Writing letters is considered by some to be a lost art. In this day and age of texting, emoticons and social shorthand, pulling out an actual piece of stationary and mailing could be considered old-fashioned. But it can also help you stand out from the “everyone is doing it” crowd.
If you’re trying to woo the girl (or guy), if you want to make an impression on Mom (or Dad) for the Holidays – but don’t have the dough for a stand-out gift – write a stand-out letter. Since few people write letters, they’ll be impressed. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It should be heartfelt, however.
The most basic format for a letter is very simple. Start at the top of the page with “Dear” and end the letter with “Love,” and your name underneath. It’s best to include the date at the top (the left or right hand corner is fine). Avoid writing a huge block of text – break it up into paragraphs that are visually easy on the eye; every few sentences or so.
For maximum effect, take a moment to figure out the message you’d like to get across to the recipient of the letter. Write down the basic concept or message on a Post-It note so you don’t have to try and remember it later, in case you don’t finish the letter immediately. If you’re handwriting it the letter on nice stationary, try writing a rough draft on plain paper first. Often one’s “real” message will develop during the writing process. In other words, what you were really trying to say might appear at the end of your letter. Then re-write the letter in an improved form (if one comes to mind) on nice stationary.
Letters do not have to be handwritten, but handwritten letters can be a nice touch. If you’re handwriting is difficult to read, type the letter and print it on stationary instead. But even a letter printed on plain paper and mailed
can have impact. It all boils down to getting across what you’d like to say.
If coming up with a heartfelt message is difficult – think of what you’d want the other person to know before they are gone. That might seem dramatic, but often people never say such a message – until it’s too late. You don’t have to state the message that way (it could be a bit awkward!). A subtle way to start would be, “I probably never told you this, but…” and tell them what you want them to know.
A heartfelt letter to a friend or loved one will often be cherished for years to come. This Holiday season, make an impression to remember. Write a letter.