The timing couldn’t be better. You have a free hour to spend as you please. On the desk in front of you is some of the most beautiful paper you have ever had. It might be a sheet of Amalfi watermark stationery or a tablet of G. Lalo Verge De France. In your hand is your tried and trusted fountain pen. You are ready to spend your hour writing.
Chances are you have some type of correspondence waiting to be written—most people do. Think about it for a moment. Perhaps you owe a few thank you notes to some people? Maybe a reply letter to a distant friend or relative? Perhaps you’d like to write a love letter to someone special? In these modern days of texting, instant messaging, emailing and Twittering, a handwritten letter is still a treasure many people appreciate.
The post office is struggling at the moment, but there are thousands of devoted people around the planet who are doing their best to keep it going, and you can be one of them. Many people sit down and spend an hour—or two or three—writing to someone in another city, state, or country. They share their thoughts and dreams, their daily activities, their opinions and philosophies, and much more—all just a sample of what you, too, can write. While many people pen letters to friends and family who have moved away, a number are also corresponding with friends they have only met through the mailbox.
Here are a few tips to help you put pen to paper:
Before you start composing, give your words some thought. What would you like to express to this person? If you are not sure how to phrase it, try jump starting those creative juices by taking a walk outside (nature can be amazingly inspirational!). As you walk or after you return, jot down a short list of points you want to cover in your letter so that you don’t get to the end and realize you forgot something important.
For a fairly brief letter, perhaps one to thank someone for doing something kind, consider drawing a swirl or border on your border to personalize it. You can also add a wax initial stamp to the bottom. Also, If you have trouble writing straight on unlined paper, you can often find a line guide in high-end paper, or you can create your own on the computer and place it behind your paper as a guide to follow.
If you are using a fountain pen, make sure you have adequate amounts of ink on hand. If you have multiple pens with different types of ink, consider writing in one color and adding that swirl or border in another tone. Check that your ink has dried before carefully folding your letter into the envelope. You might want to embellish the envelope with the same swirl or border to create unity between container and contents.
Remember that while you want your correspondence to look lovely and delight whoever receives it, this is not English 101. You will not be graded on your perfect punctuation or vibrant vocabulary. Simply speak from your heart and let the words flow from your hand through the pen to the paper. After all, beautiful paper is like a sailing ship sitting in a harbor. It wasn’t meant to just sit there. Instead, add your words to it and then send it off on a journey.
Meet the Writer: Tamra Orr is a full time writer and has written more than 300 books for readers of all ages. She is also mom to four and writes an average of 50 letters or more a month.