Starting a letter can be an intimidating task. The blank paper demands to be written on, but you don’t know what to say. If you’re new to letter writing or feel like you’ve recently run out of topic ideas, try switching things up to refresh the conversation.
1. Send a recipe
If your friend enjoys cooking or you recently made a really good recipe, share it with your pen pal. Make the recipe stand out by writing it on special stationery separate from the body of the letter. For your message content, tell your correspondent about the dish you made, such as why you cooked it, where you found it, how it turned out and if you’d make any tweaks to the recipe. This card will be fun because it’ll be different from your regular letter update, and your friend will have a new recipe to add to the dinner list.
2. Give a mini-gift
Include a surprise item in your next letter to generate a conversation and show someone your affection. The item should be small and light enough to fit in the card envelope without requiring extra postage. A few ideas include, stamps, stickers, ribbon or a photo. If you’re a crafty person, try drawing a small picture to send inside. Your recipient will appreciate the small gift and you’ll also have something extra to talk about, such as why you chose that particular item to send.
3. Grab a postcard
Personalized stationery is always good to have on hand, but if you’re lacking ideas, draw inspiration from other sources. A good way to do this is to purchase a postcard that either reminds you of the person you’re sending it to or relates to a story you could tell. Postcards are fun because of the pretty pictures they offer and they’re a nice way to reinvigorate your correspondence.
4. Talk about an obsession
Is there a song you’ve been listening to on repeat or a book series you can’t get enough of? Write to your friend and share this information! Tell them why you feel so passionately about the story and what it means to you, then ask what they’ve been into lately. It may inspire the person to listen to the song or read the book, and then you’ll have something to talk about for the next couple of letters.
5. Describe your surroundings
Sometimes it’s a struggle to start a letter, and when that happens, take a moment to observe your surroundings. Describe to your reader where you are and why you chose this particular location to write the message. It’s a nice introduction and it will also make the receiver feel like they are in the room with you when they read it.
6. Add a favorite quote
Think of a line you’ve read before that really moved you. Get creative and add an artsy area to your card that contains the quote in curlicues and borders. If nothing is coming to mind right away, go online and find something you could use. The quote could be about something that impacts you or your friend. A little inspiration goes a long way, so if you know your friend has been struggling with something, add words of encouragement. This is also a great jumping off point as it gives you the opportunity to mention why you chose that particular quote to highlight.
Letters should be thoughtful pieces of writing, so be mindful of the content you are putting down on paper. The Emily Post Institute suggests you avoid messages that are full of unhappiness and hardships. These types of correspondence are not good for you or the reader. When writing this type of letter all you do is fixate on the bad, making situations seem even worse. Also, your reader doesn’t want to listen to you complain for the entirety of the letter. So, if you catch yourself constantly complaining, be sure to start mentioning more uplifting events.