Handwritten letters

by Amanda Fleet

I love writing letters. Almost as much as I love receiving them. I frequently say to my hubby "I hope I get interesting post today," by which I mean, "I hope I get a proper letter today." I have a number of friends who write to me (and to whom I write back), but apparently, it's a dying art. People are too busy or find it easier and quicker to send a text or message someone, rather than hunt out pen, paper, envelopes, stamps (hands up who has a book of stamps to hand? Anyone? Oh. Just me?).

But who's going to still have those texts and messages in ten years' time? A letter, though... a letter may well still be there, reminding you of the person who wrote it - someone who thought enough of you to spend the time and effort on writing to you.

Did you know that it's currently InCoWriMo? "It's what??" I hear you cry. InCoWriMo stands for International Correspondence Writing Month. The idea is that people write and send a card or note or letter every day of February. They don't have to be to the same person and they don't have to be letters, but they do have to be handwritten. It's an initiative that started in 2013 and has been growing every year since, with more participants each year, located across the world.

I love the idea (though I do recognise that in order to find the time to do these things, you have to stop doing something else - after all, everyone's days are already full. Every minute is accounted for, even if it's by sleep). There's something quite magical about receiving a handwritten letter or card, and there's a school of thought that says it's just as good for the writer as it is for the recipient. Life Hack did a blog post on it (which you can find here) extolling the virtues.

So, you're convinced. You're going to write a letter to someone, even if you don't manage to write one every day of February. Let's get started...

Since you're going to the effort of writing a letter, why not make it a joy to receive? Write it on proper writing paper, not the back of a shopping list. There's some gorgeous stuff in the shop which I can thoroughly recommend. If you write with a fountain pen, the Life writing paper has got a great texture - smooth but not slippy - and there's no feathering, bleed-through or show-through at all. And it will have that 'quality crackle' when the recipient unfolds the page, that you only get with glorious paper.

airmail envelopesIf you're sending your letter abroad, make sure you get some proper airmail envelopes too. About half of the people I write to and get letters from live overseas and there's something deliciously retro about the 'candy stripes' landing on the doormat. I must confess to being a big fan of the crinkly, rustling airmail paper that's like tissue paper (and only usable on one side it's so thin), but most of the time, I write on A4 Tomoe River paper when I'm sending a letter overseas, so that I can use some great paper and be able to use both sides, keeping the letter lightweight. 

So go on, what are you waiting for? Show someone just how much they mean to you by penning them a letter they can treasure. It is InCoWriMo after all.