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Seven reasons why you should write more letters

When was the last time you received a handwritten letter in the post?

Compared to the dozens of electronic messages most of us send out every day, very rarely you’ll get a letter drop onto your doormat – aside from the mundane bills, bank statements and junk mail. And let’s be honest, who gets excited about opening those?

The act of tearing open a handwritten envelope, on the other hand, is infinitely more exciting, like seeing presents under the tree on Christmas morning or when Harry Potter finally got his hands on his Hogwarts acceptance letter. You wonder, ‘Ooh, who is this letter from’, (if you don’t recognise the handwriting) and what life-altering news could be inside?


Photo By: mbgrigby

But apart from the obvious excitement in store for the letter’s recipient, there are many more reasons why sending a handwritten letter in the post is a great idea.

This post will outline eight of those very reasons, leaving you no excuse not to get out your best pen and paper and make someone’s day.

You get to buy nice stationary!

With so many outlets online to get your point across, sending a message out to a friend is not something that requires pre-planning, you just have to figure out what you’re going to say and hit ‘send.’ Letter writing however, requires a lot more time and effort. In fact it’s kind of like preparing a meal. First you’ve got to gather your ingredients, meaning it’s time to go shopping for some fancy stationary! Going hog-wild with your credit card in the stationary shop is one of the few guilt-free purchases we get in life, so you will easily be forgiven for splashing out on the best writing set around because letter writing is an altruistic act. Score!

It will actually get read!

If you have ever received an email or message from a friend asking you to do something that, for whatever reason, you’re really not too keen on doing, then you will know how it is almost too tempting to ignore the message and pretend you didn’t read it. With a letter though, you can guarantee that the receiver is going to read every single word, so make sure your letter counts.

A letter is forever… or not

Emails and texts get deleted, but a handwritten letter will remain a keepsake forever. Unless of course you are a scorned ex who chooses to burn all letters and keepsakes from your lost loves, in which case, the process of burning or tearing up a letter has a pretty cool romanticism about it.

So to all the scorned ex’s out there, I hope the process of burning love letters brings you the closure you need. Closure carried out in much more ceremonious way than by simply hitting ‘Delete all messages’ on your phone.

You can add extras!

With emails, you might attach a jpeg to go with the message, but with letters there’s always the opportunity to pop a small, but ever so thoughtful gift in the envelope as well. Or, if you want to be super generous, why not send them over a parcel too?

Extras can also count as a crudely drawn picture in the side margins, because sometimes, especially when you’re describing funny anecdotes, a small diagram can really give your story depth, even if your drawing skills turn out to be rubbish!

Add it to your posthumous archive of works

Even though all of our electronic messages will be floating around in the black hole of the internet for time immemorial, a letter in your best handwriting is something that will be kept for generations to come and may even end up in the hands of your great-great grandchildren one day.

When conducting family-tree research, some of the best finds always turn out to be the old love letters, so think about your life. Do you currently have many tangible artefacts which future generations of your family may be interested in reading? If not, then you may want to think about your legacy and get some letters out there quick!

It’ll improve your handwriting

When was the last time you wrote in cursive handwriting with a decent fountain pen? Many of us in school were taught to do this, yet most of us are so used to typing all of our messages, you’ll be lucky if you can find a chewed-up biro and a legal pad in the house, let alone a fountain pen and a nice pad of paper.

Handwriting can also tell you a lot about your personality and mood at the time of writing. Take a look at this post about what your handwriting says about you and decide if your chicken-scratchy scrawl unveils you as a psychopath or if in fact it reveals that you have forgotten how to do joined-up writing.

It’ll improve your writing

Not only will writing letters improve your scrawled handwriting, collecting your thoughts from all the disparate parts of your life to put in a letter to a loved one can help you filter through your experiences and put your life into perspective as, Catherine Field writes in the New York Times;

“A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window on the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savour their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping”

So what are you waiting for? Find that address and get your letter in the post to that special someone today!