• A Wild Lass

The Art of the Letter

Handwritten notes are a personal touch many people don’t take time to write anymore.

Notes and letters are even more special these days because of that.


It used to be the standard. Letters were so important; just look at Jane Austen. Her novels and her personal letters are part of her story, and people long ago set aside time each day for correspondence. Later they left calling cards, gentlemen and ladies alike when they went visiting.


Luckily, people won’t think of you as ancient or old-fashioned if they get a note in the mail from you these days. They’ll feel special and touched. Writing a note and sending it in the mail is a fun way to let someone know you’re thinking about them, without the standard, day-to-day routines of texting or messaging.


Here are some tips for writing letters to help you get back into the art of sending a handwritten note.


Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.


Length Doesn’t Matter


Because handwritten notes are so rare, a short one is definitely okay! It’s the sentiment they will appreciate most. Jot out a few thoughts for the person and get it in the mail. It’s much better to send a short note you have time to complete than let a longer letter languish on the desk for weeks (or worse, never send it at all!). Make sure you don’t obligate them to reply; adding things to someone else’s to-do list isn’t very polite.


Postcards are ideal for short messages and spur-of-the-moment notes. If you’re visiting somewhere, plan ahead and bring a few addresses and postcard stamps with you so you can send a note to friends. They’ll love seeing where you’ve been! Postcards are also a great way for kids to send thank you notes. They won’t feel like they have to write a long note, and it will be easier to finish with only a small space to fill. Whoever gave them the gift will be happy to get a note, no matter the method of delivery.


Keep Track of Information You Need


Save addresses so you don’t have to ask every time, because then they’ll know something is coming. One of the best thing about random notes in the mail is that they’re unexpected.


While you definitely need an address to mail something, if you can keep the address for next time, you’ll be sure to surprise the recipient. I like a hard copy address book, but it’s really easy to add an address to a contact on your smartphone, too.


Stock Up on Supplies


Get extra stamps when you visit the post office so you always have them on hand. Many grocery stores also carry stamps, so if you don’t get to the post office much, you can still grab them while you’re out. If you’re an online shopper, you can order stamps from usps.com.


Keep cards and stationery around that you love. If you don’t have to go out and buy the paper and envelopes, you’ll be much more likely to jot a note to someone and stick it in the mail. Lavender Fields has adorable greeting cards for reasonable prices--check them out here!


Use An Address Stamp


If you’re planning to make this a habit, you’ve probably got lots of letters in your future. Using an address stamp can help you cut down on how much writing you’re doing.


Order an address stamp with an aesthetic you love so you find excuses to use it. There are many styles and deals on these stamps, from self-inking stamps and modern fonts to Groupon deals and sophisticated ones like this holiday stamp from Jane.


What to Say?


Are words failing you? If you’re looking for kind words and thoughtful expressions to add to your cards, try these out:

  • I am beyond grateful for you/your friendship

  • You make a big difference

  • You are in my thoughts today

  • There are a thousand reasons to smile, but you’re my favorite one

  • You remind me of the best things in life

  • If you think missing me is hard, you should try missing you

If you’re still not sure about these sentiments, try using someone else’s words. Famous quotes or obscure ones are all helpful if they express exactly what you want to say. Here are some ideas for your next letter or postcard:

  • “How to stop time: kiss. How to travel in time: read. How to escape time: music. How to feel time: write. How to release time: breathe.”

  • “When words are both true and kind, they change the world.”

  • “Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance.”

  • “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Keeping track of fantastic words can take a little work. If you find yourself inspired by things you read but can’t ever remember them when you’re sitting down to write a card, get a notebook and keep it with you. When you find something interesting you want to remember and use later, write it down.


Finishing Touches


Not everyone has time to make their letters fancy or detailed. Yet if you’ve got a little extra time and you want to add something special to your notes, here are some ideas:


Sketch something in the margin or on the envelope. Even if you’re not a great artist, it’s not too hard to add a doodle or something cute. The extra touch will make your letter’s recipient smile.


Use stickers. You can find fancy, elegant stickers or funny ones to make your recipient laugh. Check out the dollar store for cheap ones, or a craft store for specialty interests.


Use fun lettering when you address the envelope.


You can learn calligraphy or a special lettering style from Pinterest or YouTube to give your envelopes extra style.


Include flat gifts with your letters. You can send sheets of stickers, sketches you’ve made or bought, and bookmarks. You can send anything your friend might enjoy as long as it's flat. Are they a crafter? Add a sheet of incredible paper you found at the craft store! Do they practice handwork or needlecraft? Include a piece of lace or a small fabric sample.


A Side Note About Mail Art


Mailing a letter doesn’t have to be the only way you make someone smile. Postal art is a great way to send a greeting and make someone smile, even if it’s not a handwritten note. Anything you can stick a stamp on, you can mail (with a few exceptions).


So often when you get someone a gift, you find a box, wrap the box, and send it that way. Yet I once sent a papier-mache pear to a friend from college without a wrapper. I just wrote in sharpie on the outside and stuck the stamps right to it. If you feel like getting really creative, why not try sending some mail art?


Make sure you follow A Wild Lass on Instagram and Twitter for extra fun throughout the week.


For more about creativity, check out these other posts:

Giving Your Child’s Room a Makeover: When and How

In the Kitchen Blog Posts

4 of the Best Free Training Courses for Writing Improvement


*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.


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