With most of the employees at the library where I work suddenly working from home last year, one of our administrators began hosting a bi-monthly “Kindness in Crisis” Zoom meeting. Staff were invited to come and share topics that they were passionate about. This enabled opportunities for more meaningful connections with our colleagues when we were physically separated.
As most of my writing during the quarantine consisted of letters, and as it is such a beautiful way for people who are separated to connect, I presented on the art of letter writing. Below I share my slides with my talking points.
Handwritten letters provide not just communication, but an opportunity for real connection.
Plus, our postal service is in peril, help support these vital front-line workers, buy stamps, send letters.
If you are writing to a new pen pal, you can engage by writing about your interests, then asking about theirs.
Postable is a site where you can not only send cards, but also its a free online address book.
There are several challenges, such as LetterMo – where the goal is to mail something each day the post runs in February. That’s how I got started.
There are also sites that match you with folks for exchanges, like postcard swaps.
A handwritten letter, unlike electric correspondence, is more than just the words on the page. You get to customize it in so many ways, such as stationery.
Blank cards come in many sizes and designs.
How you put the words to page can be as interesting as what you say. Whether you’re a fountain pen aficionado, or prefer a simple ball-point, your writing implement gives others a sense of who you are.
Stamps, along with ink or markers, can personalize mass-produced cards, envelopes, or even dress up plain old notebook paper.
Of course, don’t forget that postage stamps come in many styles, as well. Domestic or international, most stamps sold now-a-days are “forever” stamps, and will be good even after any future rate changes.
Paper washi tape is easy to apply and remove, and makes an excellent accent and, given current circumstances, can be used to seal envelopes, rather than licking the adhesive.
Your letter doesn’t have to be the only thing in envelope – share pictures, recipes, tea, seeds for gardens, or whatever you can fit.
What language you use, whether you are formal or more casual, allows you to express yourself – no two people talk alike.
Share what you are passionate about, it will come through in your words.
What you choose to include, from washi tape samples, to art you’ve made also tells a bit more about you.
And the letter doesn’t end when you seal the envelope. Stickers, stamps, washi tape, etc. can be used to jazz up the envelope – or you can make your own out of sturdy paper.
Stickers, interesting paper, stencils, stamps, and do-dads can all be used (or even repurposed) to decorate or make cards or envelopes, or even art to include inside.
You don’t have to have someone specific in mind when you make a unique card, but if you do know them, you can certainly find things that remind you of them.
Hopefully this post has given you some ideas, and raises your excitement for February and the official start of LetterMo. There is no wrong way to write a letter, so play around and figure out what feels most authentic to you. And maybe share what you love about letter writing, and help this beautiful form of communication to continue to thrive. pace
There are many, many, many resources on the Internet (like with all things.) Many organizations for letter writers to connect, to meet folks, and to talk about what is most important/ valuable to them in letter writing.
- Address Book
- Postable – www.postable.com
- Online writing challenges
- “Mail Art” Makes a Comeback During Quarantine
- Other Resources
- Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society http://thehandwrittenletterappreciationsociety.org
- Victorian Letter Writers Guild http://victorianletterwritersguild.blogspot.com/
- International Postcard Week
- National Postcard week
- Pals Over 50 https://www.womenoverfiftynetwork.com/pen-pals-women-over-fifty/
- Papyrus Stationary (online only)
- Postable will create/ send cards
- Repurpose ProjectOffice Supply stores