums and troubleshoot participant problems.

Michi blogs about all things geek (and occasionally bacon) at GeekMelange. She’s a member of the Board of Organizers and Facebook moderator for the Chicago Nerd Social Club, and in her spare time writes personal essay/memoir, spins fire (sometimes in cosplay) and manages communications & event organizing for the Chicago Full Moon Jams.

In short, she’s exactly the sort of person you want in your corner.

To contact her with questions, use the contact form , which will go straight to her mailbox. She’ll either answer the question or route it to the right person.

And where am I? Well… This week, I’ve got my puppeteer hat on and I’m at a Sesame Street workshop.

Postable is partnering with us this year!

Postable BannerLast year, I suggested using Postable.com as an easy way to exchange mailing addresses with other members. It’s a super-easy and free service that’s designed to make collecting addresses simple. It’s designed for people getting married, and I actually wound up recommending it to my brand-new sister-in-law when she and my brother got married last year.

This year, they contacted me and said they wanted to be involved, because they also love mail. Which is fantastic and really kind. And… they’ve also added a new thing since last year. They can print and mail cards for you.

But doesn’t that defeat the point of Month of Letters?

Actually, no. The point is to think about one person at a time and to put something in that person’s mailbox that will make them smile. Now, personally, I enjoy writing with a fountain pen, but there are folks who have carpal tunnel, arthritis, or other things that make handwriting hard. There shouldn’t be an entry barrier to participating. So having someone else print and send the card for you is totally fine.

It also, to be totally honest, will help the site because they are contributing a portion of sales that come in through this link. http://www.postable.com/partner/lettermo

But just to be completely clear — you don’t have to send cards through them to use postable.com. It remains the easiest way I’ve found to collect addresses. Check them out!

Welcome to February! The Month of Letters begins!

Let’s start easy, shall we? It’s Saturday and all you have to do is put one thing in the mail today.

You can write a long breathless letter to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in far too long, or just jot a quick note on a postcard. The key isn’t to dazzle with your wit — though feel free to do that if the mood strikes you — but to make a thought tangible. Whatever you put in the mail today represents the moment when you were thinking about a specific someone. Think of this a a month of sending 23 tiny gifts, and the gifts are you. 

And to encourage you, we have badges. You don’t have to play for these, but if you enjoy side challenges, then you can log what you sent on our “What have you sent?” form. 

One caution — only fill out the form once per day.

Now, go mail something.

Cleaning the website for the beginning of Month of Letters

This week we’re going to reset all of the badges and points — except the Winner! badge — so you can start February with a fresh slate. It should be fun to see who makes the top of the leaderboard this year. I’m hoping to have a couple of new badges for you, as well, so stay tuned for that.

We’re also trying to deal with the spammers, because, ugh.

And, you may have noticed some site fluctuations. As the month started approaching, the webtraffic shot up and my webmaster gently suggested that I move the site to a new host so it didn’t crash. That process is not going quiiiite as smoothly as we’d like, so bear with us. Everything should be in place for the month to begin.

Stamp prices go up on January 26th

February is fast approaching and it seems like a good time to remind our US participants that postage increases on January 26th. If you haven’t stocked up on your forever stamps, this would be a good time to do it.

Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents
Letters additional ounces — 1-cent increase to 21 cents
Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents

You can read the full announcement at USPS. com.

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The Month of Letters in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I was interviewed for an article about letter writing that appeared in a recent issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“You forget the cool things about (letters),” Kowal said by phone before heading out to mail her output that day of 32 letters and postcards. “A letter is a tangible representation of that time in your life. When you send it to someone else, even to someone you don’t know, you’re making a personal connection.”

Most of the focus is on a gentleman doing a variant on the 365 Letters project, and it’s neat to see the discoveries he is making. Some of them may sound familiar to you as part of your own journey in postal land. You can read the full article here.