How to Write Meaningful Letters
Writing letters has, in a sense, become a lost art. Today, many schools no longer teach cursive handwriting and penmanship. And with the price of postage continuing to rise, and shorter attention spans, many people do not write letters by hand.
You can make a difference in the lives of your loved ones by helping them find joy in writing letters. Of course, the best way to introduce letter writing to your friends and family is by writing letters to them. If you’re still not sure why a handwritten letter is better, or if you struggle to find the right words, then keep reading!
The Importance of Writing Letters
Whether you’re writing, receiving, or re-reading a letter, a thoughtful, handwritten letter can have a powerful impact on your life. In fact, just one meaningful letter can benefit you, your loved ones, and even the world.
Writing letters truly is an art. Handwriting a letter gives the sender an opportunity to slow down and think carefully about their writing. As the writer focuses on every stroke of each word, handwriting becomes a mindful activity to relieve stress. These actions engage the eyes and brain in entirely different ways than typical daily activities. Additionally, letter writing is a creative activity that allows for personal differences in style and content. This means that everyone can do it.
When’s the last time you opened a handwritten letter? Close your eyes and imagine yourself as the receiver. Were you surprised and delighted to see your name handwritten on an envelope? Did you take a moment to smell the stationery, to notice the color of the ink, to feel the grainy texture of the paper between your fingers? After opening the letter, you followed every word learning the thoughts, feelings, and events in the life of the sender. Likely, you were touched to think of the effort involved and you felt closer to the sender. Maybe you even saved the letter so you could read it again. Either way, you recognized the value of that unique gift. What an incredible experience a letter can create for your loved ones!
Archives, museums, and personal collections of historical artifacts often include letters. A handwritten letter can’t be deleted like a digital message, and can often be preserved for years. So, the next time you handwrite a letter, don’t forget that you could be contributing valuable knowledge to future generations.
How to Write a Meaningful Letter
The format of your letter depends largely on how close you are to the recipient. Many letter writers choose to include their name, address, and the date in the upper-left-hand corner of the first page. In case the recipient discards or misplaces the original envelope, they still have the address. For a more formal feel, you can also include the recipient’s name and address after the date. In any personal letters, be sure to include a warm greeting at the beginning of the letter and a sincere signature at the end.
A letter’s content is entirely up to the sender, but here are a few tips to make it more enjoyable for your reader:
- DO write about anything special, entertaining, or touching that’s happened lately
- DO write about interesting or significant events in your past and lessons you’ve learned from them
- DO include anything personally relevant to your reader, like shared interests and hobbies
- DO include questions for the reader to answer when they reply
- DON’T write for many pages about the same subject
- DON’T write only about negative thoughts or events
Your letter’s presentation can be as simple or as fancy as you like. Do you enjoy colorful, unique stationery, fun stickers, and a variety of pens and inks? Great! Ask a friend to bring you some new paper, or dig out your old art supplies. Drawing or painting your own card will add a personal touch that everyone will love. Alternately, does the thought of an ornate letter seem overwhelming? Then grab a plain piece of paper from around the house and make a simple doodle in the corner. Your friends and family will love it!
At the end of the day, a handwritten letter is an excellent, personal way to connect with your loved ones. No matter how you create your letters, the extra time and care involved in writing won’t go unnoticed.
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