Writing a letter or sending a card is one of our absolute favorite ways to be thoughtful. It tends to be a bit of a lost art these days, which makes it all the more valuable. (I recently had a young person ask me if stamps are still sold, which prompted my immediate trip to the wine aisle where I pondered the state of our society amongst bottles of cab.) On top of being a forgotten mode of communication, though, it’s also such a great way to express ourselves as creatives. After all, who doesn’t love pretty stationary and a great ball-point? Today, then, we wanted to break down the art of letter writing to help you as you continue on your quest to make 2016 your best year at being thoughtful.
Make it pretty
At Aisle Planner, we love few things more than great paper goods. If you’re not someone who naturally enjoys writing letters, a great way to make it a more appealing hobby is to invest in all-things beautiful: great stationary, soft velum, nice pens, lined envelopes, etc. As wedding planners, we tend to love anything both pretty and tactile, so why not transfer that train of thought into your letter writing? Paper Source is one of our all-time favorite places for stocking up on stationary. Or, if you’re looking for a message with some kick to it, we love the equally pretty and hilarious cards from both Ladyfingers Letterpress and Sapling Press.
Make it personal
Another great way to encourage yourself to write more letters and send more cards it to invest in some really great items to personalize your paper goods. Something about writing a note on a heavy card that boasts your initials in gold foil is just so much more enticing than writing on plain old paper. We love (LOVE) the idea of personalized postage. It’s also a great way to help brand your business. Why not order some custom postage with your company’s logo? Another great way to personalize the final product? Custom stamps (as in stamp-and-ink stamps as opposed to postage stamps). We’re obsessed with Hello World Paper Co., a company that lets you either choose from a number of stamp designs in stock or send in your own custom design (i.e. company logo, etc.) for a super personal addition to your letters.
Hit ‘em when they’re least expecting it
Last week, we broke down the art of saying thank you, and, while letter writing is always our number one favorite way to do that, keep in mind there are plenty of other times to write a letter or send a card. Often, a card or letter sent completely out of the blue has more impact than one sent as a thank-you, because the recipient wasn’t at all expecting it. It’s a thoughtful gesture that can really make someone’s day. Challenge yourself and set a (realistic) goal for sending these “just-because” cards—maybe it’s one per week, maybe it’s one per month. Send them to family, friends, clients and coworkers alike to brighten their day. We love quirky cards that stray from the classic Hallmark path. Among our favorites? This hilarious card from Sapling Press for those looking to send a quirky message. Or, this super cute (extra tiny) “Big Hugs” card for those looking to send some encouragement.
Get creative with content
One of the things that discourages people from writing letters is not knowing what to say. Remember, though, that the act of sending a handwritten letter is 90 percent of the gig—you don’t have to write a novel for it to still be considered a thoughtful and meaningful gesture. One of our favorite tricks to overcome writer’s block? Use quotes. If you’re sending someone a card for encouragement, google “quotes on encouragement” and start your letter off with a quote by a great writer or philosopher. Something as simple as, “Dear Jenny, Ghandi said it best when he said, ‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’ Here’s to shaking the heck out of it. Best of luck on your new adventure” works beautifully. We love using one-liners and famous quotes as a creative way to get your writing ball rolling.
Give them a little something extra
Another great way to step up your letter-writing game is to include something extra with the letter. Dried flowers, stickers for their kiddos or even extra postage if you’re encouraging a pen-pal situation all do the trick. You also can’t go wrong with a few photographs. Including something besides the letter or card itself isn’t completely necessary, but it’s a great way to add an extra surprise for the recipient (and you’ll earn about twenty extra ‘thoughtful’ points if you do).
That’s what we’ve rounded up for you today. Remember, everyone—and we mean everyone—loves getting a little something special in the mail. Have any extra letter-writing tips we missed? Share them below. We’d love to hear from you!