Getting Started

How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.” -Haruki Murakami


There’s nothing magical about writing a letter. But it can be a magical experience to receive one. If you’re new to letter writing or out of practice, here are a few simple tips to help you get started:

1) Think of someone to whom you want to send a letter. Consider writing to a relative you haven’t seen in a while, an old friend, a new friend (such as an LLW pen pal), someone you wish to comfort or thank or congratulate on an accomplishment, or someone you would like to get to know better.

2) Find something to write with. You can use an antique fountain pen, a crayon, or a stubby pencil, but a simple ballpoint pen from which the ink easily flows (nothing that makes writing a chore) will work just fine.

3) Choose something to write on: anything from stationery with your embossed initials to a fun card to a paper bag will suffice, depending on your mood.

4) Find a space that’s comfortable—an upholstered chair, a seat at your desk, a driftwood log on a beach, a patio chaise, or anyplace where you can sit and focus on your thoughts.

5) Set the mood. Unplug from electronic devices or, if you must have music, consider listening to instrumental music, so no words distract you.

6) If your situation allows it, light a candle. A lit candle can help you focus on that moment and that space.

7) Sit quietly for a moment and think about the person to whom you will write. Imagine yourself in conversation with that person.

8) Start writing.

9) Above all— remember that a handwritten letter doesn’t need to be perfect, it only needs to be real.

10) Address your envelope, add the appropriate amount of postage and drop your letter at the post office.

11) And, finally, smile. You’ve just given yourself, and someone else, a one-of-a-kind offering, the gift of a handwritten letter.