The Joy of Letter Writing

Is there still a place for handwritten letters and cards?

The art of letter writing is dwindling, which of course is inevitable in our technology saturated world. In some respects being continuously connected is a good thing, we can keep updated on the news and contact friends living in other towns or countries. However, as we hide behind our screens we’re also missing out on meaningful human interactions and connections. We’re also being continuously pumped with a constant plethora of messages and notifications, which can be quite overwhelming as well as inconsequential; how many of us have forgotten to reply to a message, despite always having our phones glued to our hands?

Do you remember that feeling as a child when you received something in the post and you felt excited and extremely important? I would say currently 90% of the post I receive doesn’t invoke these feelings. It’s usually something bland like a bank statement, a bill or some life admin I need to complete (and not really keen on doing). There’s something wonderfully sentimental about receiving ‘pleasant post’ such as a card, postcard or even a handwritten letter. Someone has taken time out to switch off from their phone, sit down and write. A letter is also more tangible than an email, it’s something that we can see and touch, as well as save and cherish.

Last week I decided that I would send some handmade letters to friends and family.  I made tiny envelopes from an old Dulux colour chart and attached them to some brown card. They did look a little makeshift and I will not be starting an Etsy page any time soon, but I was quite pleased with my effort.

Once the cards were made, I started to write. I did feel a little like a character in a Jane Austen novel; sitting with my quill (Biro) at my desk, looking wistfully out of the window. The first thing I noticed was how messy my handwriting was. I rarely write anything at the moment and when I do it’s usually done in haste or carelessly, such as a shopping list, note taking or jotting down an appointment in my diary. I recently came across a story I had written aged about nine or ten, my handwriting was incredibly neat and legible, currently it is quite the opposite.

For the first few letters I struggled to think of relevant things to mention and the fluidity was terrible.  However, once I completed a few cards it seemed to come more naturally and I had almost too much to say. Like most things, the art of letter writing improves with time and practice. It also felt quite satisfying posting the letters; it was nice to complete an activity that I actually had something to show at the end.

I’m going to endeavour in writing more letters and cards. As well as improving handwriting and storytelling skills, it is also a meaningful way of connecting with friends and family.  As we’re trying to come through this pandemic, it seems even more important to stay in touch with one another through letter writing.

If you have any letter writing tips or card ideas, I would love to hear them.


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