How to write an intro letter? How to make it interesting enough to get a response back? What to do to make the other person waiting impatiently with a nose glued to a window to finally notice the postman coming? I was asking myself all these questions when I discovered the gripping world of handwritten letters. I was wondering what makes me want to reply to some letters more than the others? I'm not a master, but since I've started to receive lots of messages on instagram with similar questions, I decided to finally put my 2 two cents in, so make yourself a good cup of coffee or tea, or my beloved winter hot cocoa and relax while reading. Just bear in mind that everyone is different and when another good idea comes to you while reading - do not hesitate to share it with me in the comment section below. I'll be eagerly waiting.
1. Pay attention to the aesthetic appearance of your letter and make it personal.
I've received many letters that seemed to be written in a rush, on one or two pages pulled out right from the first notebook that was within reach. Ugly, ragged pages don't make the other person feel that you care. Those pages yell: It doesn't matter! Just send me a letter back! And the reaction of your receiver is more like: Well, it seems I'm not important enough to put an effort into a letter written for me. That's sad. So I started with buying nice stationery sets. It wasn't easy in the beginning of my “career" but since penpalling has started to become more and more popular I don't have problems finding beautifully decorated pages and envelopes in the store. Sometimes I took part in swaps. I had lot's of little notebooks, pens and tapes I would send to someone to receive a letterset back. It worked great and everybody was happy. The other option I liked equally as much was decorating blank pages, but I made sure to dust my scissors first, then I used tape or I drew something. It's helpful to get to know the person we write to at least a little bit. We can draw something she likes and that would surely put a smile on her face. It's a nice gesture. For example my heart is melted whenever someone draws or picks a Moomin character for my letter or a bear. Just try it! There are days when I just open pinterest and search for inspirations to create an exceptional letterset that will fly to my friend. The sky is the limit, seriously. Just make good use of scissors. ;-)
2. Tell about when you fell down the stairs the last time.
Of course it's just a metaphor, but let's stop for a while and think what kind of letters you like to read - these full of personal stories, memories, adventures. Or those "My name is... I like..." ones? Don't get me wrong, it's blatantly obvious that we have to tell the basic stuff but what about making it more interesting? Sharing some memories or simply tell why. Let's do a little experiment:
In my free time I like knitting. I do it mostly in the evening and I find it relaxing.
I have liked knitting since I was a little girl. I spent every holiday at my grandparents' house. I still remember the smell of raspberry tea she always prepared for us in the evening. I was drawing or coloring books and she was sitting in a big and comfortable armchair and knitting on the opposite side. She was very good at it. Once she even made a little sweater for my doll. And then I just asked how to do that and I caught the bug from the first moment.
Which story would you like to read in your letter? I vote for the second one. Try to share a little bit more with your future friends. Let them get to know you. Show who you really are, what's important for you. Write that you like eating cheese with strawberry jam or that you like smiling at strangers or watching Sex and the city - one episode after another since the sun is rising up again. There are people who might find it difficult or they don't believe they are interesting but rather boring. Then try to ask yourself WHY, whenever you share a fact about yourself. This little question can help you to open up.
3. Ask questions.
I find it extremely nice and it really makes me feel special when I see that someone is interested in my life - in what I like to do or what I think about something. It makes me feel that someone cares, that I'm kind of important and my penfriend is interested in getting to know me better and not just receiving a letter from me. Because all in all, in my opinion, it's about creating a beautiful friendship not sending nice, colorful things.
Let me know about your opinion, as I said before - I'm very curious. Happy letter writing!