Taking some time to hand write a letter to a friend, family member or loved one is a great way to show how much you care. It's also a great opportunity to use some of your favourite stationery to brighten someones day.
If you are stuck trying to think of a reason to send a letter, we have a few suggestions.
Thank You: If someone in your life has recently helped you out in some way, or you have received a gift, a hand written thank you note is a thoughtful and memorable way to say Thank You!
Pen Pal: Letters make a nice change of pace when keeping in touch with friends who are interstate or in another country. You can fill them in on what's been going on in your life and even exchange drawings or gifts along with your letters. There is also heaps of websites dedicated to finding you a pen pal from anywhere around the world. It's a great way to expand your circle of friends and learn about other countries and cultures.
Love Letter: You can never have too much romance in your life. Even if you are living together leaving a thoughtful note for your loved one is a touching surprise. Listing all the things you appreciate about them is sure to make their day.
Invitations: If you are throwing a small party or intimate wedding why not personally hand write the invitations? It's sure to stand out and show everyone just how much you want them to attend your event.
Congratulations: Life is full of reasons to celebrate; finishing a Degree, welcoming a new baby to the family, sporting triumphs and personal improvements. All these and many more deserve a big congratulations. Imagine how special it would feel to open up the letter box to find a handwritten Congratulations!
Once you have decided on the reason for your letter, the fun begins. Quality paper can make a big difference to how your letter feels and if you are using a fountain pen, MD Paper, Masuya Yuga and Elegance pads and Tomoe River Paper Pads are all great choices. Colourful inks and the stub italic Pilot MR pen will add some flair to your writing.
When you have finished writing you can even add some washi tape to brighten up the page.
For your envelope, a Tikky Graphic Fineliner is a nice waterproof pen just in case your letter encounters some bad weather and a wax seal is the ultimate way to finish everything off and ensure nobody else sneaks a peak at your letter.
When it comes time to pen your letter generally there are two types of letters, formal and informal.
Take a second to consider who you are writing to before picking up your pen. Formal letters are something you may send to businesses, employers, government officials or people you don't know very well.
Informal letters have fewer rules and you would send these to family, friends and loved ones.
Formal Letters - Often in the past a formal letter would be typed but handwriting adds a more personal touch and taking the time to hand write your letter conveys just how important your message is to you.
The first information you put on a formal letter is your name and address in the top right hand corner followed by the date. This makes sure the recipient knows where to send their response even after discarding the envelope.
On the left hand edge write out the recipient's name and address. When it comes to a greeting you can't go wrong with "Dear" or if you don't know the name of the person your letter is going to you can write "To Whom It May Concern".
With formal letters keep it concise and to the point; preferably not more than one page. You can start the first line with a short pleasantry depending on the circumstances but then get right to the point. Something like "I am writing in regards to".
The closing paragraph should re-state the purpose of the letter and perhaps request some type of action or follow up.
End with another type of appropriate pleasantry such as: "I look forward to hearing from you soon" or "Thank you for your time and consideration".
For a formal letter your close should be "Yours faithfully", "Yours sincerely" or "Respectfully Yours".
If you are attaching another document to the letter, leave a line space after your signature and write Enc. so that the recipient knows that there is more to read.
Informal Letters - Always hand write your informal letters. Your handwriting is unique and brings your personality and presence to your loved one and can even feel as though you are right there with them. You can use any type of paper you want but writing with quality stationery can make the experience fun and add some more personality. Try different ink colours and even include a little sketch.
There is no need to write the recipient's address at the top but always include the date in the upper right hand corner.
With an informal letter any kind of greeting will do. If it's a fun letter "Hi" is great and if it's a little more serious then "Dear" is more appropriate. You can also skip the greeting and just start with their name or even nickname.
There are no hard and fast rules for the body of an informal letter but paragraphs can make it easier to read.
What should you write in an informal letter? Generally, you could start by letting them know what is going on in your life at the moment, then ask them about their own. Asking questions makes it easier for them to reply. If you are replying to a letter you would then answer any questions that they asked in their last letter.
There are also informal letters written for a specific purpose - thank you notes, condolences, congratulations etc. These should be shorter and go directly to the point of the letter without any news of your own.
Close with a friendly, "Best regards", "All the best", "Love", "Best wishes" or in the case of a thank you note perhaps, "Gratefully yours".
Most importantly, have fun with it. You really can't go wrong and the experience of opening up snail mail is hard to beat.
You can browse some letter writing paper and envelopes here.