Raiders of the Lost Art – Of Letter Writing

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With a title like that, you’ll be expecting some huge article on how to write a letter. Well, you’re right. The lost art of writing has emerged with all the technological advances of the last 30 years, letter writing has morphed into emails, text messages and tweets, almost totally eliminating the need to write a letter. And the United States Post Office is about to go under because we don’t write letters anymore. But letters had a purpose then, since they were the only way to communicate without a phone, but reviving the art of letter writing can actually be a very gratifying skill.

Much like telling a story, writing a letter is supposed to impart information about what is going on. Instead of short tweets, a letter uses complete sentences and paragraphs to paint a picture in someone’s mind about the subject matter. Since so much day to day stuff is imparted through tweets, phone calls and emails, a letter can go much deeper. Sitting down with a pen and a piece of paper to write a letter means you have to take the time to get the words exactly right.

A letter starts off with a salutation. “Dear ______” usually works well. Use the first paragraph to “get familiar” with the person again. If they’re a long distance connection, then expressions of missing their physical presence works, as well as some references back to a previous experience that you bonded with them on. The next paragraphs will comprise the bulk of your letter, and will cover whatever you want to impart. A lot of times now, it’ll either be what’s going on in your life, or perhaps the feelings you’re having about life, the universe and everything. Close the letter with how you feel and what the possibilities are for the future.

Letter writing doesn’t have to be a lost art. Letters give us time to write what we think and feel, and using pen and paper gives us the time to think things through with what we actually want to say. Being able to reread what we’ve put to paper gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve said, giving us the opportunity to rewrite it if need be. Today, in this world of high speed internet and cell phones, a letter is something truly special to send, and even more special to receive. Send a letter today and see what kind of reaction you get. You’ll be amazed at the impact of the lost art of writing.