The Art of Letter Writing

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The Pleasures of a Handwritten Letter

Remember those days, pre-internet, when we wanted to send or receive news to friends or family.  When we couldn’t just grab our phones and instead, we had to pull out our fountain pens, maybe a bottle of ink too, and some paper to write on. As you finished writing and licking the seal of the envelope, you’d wonder just briefly about the long journey that envelope was going to take to reach the right hands. In theory, you’d think, it could take days, or weeks even to arrive there and it would be many more days before you would get a reply.

Sure, we can all admit that we are definitely better off with modern technology than without. Communication is more efficient and effective, but there is something to be said for the vanishing art of letter writing. In fact, epistolary, the art of literary letters, was a whole genre of literature but more on that at a different time.

Hand writing post cards and letters

What we should all still remember is that handwritten letters are a great way to convey sentimentality, personality and care. Writing and receiving letters and cards can also be such a pleasurable way to catch up with our loved ones - a form of connection that is even more poignant during a pandemic lockdown. Needless to say, the benefits of letter writing go even further than this.

It is absolutely fitting to mark celebratory moments such as birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays; but, in their sincerity, letters are also suited for more sombre occasions like illness, death, or personal misfortune. Although hopefully more of the former! 

The Benefits of Letter Writing

The Personal Impression

The greatest advantage that handwritten mail has over its more popular electronic sibling is that it acts as a stand-in for the very person by sharing a certain persistence and perishability. Writing is a coordination between mind and body. The mind formulates the letters and words while the muscles and tendons in the hand work intricately to form them. It is a delicate process when you think about it.

There are many ways that your penmanship will convey your character, mood, or quirks - predominantly, of course, is in the style of the writing itself. The author’s flamboyant side may show in the long shapely loops of their ‘p’s and ‘g’s. Speed can indicate mood or urgency. The author might have been in a rush to write before heading out to catch the morning post or they might have taken their time in composition.Letter writing by hand

Value to the Recipient

Imagine for instance, that a loved one’s birthday is in a couple of weeks. They live a little distance away and you’re not able to visit because circumstances prevent it. Nowadays, most of us are used to sending a text message or writing a social media post on special occasions. Sure, we are all appreciative of these things and you’ll feel like you did your duty to show some solicitude.

However, there is a tiny nagging feeling of dissatisfaction in the back of your mind. You think to yourself: “could I have done something different? Was that message a little cliché or pithy?”. Sometimes something more meaningful  is called for. One of the main benefits of letter writing is that it conveys more than a short bit of script. It really does make someone’s day to receive a piece of handwritten mail. The surprise and novelty of it makes it special.

Rifle Paper Co. Greeting cards and HMM scissors in gold

Featured: Rifle Paper Co. Greeting Cards

Time to Reflect

In the frenzied pace that our busy lives can sometimes take, it is all too easy to forget to spend a little time to relax and reflect on the bigger picture. The act of composing a letter requires time. That time should be taken as a gift to yourself, as an opportunity to reflect more deeply about whatever is important to you. It could be cathartic to write about something that has been bothering you or to say what you have always wanted to say to the recipient but could only say through writing.

Taking some time out to write and send a handwritten letter is something we could all do more often. Now more than ever before, is a really good time to get into letter writing. Letter writing really bridges the gap between loved ones in these trying times.

To Get Started

If you would like to begin to write some handwritten letters here’s how you could start:

What You’ll Need

Have a few supplies handy. A pen is fine, but for more style, try a fountain pen such as the Kaweco Perkeo Fountain Pen. You will also want to have some letter sized paper, and envelopes. Perhaps keep a little notebook with the details and addresses of the people you plan to send post to. If this becomes a more serious hobby, you could also stock up on tools such as a good pair of scissors, some stationary tape, stickers, coloured and decorative paper, and maybe even some sealing wax and a seal if you want to take things to the next level.

Featured: Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen in White

When to Write

These are a few occasions that you could warrant a handwritten letter. Perhaps to express gratitude for the kindness or help that you received from a friend, neighbour, or colleague or maybe to mark a holiday.

If you enjoy the art of letter writing, consider picking up a pen pal! There are many pen pal writing communities online and it could be a great way to create a habit of writing consistently while making new friends. Postcards are another fun, non-committal way of getting into the practice of letter writing. These are more casual and messages are often kept short and informal.

Knowing what we now know, how could you not want to begin writing a beautifully handwritten letter to a loved one? Go on, experiment with the art of letter writing and show them how much you care...You can thank us later!




Written by Adam James


Slow Living Stationery Writing

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