How are you? I hope this letter (post) finds you well. The weather has been beautiful here. The glorious sunny days are worth the cold and chilly nights spent huddled around the fire clasping a hot water bottle, before diving into a bed where the blankets weigh more than the bed frame itself.
Unfortunately, despite the warmer days there is still no sign of my pea seeds sprouting. I fear that last weeks rain may have caused them to rot in the ground. How is your garden?
More importantly, how is your creative life? If it has been languishing a little, now is the time to resurrect it AND, with todays exercise we are also going to resurrect the lost art of letter writing.
How many of us write letters regularly anymore? Not emails or formal letters, but good old fashioned, long letters written on nice paper to friends or family? I remember the joy of receiving a letter in the mailbox. Immediately the handwritten address made the envelope stand out from the bills and official letters.
Depending on my mood I would rip it open and read it immediately, like a kid on Christmas morning who can’t wait to open the presents. Sometimes, I would draw out the moment and make a cup of tea first. Waiting for the jug to boil I would turn the envelope over and over studying the stamps and the sender address (if there was one) and wondering what the contents contained.
There was also as much pleasure in taking the time to sit down and write a reply. I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail? Being the one to bring happiness and joy to a loved one brings as much joy to the sender as the receiver.
So, find some nice paper, your favourite pen, a cup of tea or coffee and sit down and write a letter to someone. Take the time to write at least a page or two. Add doodles, sketches and stickers if you feel the urge. When you have finished put it in an envelope, address and post as soon as you can. If you’re lucky you may even get a reply.
Even if you don’t get a reply you will still get something out of writing the letter. Writing a letter forces you to write for someone in particular, a specific audience. This affects how and what you say. Use this focus to take a piece of writing you have been stuck on and look at it from the point of view of your ideal audience. You can’t please everyone. Write for one person and you will find your work will gain focus, become tighter and flow better.
I will leave you with one more thought. Most of the great writers, artists, musicians wrote letters to their friends and family. Who knows, maybe letter writing is one of the keys to great work and art.
I look forward to hearing how your letters went and whether it changed your day, art, writing or life. Leave me a comment and let me know.
I look forward to hearing from you.
- Lettrs.com: Handwritten words tell more than tweets and email (nextlevelofnews.com)
- Postcards from nowhere (thehindu.com)