The Art of Correspondence
We have loved seeing more and more people get back into the art of handwritten correspondence. In our increasingly digital age rife with quick-fire emails and emoji-filled messages, handwritten letters appear to have dwindled over time. This is partly why we founded the London Letters Club, as a way of creating a community of letter-writers by pairing people across the globe.
In contrast to emails, handwritten letters feel ever more personal and look immeasurably more beautiful than words on a screen. A handwritten note stands out amongst the dreary abundance of junk mail and bills that occupy the daily post and you can’t help but pay special attention to what it says. In fact, today’s rarity of handwritten correspondence is what makes it even more special.
Just as you might relish in receiving handwritten mail, you can also take pleasure in writing correspondence: send a note of encouragement, a letter of protest or a simple hello to make someone’s day. Choosing to write by hand is perhaps the most intimate way of letting the recipient know you care.
Writing, itself, can seem quite daunting if you haven’t picked up a pen in a while, so we have created a brief letter-writing guide that includes a few tips on getting started…
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Usually, you’ll want to start with your address so your correspondent knows where to send their reply. This is most often right-aligned and at the top of your page, written before the body of your letter. You don’t necessarily have to include this in every letter after the first, but it may be useful to do so as formatting it in this way makes it easier for your recipient to reply.
The date is usually written beneath your return address. Although this might seem obvious, dating your letters can be a nice way of tracking how long you and your pen-pal have been exchanging letters for. And, if you’re super organised, it can help you with filing your correspondence, which could end up being a lot of pieces of paper!
Addressing your letter-writing pal:
You can keep this fun and not too serious! (Only if you’re not writing a formal letter.) You could even greet your recipient in another language. Try ‘dear’, ‘hello’ or simply their name.
This is the whole reason you’re writing your letter, so make it worth reading! If this is the first time you are writing, you may want to include an introductory paragraph telling your recipient a little bit about yourself. You could include the reason you wanted to start writing letters. After that, it’s completely up to you. It doesn’t have to be detailed. In fact, you might find you have more to write about and respond to the more you exchange letters. Ask questions, tell funny stories and share what you’re passionate about. Take advantage of the medium of letter-writing by sending something tangible, such as a hand-written recipe of your favourite meal, rather than attaching the URL to an email or a text. There’s nothing more personal than a hand-written note – that’s what makes keeping one so special.
Closing your letter:
This doesn’t have to be too formal either. Let your recipient know you are finishing writing and let them know you’re eager to read their response. Don’t forget to sign your name in the form that you would like to be addressed.
This stands for the Latin word postscriptum meaning “written after”. If you’ve forgotten anything, this is your chance to mention it.
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If you would like to get back into the art of handwritten correspondence but don’t have have a writing partner (pen-pal), get in touch. Our aim is to encourage as many letter exchanges possible and contribute to the revival of the handwritten note.
Read more about our London Letters Club here. We meet monthly to catch up on correspondence, meet lovely people and enjoy spending a thoughtful and considered few hours.
Read about our top 5 letter writing picks, here.