You have my best wishes! This letter is to let you know that personal writing can be difficult.
Elementary school may have taught us structure and form. However, the textbooks tell us that a well-written correspondence should contain a greeting and an intro paragraph. Writing for impact? Avoiding blunders such as platitudes, generalities, and opacity. This is a completely different game.
Courtney Taylor (Hallmark Cards’ senior writer) says that personal writing, whether it is snail mail, text messages, or birthday cards to grandmas, can foster genuine connection and increase creativity.
She states, “It’s a invitation to a dialogue” and an open door for vulnerable communication. It can feel like someone is really seeing you when done correctly.
It takes only a little bit of time and effort to achieve your goals.
You’ve always wanted to write the perfect letter, but you don’t know how to do it. Read on to learn some tips and listen to the podcast.
Be vulnerable and curious.
Taylor says that we are looking for confirmation in any type of letter writing.
The affirmation involves “committing” to telling your story and being open to sharing your feelings with the other person.
For example, let’s say you would like to tell your coworkers that you were promoted. Taylor said that Taylor doesn’t want only to talk about what happened. “I want people to talk about how the event has affected their mental health, confidence, and free time.
If that seems like a personal request for you, it’s okay! Taylor recommends that we be selective with the messages we send to people. It doesn’t mean you have to write with the same level of enthusiasm for everyone!
You can then ask open-ended, personal questions. Instead of asking for the weather, ask the receiver about their experiences and if they have any advice.
You’re giving your audience a glimpse into your life, and also allowing them to share their own experiences.
Try to achieve “universal particulars”
It’s a common tool in writing, but it’s easier to understand than to do.
Taylor states that the idea is to share details, but also experiences that can be relating to by everyone. Instead of blaming fatigue or being unprepared, Taylor suggests that you talk about how you felt on your last day of vacation.
“Putting such a thing in a card is specific. She says it makes it feel more substantive. Taylor uses this technique to help her audience feel understood and seen. The best greeting cards are full of details. Being more detailed in your writing will give you a better understanding of the story and your relationship to the reader.
You must know who you are speaking to in order to choose the right tone
Taylor suggests that instead of focusing on the occasion, you should focus on the relationship you have. A cartoon-laden birthday card is fine if your best friend loves to laugh. What if you need to thank your boss for their help? This is probably not the time to start your stand up routine.
Don’t be afraid to get emotional. Taylor says that it is the easiest way for people to be uplifted and talked about someone is by pointing out how they have affected your life and how they have brought joy to your day.
Your favorite memory, as well as how it affected you, can be shared with your reader. Tell them you are willing to do the same for them. “I believe that if you can tap into your memories with the person, it is the best way for you to send a heartfelt message and celebrate special occasions with them,” she said.
No matter what medium, tell your true story.
Writing to family members can be more enjoyable than writing to them. It can be difficult to write to someone you know, a colleague or an anonymous stranger.
Taylor admits that it can be tempting to try to be the best of yourself, but Taylor also says that Taylor is sometimes forced to present a fake version of himself to a new audience.
When you step into unfamiliar territory, it’s normal to question yourself.
Not everyone is guilty of padding text messages and emails using friendly exclamation point and emojis. Taylor says anxiety should not stop you from having honest communication.
“Even though the writing is professional, I think you still need to be true and authentic to yourself.
Taylor warns that this is not an invitation to speak your mind. Make sure that your stories and the language you use match the setting. But don’t forget to include some of yourself in your writing.
Not quite sure you’ve got it right? Save your draft to be re-read later. Taylor believes that giving yourself time to revise and rest is an important part of her writing process.
Set goals to write more letters and create a space that encourages creativity.
Sonia Cancian has a background in history and is an expert in immigrant and love letters. She is also a prolific letter writer and has been a great advocate for the art of letter writing.
Cancian explains that you cannot say what you write in letters in WhatsApp. “Because you will be required to write another way by the letter. … It is culturally ingrained in us that a letter must be written to communicate what’s on our minds.
Cancian says that taking the time to write can spark creativity and expand our vocabulary in ways other communication methods don’t. Cancian suggests encouraging writing habits and making it fun in your office.
Cancian means that she uses her fountain pen every single day. Others might use special stationery or journaling.
Avoid sending too many letters. Send a short note to the post and see what happens. You could also send a card if traveling.
It doesn’t matter if you wait for inspiration or a special occasion. Cancian emphasizes the importance of just starting to write.