Stay in Touch by Writing Letters
How to Write a Letter - An Old Fashioned Way to Stay in Touch
How long has it been since you talked to Aunt Pauline? or Aunt Minnie? Have you called your old neighbor Mrs Paulson recently? How about those girls you used to work with at the Pharmacy, Alice and Kelly? or the teacher at the Church Preschool you liked so well, the one that helped your little girl finally learn to tie her shoes? Have you written your cousin back after she wrote you such a nice letter at Christmas time? How about the girls at your class reunion that you started writing to a few years ago?
You probably haven't 'written' any of these people, because no one seems to write letters anymore. Now that the internet is in so many homes and you can use Skype to communicate with friends and family, letter writing is almost a thing of the past. This is the cell phone generation and text messages and instant messaging is the new thing... but what ever happened to the simple letter?
Make that a New Year's Resolution this year. That once a month you will sit down and write at least 2 letters. You can increase that to 3 or 4 or even more and touch base with some of the folks you haven't seen or talked to in months or even years. Remember, even you have a cell phone or computer doesn't mean some of the older people that you know have any of those ways to communicate and it would probably make their day to receive a letter from you.
Make writing letters more enjoyable by buying pretty colored writing paper.
Write a Letter to a Long Lost Friend
Get Back in Touch
Well, now is the time to contact people you haven't talked to. Spring is coming, a rebirth, time for new beginnings and a chance to put away all those 'shoulda, coulda, woulda's.' We all do it. We get busy, caught up in our own lives and busy schedules. You don't have to sit down and write a short novel to anyone. It doesn't even have to be both sides of paper. Just find some pretty stationary, or even simple note cards and hand write a letter to your friends, family and people from your past that you keep in touch with when they write, but can't seem to keep the ball rolling on your end.
We don't write back, or call back, sometimes because it might conjure up an invitation or social gathering that, let's face it, we don't have time for. I got in touch with an old friend once and ended up with phone calls from her almost every day for 2 weeks. I didn't really want that to happen, I didn't have time for it, I just found out she moved back in the area and wanted to say hello. It turned into more than I wanted, but it all worked out in the end.
Letter Writing - Keep it Simple
Keep It to One Page
A single-spaced 3 page front and back letter will not be necessary. People don't need to know everything you've done since you last saw each other. You just need to write a nice note, a short letter or even a 2 page letter, (front only), that puts you back in touch with someone special or important in your life. Just let them know you're thinking about them and tell them you'd like to keep in touch and maybe see them soon.
Here are Some Books to Help You Write the Perfect Letter
Learn a little more about how to write the perfect letter.
Letter Writing - Avoid Highlight Over Kill
Focus on the Few Important Highlights
Zero in on the highlights. Maybe what the kids are up to, how you and your husband are, or an upcoming trip. Don't make it too showy, old friends also don't want to know every detail about your Harvard-bound kid or read a whole page about the ballet your 6 year old is in. YOU might think this is the best thing since sliced bread, but chances are not everyone else does, especially if things aren't perfect in their lives. And unless you talk to them often and are aware of the goings-on in these distant friends and relatives lives, you aren't going to know maybe that your old friend is going through a divorce or their oldest child is in trouble at school, or they have a daughter that dropped out of college. Family and friends are going to be happy for you if your life is going great but you don't want to dwell or brag.
Simple Letter Writing - Laugh While You Write - Have a Sense of Humor
Get your family involved. Let your son write about his first place finish in the state fair's pie eating contest or your husband dressed up like a ballerina for Halloween because your 6 year old insisted. Let everyone know how ridiculous you looked sitting in the mud at the fair when the livestock you were showing weren't so cooperative. Let them know you don't mind a little pie on your face!
Everyone likes to laugh, and it's an instant way to reach out and connect. It may also offset the bragging a little, too.
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Simple Letter Writing - Don't Boast
If you do decide to include the accomplishments over the years, keep it to a few and hold back the big raise, a board membership and college test scores. If you do feel the need to add these to your letter, also add some setbacks. Don't be afraid to include the fact that your star student flunked her mid-term or Billy didn't make it for first string on the football team this year. If you brag a little, joke about it by saying 'This is the bragging part of the letter,' or 'Let me boast for just a minute.'
Letter Writing Tools - More Stationary
Letter Writing - Keep it Clean
Dress it Up, Keep it Clean
If you hand write a letter, make sure your handwriting is legible. Most people choose to type a letter, print and mail the letter or send an email. It's much more personal to mail it snail mail and even better handwritten. But, if you decide to type it, keep the font simple, nothing fancy or difficult to read and don't hog the letter up with clipart and downloaded photos. If you decide to type your letter, add something at the very end that is hand written. Something specific to the recipient, something no one else may know or remember, just to add a personal touch to your letter. Add a memory of the old days, or a private joke only you and your old friend would remember.
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Would you want to receive an email, text message or a nice handwritten note or letter on beautiful stationary?
Letter Writing - Include Seasonal Events
Include Notes of the Season or Event
We all have family traditions. Describe one of your traditions, or add a favorite recipe to your letter. Share Mom's Skillet Apple Pie that everyone's been dying to try. It adds a bit of personal touch. Send pictures (just a few) of your Christmas Holiday, crazy Halloween costumes or your niece's wedding pictures. Put small thumbnails on a printed from the internet letter, then tell them to check their email to see a larger picture of the thumbnail.
Simple Letter Writing - Be Positive
Leave out the Gory Details
You may feel obligated to let people know about a major surgery, a death in the family or the fire that forced you out of your home for renovations. That is acceptable, but skip the gallstones episode and the ever-popular whining about getting old. Make the recipient of your letter feel good, not depressed.
Simple Letter Writing - The End Product
Get in Touch with Loved Ones, Be Yourself
When you're all done with your creation, read your finished letter out loud and listen to the words. You want it to sound like a conversation, not a template for letters. You don't want it to sound generic or choppy. Although you aren't writing a composition for English class, you want the letter to make sense, flow nicely and be readable.
Avoid writing big words or words you wouldn't normally use when talking to this person. You don't want to sound like this is a duty, a necessary evil or a chore. Relax, don't get too self-conscious about your letter, and if you don't like the way it sounds, re-write it. It isn't supposed to be an entry for the Best Seller's List, it's just supposed to be you.
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Let us know to whom you write to and how often. Do you type it, send an email or hand write it? Do you write to the same people all the time? Do you encourage your kids to write letters? Let us know!! Give us some tips.