What to Write in a Letter

calligraphy, thoughts

You’ve become quite good at creating beautiful calligraphy, and now you’re looking for excuses to use it. One of the most basic way is to write a letter, or at least – envelope addressing. I don’t know if I would calligraph the whole letter – unless it’s for a special occasion.

There are just so many things that go into the seemingly mundane endeavour of envelope addressing. First of all, it’s proper manner to handwrite your addressing. As for calligraphy, there’s the use of both majuscule and minuscule in a name, also the practice of numbers in the address and postal codes. Don’t forget the spacing between letters, words, and lines. The address’s composition on the envelope, not to mention flourishing – all these things take handwritten addressing to a whole new level. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s return to the more ancient act of letter writing.

There is so much one can write in a letter, except when faced with a new blank page. In an era where ‘communication’ can happen in an instant regardless of distance, creating a handwritten message can be surprisingly more difficult. Well, let’s pause for a bit and let me help you relax by saying that you don’t even have to actually send the letter. Feel free to compose a secret love letter, an angry complaint, or an imaginary one to your future self. If anything, it should help you loosen the hand-tiedness.

If you do decide to really send the letter, however, let’s go back to the basics. First, write the date. If the addressee chose to make a keepsake out of your letter, she or he will want to know when it was written. Second, greet the recipient. A simple dear (first name) will do, but you can be creative if you like.

Now comes the hard part, the main part of the letter. You can start however you like, but if you’re stuck, remember that it is only polite to ask how your friend is doing, followed by the hopes that she is well. You can also share a bit about how you’re doing here in the opening paragraph.

Next, if there is no important point to make – such as saying thank you for a gift, asking to come to an event, or passionate declaration of love – you can elaborate more about your life and ask about hers. Nothing is really off limits – you can write poetry if you like. Basically just imagine that a global EMP has sent us all back to a letter-writing era, but thankfully the post office still works.

For a burst of inspiration, recall the letter’s you’ve read in the past, whether real ones or the ones in books. Letters of note share a bunch from famous people, a lot of them are inspiring and entertaining.

Finally, finish with a hearty farewell greetings and sign your name with a flourish.

Writing (or doing anything, really) for me is much more about getting how you feel out there rather than getting other people’s reaction, which should just be by-product. So don’t feel too bad if your friend isn’t inclined to write a reply or even compliment the gorgeous envelope. Just keep doing it for your own sake, for the sheer pleasure of it.

S.

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