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How to Write: Sympathy Notes

5 Apr

Sympathy Notes really get a lot of scrutiny from the recipient. The words inside a sympathy note carry a lot of weight; it’s like they are magnified. These notes are sent when someone we know and care about has experienced pain. The pain of loss. Whether that is the loss of a parent, a pet or otherwise, loss is still loss. It is feeling empty when before you were whole.

What words are ever appropriate at a time like that, right? I don’t know about you, but every time I sit down to write one of these notes, I always think that there are really no words that exist that will actually bring comfort.

And then I remember, that statement is true. A sympathy note is not actually intended to make the situation better because it really can’t make the situation better. Instead, a sympathy note is a way to say ‘Hi, I’m here, and I’m thinking of you.’ It’s a reminder that the recipient has many people in his or her life to help fill in that empty spot.

There are lots of things you can say in a sympathy note, most of which are probably fine. However, there are a few things you should avoid saying in a sympathy note and I’ll tell you why.

Just Call

“If there’s anything I can do, let me know,” or “If there’s anything I can do, just call.”

Those are both very nice sentiments and anyone who says them means well. However, what you are really saying is: “I’ll help, but you have to call me first.” When someone is grieving, the last thing they need is another ball in their court, so to speak. And honestly, they’re not going to call. It’s better to say something like “I’m going to call you next week to check on you” or “I’m going to email you next week to check in with you, in case you need anything.”

When I discovered this tip, I was a little shocked. I said this all the time to people. I’d even post it on Facebook. And I was not the only one. Someone might post that they were sick, and there’d be eight Facebook comments of people saying “If you need something, just call!” It’s just another way of not really saying anything at all.

A Better Place

“They’re better off now,” or “They’re happy now,” or even “They’re in a better place.”

Even if the person you are writing to has said one of the above statements to you, it’s still best not to say it yourself. Honestly, maybe they’re not better off. Perhaps things happened you’re not aware of. The issue with this statement is that it’s not really a comfort to the person that was left behind. The person who died is still dead. They’re still dead whether they’re better off or not. And, the person receiving your sympathy note is probably not better off, definitely not happy now, and likely not in a better place. How can a dead person be better off than the living person you are writing to?

“I Understand”

Be careful when you say you understand or you know how the person feels (particularly when you’ve never been through the same situation). Let me give you an example. When a friend loses a parent, I will usually include a statement like this:

“While I can’t understand what it’s like to lose a parent, I can understand what it’s like to be loved by a parent. I know how much your father loved you. I remember in high school how he’d pick us up after track practice and he’d always kiss you on your cheek, give you a hug, and ask you how your day was when we’d get in the car. I vividly remember how much love your Dad had for you.”

Everything I said was completely and totally true. I didn’t say I knew or I understood when I really don’t know and I really don’t understand. Plus, I was positive. I wasn’t talking about death, I was talking about life.  Be considerate of this when you sit down to write a sympathy note.

Take the Time

Most anything written in a sympathy note has good intentions behind it. However, if you are going to take the time to write one, really pay attention to what you are saying versus what you are meaning. They can be different. If you want to actually do something for the bereaved, say what it is and commit to it. Don’t put anything back on the bereaved. Don’t comment on where the deceased has gone or how the deceased may be doing. Focus on the person you are writing to, the person who is still alive and dealing with the aftermath.

Death is a funny thing. It happens to all of us, and will happen to everyone we know. Yet, many of us struggle with how to act or what to say when it happens. If you stay positive and commit to doing something for the bereaved you’ll stand a much better chance of sending a note that is meaningful, memorable and a true comfort.

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Finding the Fountain Pen Nib That’s Right for You

22 Mar
Image provided by Cole Imperi.

A smattering of nibs to ogle. Image provided by Cole Imperi. Click to enlarge.

A fountain pen nib exists for every style of writer. Whether you press hard and dig deep into the page or prefer to elegantly draw loops and curls, there is a perfect nib waiting for you. The tricky part is looking objectively at the way you write and from that determining what style of nib is best for you.

Actually, the tricky part is probably that there is no global standardization of nib sizes. Your best bet? Become familiar with terminology, find a brand you like and work from that brand as your ‘base.’ Below, you’ll see commonly accepted definitions and descriptions for nib sizes and types (however, there is dispute within the community).

Nib Sizes

All nibs come in different sizes whether you are purchasing a flex nib, an italic nib, a stub nib or any other kind of nib. The most common width sizes include Extra Fine (EF), Fine (F), Medium (M), Broad (B), and Double Broad (BB). You can also find nibs that come in EEF-BBB, but they’re traditionally harder to come by.

Nib Types

Needle & Accountant Nibs

Sailor Desk Pen [EF Nib]

Image provided by Cole Imperi. Click to enlarge.

These are basically EF (Extra Fine) nibs. The Sailor Desk Pen in the photos would be considered by most to be a needle nib. Most people would agree that the thinnest, finest nibs come from Japan. If you’re looking for a needle nib/accountant nib, go for a Japanese-made pen in either EF or EEF.

Stub Nibs

A stub nib is like writing on a thin oval. Imagine that the tip of the nib (the part that makes contact with the paper) is an oval shape. The lines that you create from writing will show this slight variation. (A round tipped nib, which is known as a standard nib will not show variation in writing much like a ballpoint pen doesn’t show variation.)

Italic Nibs & Calligraphy Nibs

Image provided by Cole Imperi.

Kaweco Sport Calligraphy 1.1 image provided by Cole Imperi. Click to enlarge.

An italic nib is like a stub nib, but the oval is longer, thereby producing more variation in line width as you write. Many use the terms ‘calligraphy nib’ and ‘italic nib’ interchangeably. The basic gist of what makes an italic and calligraphy nib different from others is that the nib will have sharper corners. The sharper corners create very clean, crisp lines in line strokes. The stub nib does too, but those corners tend to be ground to rounded points so the stub is less likely to ‘catch’ or scratch the paper when you write quickly. Calligraphy nibs also tend to come in wider sizes. With an italic or calligraphy nib you will likely need to write slower than you do normally because they tend to catch or skip more by design.

Oblique Nibs

An oblique nib is exactly the same as an italic or a calligraphy nib, except the nib is cut on a slant (or angle), rather than straight across.

Music Nib

Music nibs (designed for the purpose of writing music) traditionally have two slits in the nib rather than just one, but not always. They are made so the user can produce lines crosswise and longwise easily.

Flex Nibs

Image provided by Cole Imperi.

Prosperity Pen, Medium Flex Nib image provided by Cole Imperi. Click to enlarge.

Flex nibs have some amount of ‘flex’ in the nib itself so when the user presses down on it variation in the width of the stroke is produced. Flex nibs can be found in various amounts of ‘flexiness,’ from slight flex to super flex. Vintage flex pens produce some of the greatest flex around. What makes flex nibs unique is that they can be combined with other types of fountain pens. You could find an Italic Flex Nib for example, or a Needle Flex Nib. Flex nibs have a bit of a learning curve but produce lovely, unique results. The flexibility of the nib highlights the natural nuances of each person’s handwriting.

This brief overview of the most common types of nibs should help you on your way in determining what nib might be for you. Personally, my absolute favorite nib type is a standard flex nib. Second choice is a calligraphy nib. To me, being able to highlight the unique way I naturally write is most important, especially when I write letters by hand. If you’ve never even held a fountain pen, I strongly suggest trying out multiple types first. Just pick the pen up in your hand, dip the tip of the nib in some ink (no need to fuss with cartridges or full refills here), and write a little with it. You’ll be able to immediately determine if you like one or not.

The Language of Stamps + Free Printable

13 Mar

The Victorians, at least the well-to-do variety, sure did have a lot of time to pay attention to details. They devised the use of Personal Calling Cards, the selection of flowers to send a certain message, and lots and lots of rules about etiquette. Even today, we are discovering (and reviving) Victorian traditions. For letter writing and mail enthusiasts, there is one in particular that has gotten notice in the last few years: The Language of Stamps.

A few special stamps of EPC 🙂

Just as it was a Victorian tradition to select flowers based upon a message you’d like to send (the red rose equating to true love still exists today), there was a tradition of affixing a postage stamp to a letter in a certain way. Upside down, tilted left or tilted right, the direction and placement of the stamp said much more than ‘postage paid.’

Perhaps the most interesting part of the language of stamps is that there were no distinct rules. An upside down stamp might have meant one thing in the southern U.S., another in the northern U.S., and another in the UK. For all intents and purposes, the language of stamps was restricted to particular groups or regions. Even then, there is evidence that individuals and couples had their own private codes they used just between themselves.

Today, this tradition has made a resurgence (albeit a small one) with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Men and women writing to spouses serving overseas flip stamps upside down or in another direction to signify things like “I miss you” and “I love you.” The ‘codes’ in these letters are generally just between the letter writer and the recipient and there is by no means a true system out there today.

There is also a section of the US population that are avid letter writers who see value in reviving traditions like these. Major newspapers and popular websites have covered this very topic in recent years which has helped to draw more interest (and participation).

Communicating an additional message with a stamp is all about details. Not only is the letter writer taking time to write a letter, put pen to paper, fold it up, put it in an envelope and mail it, but they are going the extra mile in selecting the way the stamp is adhered to the envelope.

And, in case you ever wondered, if you place your stamp somewhere other than the upper right hand corner of your envelope, it will still get delivered. (However, if you do choose to place the stamp elsewhere on the front of the envelope, the letter might be slightly delayed due to the postage machines not able to scan it normally and therefore it will have to be handled manually.) In fact, this is the reason the original process of the recipient paying for the postage of a letter changed to the sender paying the postage. Senders would affix a stamp a certain way or put some other code on the exterior of the envelope or letter, and many times the recipient would get the message and decline paying postage on the note. Needless to say, word spread and the system was abused to the point that it was changed to where the sender pays the postage.


To encourage you to partake in the Language of Stamps tradition, attached to this article is an editable letterhead document you can download and print! Click the following link for a letterhead made specially for you to download and use –> EPC-Stationery-Hot-Air-Balloon-Editable

It is a PDF and features a hot air balloon in the bottom right hand corner. This particular image was lithographed in the Victorian era and is a rather appropriate subject for the sending of ‘air mail,’ no? After you download the letterhead, open it up in Adobe Acrobat (free) and click where the text appears. You can enter your own name or details for truly personal stationery. It prints two sheets to a standard sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper. Just cut right down the middle.

Interested in more reading? Here is a selection of articles and posts on the Language of Stamps you might be interested in:

From Love to Longing to Protest, It’s All in the Tilt of the Postage [New York Times article from 2005]

Blog post with lots of vintage ‘language of stamps’ postcards [by Rio Wang]

The Language of Stamps [post by Letter Writer’s Alliance]

The Language of Stamps [article on Philatelic Database]

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

2 Mar

1 –>  Laurie at Plannerisms wrote a strongly worded post regarding the new trend in using Pinterest and why she adamantly is against it (and has requested all of her images to be removed from Pinterest). As more companies and individuals flock to the image-sharing site, she brings up a good conversation regarding privacy and copyright laws. What’s your take on it?

2 –> The Quo Vadis blog has some neat information (and time management tips) from Dr. FG Beltrami, “the founder of Quo Vadis and inventor of the Agenda planner with its one-week-on-two-pages layout” that you will want to read. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

3 –> TigerPens has a great post offering other writing instruments if you want a change, but don’t want a fountain pen particularly. Read it here.

4 –> As seen on This is Colossal “Love Is Making Its Way Back Home: A Stop Motion Animation Using 12,000 Sheets of Construction Paper.”

5 –> Looking for a penpal? Check out Julie’s blog Penpal of the Week – each week she posts another person looking for a penpal to help people connect!

6 –> Check out some of the pages being created within the Webbies for the Rhodia Journal Swap! Several have been passed to the next person, are you one of them?

7 –>  We love that the Guardian featured an article titled “Why I Love Stationery” by Lucy Mangan. Here is an excerpt:  “The right pen and the right paper brought into conjunction, runs the unspoken thought, cannot help but result in a sudden influx of bold, brilliant and original ideas, the germ of a bestselling novel that will in its turn be inscribed in another, perhaps larger notebook more worthy of the task, in sentences as creamy and beautiful as the pages on which they are written.” We’re just wondering why the image is of post-it notes on the author instead of … stationery, obviously.

8 –> Michael at Orange Crate Art shared this image originally “by the Illinois WPA Art Project for the WPA Statewide Library Project. Stamped March 25, 1941. From the Library of Congress’s online archive American Memory.”  We fell in love with it and just had to share. It’s time to whip out some books!


 

Why Stationery is Important + Free Printable

29 Feb

Whether you write a quick note or a full-blown letter to a loved one or friend, any paper product will do. Truly. However, if you take the time to consider what you are writing on and with, you’ll see that you are creating an experience for the recipient. You are also creating an experience for yourself. The act of writing a letter was (and still should be) a way to connect with the recipient and to allow the recipient to connect with you. When you opt for stationery that has been customized, you are opting for a deeper experience.

Personal stationery became popular in the Victorian era and we still have remnants of this tradition today. It is most common in business situations; however, a revival of personal, customized stationery seems to be taking place, at least in the USA.

Stationery selection is really an art form. When you are writing a letter to someone, whether it be a thank you note or a letter for pleasure, one should select the stationery based upon the recipient and the purpose of your writing. The stationery should also be a reflection of who you are as well.

Choose your stationery in relation to the importance of your note. If you are sending an important letter; choose classic, important stationery. Traditionally, avoid using day-to-day paper (like notebook paper or computer paper) because it is everywhere, it is cheap and it is associated with other tasks, like homework and printing out reports and documents. You do not want your recipient to associate your special letter with homework or a work project!

Choose your stationery with the same amount of care you give to the words you put on the page.

To get you started, I’ve included a downloadable PDF of stationery you can customize! Click the following link for a letterhead made specially for you to download and use –> EPC-Stationery-Pomegranate-Editable

Click to enlarge.

The image that appears on the upper right corner of the letterhead is a Grenadier Punica (aka Pomegranate) and was illustrated in the early 1800s. Fruits were a common addition to personal stationery and they would often appear in borders or as full-blown illustrations. The pomegranate represents fruitfulness and growth. This is a great choice for congratulatory letters or letters bearing good news.

The printable stationery set is customizable if you so choose. The file prints two sheets to one, 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. Fold it in half and cut it right down the middle. Each half-sheet folded in half fits perfectly into an A2 envelope.

To customize your stationery with your name and address, just open the PDF and click on the areas that have text. If you don’t want any text, just delete it and click save, then print. If you want to customize it with your name and contact information, simply click on the text and type what you want, save it and print it! The font and color of the font are already programmed in so it matches the image perfectly.

I’ll have another download for you in a few weeks. Let us know what you think of this resource and if you’d like more!

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

24 Feb

1 –>  A bit of neat history this week from Annie at Scribbling Glue about zip codes: The Life and Times of Mr. Zip (a.k.a. Zone Improvement Plan).

2 –> Over at the Good Pens blog, Seth interviews the pen guys from Baltz Fine Writing.

3 –> Misty, a.k.a. The Pen Thief, made some great points regarding whether or not the Post Office should cut Saturday’s service. It is a must-read for all snail mailers, mail artists, and writers alike.

4 –> This is Colossal shared the Alphabet Typography (pictured below) created by Yale graduates Caspar Lam and YuJune Park. “Alphabet Topography is a physical examination of letterforms as it relates to usage frequency.”

See more of the project by clicking the image.

5 –> Laurie at Plannerisms gives some tips on how to create your own planner layout within a regular notebook.

6 –> FPGeeks went above and beyond at the 2012 LA Pen Show and photographed some lovely pens, plus they’ve got a couple of videos of the show you should check out too. Here is their Friday Recap, Saturday Recap, and Video Highlights.

7 –>  We thought you’d get a kick out of Mary Katrantzou‘s latest fashion show for Fall 2012 where she uses images of pencils, typewriters, circular telephone dials, and more. (Originally seen on Honestly WTF blog.)

Click the image to see more images on Honestly WTF's blog.

8 –> Blackwing wrote up a phenomenal post tracking the history of their Blackwing 602 pencil (h/t MLeddy at Orange Crate Art).


 

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

17 Feb

1 –>  We’re still not sure what to think of this, but we had to share and ask your opinion on it. This story appeared on our Twitter feed and just begged to be clicked on: The world’s best pencil sharpener teaches his secrets … is this story for real?

2 –> Tiger Pens piqued our interest with their discovery of this pen/writing-inspired rest stop located in Iowa.

3 –> It is the week of love, so we’d be remiss to not mention several Valentine’s Day posts. The Pen Thief addresses the history of Valentine’s Day; Good Mail Day mentions a story about Valentine, Nebraska,; and Dana at Save Snail Mail reminds us the reality of love letters with her post on Virginia Woolf’s letters.

4 –> Laurie at Plannerisms brings up the conversation again regarding analog versus digital planning. Recording Thoughts also weighs in on analog versus digital for recall purposes.

5 –> The Peaceable Writer posted an incredibly well-done and thorough review of multiple blue inks and finally narrowed down the choices … but you’ll have to check out the post to find out all the details!

6 –> Misty at the Pen Thief is hosting a contest for people who have always wanted to make their own stamp! The deadline is March 1st, so you have some time, but check out her blog for the full details.

7 –>  Sheila at Does This Pen Make Me Look Fat is also hosting a random drawing for a Jinhao X750. Entries close at midnight on Saturday though so you’ll want to hurry!

8 –> The 365 Letters Blog did a great round-up of LOVE stamps, and informed us that on Valentine’s Day “fans of 19th century poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were given online access to a collection of 573 letters the two exchanged from 1845 to 1846.” Click through to read more.


 

Friday Blogger Tuck-ins

3 Feb

1 –>  Our Moleskine Haiku Contest ended yesterday and it’s been a BLAST going through the 100+ submissions! Thanks to everyone who participated! We are psyched to announce the winner Tuesday, February 7th and to share all the haiku love!

2 –> Troy [Penpalling-Dad] received a neat “Peek-a-boo” letter recently from Becky [Leaving a Paper Trail] – and while the envelope is interesting (and Becky shows you how to make it here), it’s even better to see bloggers connecting this way so we can sometimes see the path a letter takes!

3 –> The Celebrations at Home blog muses about the 12 paper trends they think we’ll see in 2012.

4 –> Demilked shared this beautiful Cut-Away Leaf Art by Lorenzo Duran. (It was made for an ad campaign by Legas Delaney for Plant for the Planet. The aim of the campaign was to show leaf’s ability to absorb CO2.)

Art by Lorenzo Duran. Click the image to see more of his work on Demilked.

5 –> The Telegraph (UK) introduced a series of art masterpieces created solely with marker pen on a whiteboard. See the artist, Bill Taylor of Durham, North Carolina, and his art in their slideshow here.

6 –> Read all about the rebirth of handwriting in J. Richard Gentry’s report in Psychology Today aptly titled “Handwriting—the Most Elegant Form of Communication.” Here’s just a taste: “E-mailers, text messengers, and skeptics be damned. Handwriting–American style–is born again. So say about one hundred and fifty teachers, administrators, psychologists, master penmen, and researchers from across the country who occupied the Newseum in Washington, DC for the 275th anniversary of John Hancock’s birth.”

7 –>  Rhodia Drive set up a Superbowl bet for this Sunday. “Anybody who guesses the final score will get a new Webnotepad (flip top reporter style with dot grid) when they arrive from France!” (Enter your guess on Rhodia Drive’s blog post here.)

8 –> Demilked also shared an adorable set of pictures by Laurent Laveder called Moon Games (and while it has nothing to do with paper, it’s an incredibly fun set of art).

Created by Laurent Laveder. Click the image to see more of Moon Games on Demilked.


Valentine’s Day Inspiration Collection

1 Feb

Bloggers have lit up the web with Valentine’s Day inspiration before your New Year’s resolutions had time to dry in your journals. Now that we’re in the “month of love” we feel a bit more comfortable adding to the fray. Below is a random smattering of some of our most adored products sold on EuropeanPaper.com to aid you in writing love letters and sweet notes (or writing out your angst with the season). Below that we’ve got a fine selection of blogger’s links to pique your Valentine’s Day interest even further.

Moleskine Volant Pocket Ruled Notebook (Set of 2)

Brause Calligraphy Gift Set

Rhodia Large Webnotebook

Fisher Translucent Bullet Space Pen

Paperblanks Foil Embossed Large Wrap Journal

Mudlark Eco Lola Memento Boxed Note Cards

Jan Petr Obr Red Bicycle Boxed Flat Note Cards

~~~

Oh So Beautiful Paper has had multiple Valentine’s Day collection posts that will warm your heart as you scroll through them. Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and a splendid Part 5.

Similarly, Paper Crave shared tons of Valentine’s Day card designs to get your creative juices flowing. See her round-ups here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, and Part 5.

The Sweetest Occasion has a sweet & simple DIY printable for Valentine’s Day; MJ Monaghan offers an interesting twist to the classics in his Valentine’s Card – 6 Special Options post; and Julie of Penpal of the Week did a round-up of some very sweet handmade cards.

Will you be doing anything special with pen & paper for Valentine’s Day? Share with us in the comments!

 

10 Letter Writing Tips

31 Jan

Writing a letter might seem like an art that no one follows anymore, like speaking Latin or doing the jitterbug (and where else can you find a comparison between those activities but here at EPC?), but there are many enthusiasts still out there. You’ll recognize us if you look closely. We sit in coffee shops with pens and paper in front of us instead of laptops. We walk into office supply stores and head over to the fountain pen ink refills instead of the printer ink refills.  We know how much an extra ounce costs, the price of an international stamp, and how much we can squeeze into a first class priority box before it explodes.

Click the image to buy this product on EuropeanPaper.com

G. Lalo Verge de France Correspondence Sets

Yes, I am one of them (and proud of it!), and I write hundreds of letters every year. My free time is spent with pen in hand talking with friends near and far. When I walk out to the mailbox every day, I know more than bills and advertisements are waiting for me.

Of course, to GET letters, you have to SEND letters. So, here are the 10 best letter writing tips I know, based on hundreds of letters written (and received) every year. These tips refer to both personal and professional correspondence.  The first six tips are must-do’s; the second four are options to consider.

  1. When you are going to write a letter, make sure you have enough time to do so. A rushed letter feels like a rushed letter, and typically, handwriting takes longer than you remember. If you aren’t sure you can find a free half hour or hour, combine your writing with other activities like watching a movie, waiting for the dryer to finish or sipping that morning cup of java.
  2. As you begin writing, refer to your last visit, conversation or letter with that person. Mention where you were, something that was said, or another statement that reconnects the two of you.
  3. Date the letter. I know that might not seem very important, but when the person reads the letter, re-reads it, and keeps it for ages, that date is very important. I recently dug through some old boxes and found all of the letters my mother wrote me while I was in college. She is no longer living, so these letters are truly precious to me. I organized them in the order she wrote them and put them in folders. The dates were essential.
  4. Write legibly. I know, I know. Duh, right? But you wouldn’t believe how many people have almost illegible handwriting. They either try to be fancy or they simply haven’t dusted off their penmanship skills in a long time.  If you have trouble with cursive, print. If that doesn’t work well, type. Make it easy on your reader.
  5. Ask the person questions.  A letter that just tells a person all about you-you-you and then says goodbye at the end is not much fun to read and often very difficult to respond to. Ask the person questions, such as: How is work? How are the children? Where have you traveled? What are you reading lately? They can be as simple or complex as you want to make them, but obviously keep your reader in mind regarding the type of personal questions you may ask. This will inspire the person to want to sit down and write back to you.
  6. Follow the simple rules of good writing. Always double-check that you spelled their name correctly and make sure you have the right address for the envelope. You aren’t being graded here, so you don’t need topic sentences and appropriate transitional phrases between paragraphs (yes, I used to be an English teacher!), but make sure you aren’t writing in such a manner that others can’t understand what you’re saying.

Those were the “must-do’s” of letter writing. Here are four more tips to consider implementing as you write more.

  1. Click the image to buy this product on EuropeanPaper.com

    Mudlark Eco Hayden Leigh Memento Boxed Note Cards

    Use attractive paper and cards for your letter. The European Paper Company carries many lovely options, including boxed notecards, a wide selection of eco stationery, and much more. Sure, lined notebook paper is nice, but it can be dull. A letter on fine stationery is often much appreciated, but if all you have is lined notebook paper dress it up a bit to make it special.

  2. Include fun little tuck-ins. Getting a letter is fun – getting a letter with surprises tucked inside it is even better. It can be photos, newspaper clippings, comics, bookmarks – whatever you want. These little extras can make letter writing even more enjoyable.
  3. Respond to letters quickly, but not TOO quickly. If your letter is in response to one sent to you, don’t let it sit around for more than two to four weeks before answering it. If too much time goes by, the person may forget what he wrote or think you have decided not to respond at all.  If I haven’t heard from someone in more than a month, I also send a quick postcard making sure all is well with them. On the flip side, it might sound crazy, but I wouldn’t recommend responding to someone the day or day after you get a letter. That might be so quick that it makes the receiver feel pressured.
  4. Finally, if all of this sounds wonderful but you’re stumped on who to write to, do some homework and check out organizations. If you don’t have family and friends that would be interested in writing letters, go to the The Letter Writer’s Alliance and The Letter Exchange online. They both offer wonderful connections to other crazy letter writers like me. EPC also lists web sites for letter writers to connect (check out the blogroll in the right column of this blog). Believe me—we are out there and waiting by our mailboxes. Write!

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