If you aren’t used to writing letters to people, it can feel daunting to start. What do you write? Who do you write to? How much should you send?
The good news is (depending on how you look at it), there really is no right way to do things.
First off, sending cards can actually take very little time. You don’t need to be spending endless amounts of time crafting the perfect message. Some of my most cherished cards are those that are short and sweet: “I went to ____ and saw___ and it made me think of you. I hope you are doing okay, and know that I’m just a phone call away. Love you!”
In fact, you can take small moments here and there to send out cards. Here are a few:
- While dinner is in the oven
- In the school pickup line
- While watching tv
- Waiting for water to boil
- Right before bed
- While your coffee is brewing
- Slow Sunday mornings
- When you’re sick of scrolling on your phone
Having a few cards on hand can allow you to take advantage of these little moments to bring joy in someone else’s life (and in turn, your own).
If you have kids, invite them in on the process. Check out more on that here.
OK, OK now onto how to even start writing letters.
If you’re just looking to send a card here and there to friends or family without expecting anything in return (which is my recommendation just starting out), here’s my recommendation:
- Keep a note in your notes app (or wherever you prefer) of a list of things happening in your friends’ and family’s lives. This can be “Alexa had a rough day,” “Mom got a promotion,” “Uncle Richard is retired.”
- If you have cards on hand, send them out whenever you have a free moment (you have more than you think, see above) and use your notes app to know exactly who to send something to.
- If you don’t have cards on hand, consider writing on a piece of paper or shopping from your favorite stationery shop to get just the right card or a stockpile of cards.
- If you’re lacking in addresses, reach out to that person in your family who knows all the details. If it’s a friend, just ask!
If you’re looking to find someone to have a penpal relationship with, here’s my recommendation:
- Make sure the person you wish to write with also wants to write you back in the same way. This seems simple, but if someone really doesn’t want to be a penpal, it will certainly be a one-sided conversation and the excitement fizzles very quickly.
- If you don’t know someone personally, check out penpal communities to match up with someone who may have similar interests (the #Penpalling Hashtag on Instagram brings up some options, and I love the Penpals subreddit here: https://www.reddit.com/r/penpals/)
- Think about what kind of penpal you’d like to be. Some love full writing and talking, some love to trade stationery supplies and flat goodies, some love to play games that also let’s you get to know each other and your unique perspectives on the world, and some love a good mix. Do you lean one way? If so, find someone who is similar. Some penpal groups have easier ways to get involved, such as someone is looking to send out postcards from certain areas, or vice versa. See what you enjoy and let it take you from there.
Life can get insane and hectic. You can have intentions to do something, but life goes by and the next time you think about it, it could be a bit too late.
All the more reason to take little bits of time to personally reach out to someone not expecting it.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks. If you want more, sign up for more here.
If you’re a letter writer/snail mailer/pen paller/statinery lover, comment your own tips!