Have you every skimmed through a well-written, heart-felt letter and thought to yourself, “I dearly wish I could write so beautifully myself.”? Have you ever felt awkward writing a friendly letter because you didn’t know how to “properly” word a phrase, how to “properly” structure the writing, or how to “properly” express yourself? Well, you needn’t wish nor worry any longer! I have been writing letters for about eight years now, and I have narrowed it down to four simple steps that I would like to share with you to help you write your letters more easily. In one word, you can write your letters THUS:
~ Thoughtfully – Being thoughtful when writing a letter is perhaps the most important point. Fran Lebowitz once sagely stated, “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” The same goes for letter writing. You must keep in mind that you are not writing an essay or dissertation on your life. You are speaking to your friend, family member, etc. Just as in a physical conversation you would not want to speak at them but to them, so in a letter remember to address the topics your family member or friend addressed in their letter. Additionally, when you write your letter, make sure that the topics you include are of some interest to your friend, not just to you. Finally, avoid using the ghastly pronoun I as your subject in every sentence. It is neither becoming nor thoughtful.
~ Honestly – The second point is to be honest in your writing. Just as you would not exaggerate the excitement of your daily life to your physical friends, remember not to exaggerate the events of your life to your friends miles away. If nothing exciting has happened, that’s absolutely okay! They’re your friends because they like you, not what you do. So, keep it honest – no matter how boring the honesty may be.
~ Uniquely – The third point to remember is to be unique in your writing. You may use extremely decorous words in your verbal speech. So, do it in writing. You may be a texting fan. So, write LOL’s or JK’s or whatever else your heart desires (but I would avoid writing an entire letter solely in texting terms). If you enjoy simple words, simple sentences, short letters, then that’s the way you should write your letter. Do not feel the need to go out of your comfort zone to write a letter. Although in grade school we are taught to write with distinct paragraphs, topics, conclusions, etc., when you actually sit down to write a letter, write it as you would talk. With all of your odd words, cute smiley faces, simple sentences, etc. Remember: Letter writing is not a rigid assignment – it is an art.
~ Sincerely – Finally, remember to keep your letter sincere. While this point follows closely with the idea of being honest, there is a notable difference between the two. When I say “sincerely” I don’t mean write it honestly (with truthful facts). I mean send the letter out complete with its blemishes. If you misspelled a word, and had to correct it, leave the correction there. If you were writing in a hurry and it looks like scribble, let it look like scribble – do not rewrite it. If you spilled some ink, or there is an ink blob on your letter, let it dry and leave it there. If you dripped wax on a part of the letter you did not wish to stamp, leave the wax there (or peel the wax off, but leave the little color imprint there). If you began to cry while writing your letter, leave the tear stains on the paper. Every “blemish” is like a beauty spot – a signature aspect of your letter. Part of the beauty of letters is being able not only to read the actual words on the page, but the mood, emotions, and circumstances in which the letter was written.
So, there. You now have four easy steps to guide you when you write your next letter! Last simple tip: When you write your letter, as with many things, KISS it. No, I don’t mean literally – although I’m positive you could if you wanted to (and no one would ever even know). KISS just means you should Keep It Simple for Success. Don’t overdo it or stress about it – your recipient will be able to tell if you do. Just relax and enjoy the process. Only then will you truly enjoy and master the art of letter writing.