For the Letter-Writing Aficionado
February 1st. Already on month two of 2018.
And it’s time for A Month of Letters!
It really is one of my favorite times of the year. There is a spike in letters received, new friends to meet, and a whole bunch of people who share the common love of letter writing. In an age where electronic communication whizzes by, where instant notifications let you glance at a friend’s life, letter writing slows down time and engages your brain. It really engages all of your sense. Letter writing grounds you in the present.
A letter takes a bit more time than an email or a status update and 10x as faster than a “like.” Because letters takes some time to get to you, you not only have to slow your mind down to what to write about but you also need to think about how much time has passed between letters.
Now, I’ve been a terrible pen pal these past two years, but with the Month of Letters challenge, it gives me a chance to catch up since the motivation is there, along with an excellent support system.
So, if you’ve known me for some time, this subject is most likely redundant. However, if you’ve only spot-read my blog than welcome to my Month of Letters’ post.
It’s fairly straight forward challenge. For every day in the month of February, the challenge is to write one letter and mail it. Ideally, that would mean twenty-eight pieces of mail will have left your mailbox.
To me, that’s the beauty of it. The simplicity.
There are variations or certain guidelines that someone can follow. For example, I’ve heard this challenge apply to only the days that the postal service is open, so you get four days off (I believe). I’ve also heard that the challenge is to hand write the letter while others I’ve heard that typing works just as fine. The one thing that’s standard and non-negotiable is that the letter need to be mailed, as in stamped and postmarked.
There are fun things help spice things up. Within the LetterMo.com community, you can earn badges (as well as get more history on how this all started) for things like “send a thank you card” or “send a fan mail.” I’m member so if you sign up, look me up. This is my fourth year participating and third year as a member of the LetterMo community.
Another community I’d suggest looking at is InCoWriMo.org. This community I just discovered though I’ve read/heard that acronym around my letter writing circles. InCoWriMo stands for International Correspondence Writing Month. Their premise is the same. One a day, everyday, for the month of February.
Other places to find our tribe:
- LEP, A League of Extraordinary Pen Pals. There is a small monthly fee (or annually) but such a wonderful community.
- The Letter Writer’s Alliance is another community of letter writers.
- And I also recommend Postcrossing, mainly in the forums. Their main service is postcard exchange, which is fun in itself and I’ve met some wonderful pen pals that way, but the forums is where you’ll find others who are looking specifically for letter exchanges (which, of course, is slightly more than a postcard).
Tips and Tricks
Although there is a plethora of sources on how to write letters on the web, there are a few things that I do to stay motivated and organized through this letter writing push.
The first is a log all letters I send and receive. If you’re an avid letter-writer, you’ll already be doing this. Mostly likely. Probably. If you’re newbie, WELCOME! It’s really quite easy to start a log. You can use a spreadsheet, just keep a running list, or feel free to print out the many templates (some designed specifically for this challenge) available online.
One way I keep track is I simply write “rec’vd [date]” on the corner of the envelope and when I reply, I write above that “sent [date].” This way I know write away if I responded to a letter or not. (And if you and your pen pal are steady letter-writers, I usually write what number letter it is next to the received date (“rece’vd [date] #5). This way I know what exchange I’m on with my pen pal.
Best of Luck and Happy Letter Writing!