Get started on: Letter-writing

get started on



Have you ever written a report, note, or letter? I’m sure most if not all of us reading this have – what else do you do with pen and paper than to put something onto paper with the pen? It could be ideas, references, notes, warnings, procedures, diagrams… Like me, you may be working in a chemical industry and you need to take down notes from your laboratory experiments or meetings. Regardless of the reason for being here, reading this post should get you some tips and guidelines on letter-writing. Whether you are interested in this activity or not, it doesn’t matter. Read on, I hope you’ll find some nice ideas for yourself to think about.

I’m writing this in support of the ongoing InCoWriMo, to which I have pledged my participation. These days, not many people write messages or notes to one another. If you still do, bravo, and please write a comment here to share the reasons why you still use the good old method of writing by hand. If you don’t, leave a comment too, to let us know why you don’t. In either case, February is a good month to start writing something everyday to keep in touch with the activity. For lazy or busy people like me (I am busy and lazy), February is the shortest month and this year, there are only 28 days since it is a non-leap year. That means if you write a letter a day, you’ll only need to be writing 28 letters in all! It might be a lot for a first-timer, but actually, if your letter is short, you don’t even need to spend so much time a day to write one!

mapviewsWhy write letters?

Raise your hand if you use technological gadgets for communication. I bet a good many of us are jabbing away frequently on our phones, tablets, computers, and whatnots, especially in today’s society. These devices can help us connect to one another at lightning speed, and even let us get to know people from across the globe, without having to travel there. I know a good many fellow fountain pen collectors via the internet and its various social media sites. People from all continents except for Antarctica also get to know about me and my website via the indispensable technology of the worldwide web, as you can see in my visitor map. But how many of these people do I really “connect” to?

The truth is, -hardly-. While I can easily shoot over an email to ask “howdoyado”, nothing will be as personalized and sincere as writing a letter. When you write a letter, you are crafting all your alphabets into words, and all your words into carefully-formed sentences with your own hands. In the rush of technology-aided lives, you are calming yourself down and putting in a conscious effort to write a heartfelt note to your recipient. Imagine your addressee opening the mailbox to find a nicely-written letter from you, amongst the piles of bank statements, bills, advertisements and junk mail. Wouldn’t it be nice?

Who to write to, what to write about?

Before you start writing a letter, you’ll need to know who you want to write to. It may be awkward if we are not used to express ourselves in such a way, but once you get the hang of it, it actually isn’t so bad! Write to your parents to thank them for something they have done for you. Write to friends, even those who aren’t that close, so let them know what you appreciate about them. You may be surprised, but it is possible that letters can bring people closer together! You could have a chance of rekindling that old friendship which you’ve enjoyed but lost over the years.

Thinking of what to write can sometimes be a problem for us, if we are more used to typing short, speedy, and direct messages on the phone, than to writing in greater detail about a certain topic. If you have a common hobby with your addressee, you can talk about the hobby and try to engage him/her to write back about it too. If you are writing to an old friend, how about reminiscing a time when you both have enjoyed yourself very much? And maybe asking to make contact all over again? If you are on holiday or living abroad away from friends and family, you can write a postcard to them to tell them about the places you’ve been, and how you’re feeling being overseas. Do you have a friend or colleague who has recently gotten promoted, or added a bundle of joy in the family? Write a congratulatory note to them! The possibilities are non-exhaustive, but there is one particular excellent reason for writing a letter too:

file0001467164125Valentine’s Day is coming! On February 14, send a little love note to your partner, spouse or crush to tell them how much you love them!

For the February month of InCoWriMo, I have made a list of people to write letters to, and written one name a day on the calendar, to keep track of my recipient list. Some of my recipients are fellow fountain pen bloggers, some are fellow hobbyists from the Singapore Fountain Pens Lovers group, while others are friends and colleagues. I intend to label the respective date of each addressee, and to tell them about InCoWriMo. For those who are already aware of this (all of them fountain pen lovers), I intend to talk about the new fountain pens that I’ve recently gotten. Sounds good? Yes, indeed!

Things you’ll probably need

Such a mode of communication requires a writing tool and a writing medium. The most general would be pen/pencil/brush on paper. If you’re using a fountain pen, you’ll need ink and a paper that is fountain pen-friendly, that would absorb ink but not cause the ink to bleed or feather, which then impacts the legibility of your words. After all, if you are writing a message, you would want the message to get across, no? Instead of a page-type letter, you can also get creative and make a card on your own! If it’s all too much trouble, just get a readymade card or postcard off the shelves and write your message in it. It would be ideal if you can find a nice and comfortable place to write your note, but even scribbling something quickly at the post office works as well!

Now, with the above guide, you should have a better idea on the activity of letter-writing. I believe everyone and anyone can and should write letters. Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments!

9 Responses

  1. Bob 30 November 2014 / 11:57 PM

    I still use the stock Lamy ink cartridges; I heard using the converter with bottled ink is more economical.

  2. Bob 30 November 2014 / 10:52 PM

    Right now I’m favoring the Cross. I can pick it up after a month of non-use and still get it to write. The Lamy seems to dry out quicker.

    • Maybelline 30 November 2014 / 11:22 PM

      I see… Which models specifically? Im less aware of how Cross pens behave but i find that Lamy depends really on the ink used.

  3. Bob 29 November 2014 / 4:02 PM

    Yes, I do happen to use a fountain pens for letters. I have Cross and Lamy models, both with steel nibs. Great ink flow.

    • Maybelline 30 November 2014 / 9:13 PM

      Cool! Which is your favourite for letter-writing?

  4. Bob 12 June 2014 / 10:50 PM

    Fountain pen user here, and recently a writer of handwritten letters. I write letters in a somewhat unusual way – I don’t start with tired phrases like “hope this letter finds you doing well” etc. Ditto for “well I’ll close for now” – these cliches just take up space, and they are a given. Instead, I jump in and start telling a story and then end when the story ends. I also ask questions occasionally, which will invite a response. To add a personal touch, I use letterhead with my name printed at the top, nothing whimsical, just a very business oriented style. I also like Gold Fibre 5×8 perforated sheets. Would love to hear what others are doing for their letters.

    • Maybelline 12 June 2014 / 10:53 PM

      Excellent! I like the idea of your personal touch. Do you use fountain pens for your letters too?

  5. rgstl 9 February 2014 / 12:04 AM

    A friend of my wife’s brought over homemade Christmas cookies. When I looked at the variety memories of my mother and youngest sister (both deceased) baking came back. This small act of kindness moved me and made my Christmas. So, I got out my fountain pen and wrote a thank you note describing why and how much it meant to me (and the cookies were really good too). She called my wife to tell her how much the thank you note I sent meant. A thoughtful handwritten note or letter touch will always touch a human being in a special way.

I would love to hear your thoughts!