With the advent of email and now the instant messaging boom, letter writing, it seems, is a thing of the past. Or is it? While it's true that the postal service has seen a tremendous decline in handwritten cards and letters, the old-fashioned way of communicating seems to be making a comeback. While there still is an element of surprise these days when someone gets an actual letter in the mail, the increase in pen-pal clubs, resurgence of stationery stores and a plethora of pen companies with booming online and offline business, means letter writing is returning to favor.
Interested in joining in the fun and passing the joy of a handwritten letter on to someone in your life? Here are 5 simple tips to keep in mind for a good, old-fashioned, hand-written letter.
1. Use your best penmanship. I know, it's like a foreign language these days. Typing is so much easier than writing. But with a good pen and some quality paper, handwriting can be quite therapeutic in and of itself. But the key here is that the person on the other end needs to actually be able to read what you've written. So take your time, enjoy the benefits, and make it look good. No need to learn fancy lettering or calligraphy. Just make it legible.
2. Make sure you put the date on the letter. This may seem silly in an age where everything is automatically dated by the computer, but throw the date in the upper right-hand corner of your stationery. This will serve as a reminder to the recipient in case they want to return the favor and write back. And, if the letter is special enough to keep, many years from now future generations will enjoy seeing how old it is!
3. Use a salutation and a kind closing. You can begin your letter with a simple, "Dear Jane," or use another friendly greeting. Follow up with the actual body of your letter. Then end the letter with a kind, complimentary closing like: "Sincerely," "Warmest Regards," or even "From your friend," under which you'll sign your name. [Editor's note: It's best to stick with proper titles, last names, and formal salutations and closings for business correspondence.]
4. Check your spelling. Here's where technology might come in handy. But so would an old fashioned dictionary. Another option: Type your letter out first, use spell check, and then copy it over to your paper.
5. Send it! Add a special touch on the envelope of a sticker, rubber stamped image, or even your own drawing, address it, put your return address on, attach the proper postage and get it in the mail. [Editor's note: Save the special touch for personal rather than business correspondence.] You can leave it in your own mailbox for your postal carrier to grab the next time they deliver, or swing by a local post office and drop it in the box.
Annette is an avid letter writer and card sender. She longs for the days of old when letter writing was an important part of the week for more people. You can find out more about letter writing and general correspondence at her site JoyfulCorrespondence.com.© 2021 Annette Yen
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