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21st Century Penpals

Alex Lee, Art Editor

February 05, 2024

As the thrill of starting a new year fizzles out and Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s a good time to think about the ways we communicate with the people in our lives, and maybe even try something new. Letters are one of my favorite things to make and receive. They’re a physical marker of appreciation and affection the receiver can look back on, and writing letters gives you an excuse to invest in stationery and new pens. Here are some tips for writing letters– maybe you’ll even make a new pen-pal!

  1. Address your letter

Perhaps you’re meeting up with an old friend soon or you have a special occasion coming up. Either way, think of someone you’d like to send a letter to–it could even be yourself! Try writing a letter to your past self for cathartic purposes or maybe remind future you of your current favorite album.

  1. Write

This can be pretty tricky if you aren’t already used to things like writing letters or journaling. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Recent life events
  • Recommend some books and/or movies
  • A playlist of your favorite songs recently
  • Good food you’ve eaten or made
  • Upcoming goals and interests
  • Include a doodle or drawing
  • Or even write about things you dislike

Nonetheless, the most important part is to be sincere and have fun with it.

  1. Decorate

Mostly an optional step, but a big part of the fun if you’re into stationery or paper goods. You can check out your local stationery store for a cute letter set that includes writing paper and envelopes. While you’re at it, visit the sticker and washi tape sections for some decorative additions for your letter (they’re also great ways to seal an envelope). The variety of pens, highlighters, and other writing tools might appeal to you too if you’re looking for new colorful or more comfortable ways to write.

  1. Add-ons

Optional: find any trinkets you want to slip into your envelope before sending. Stickers, postcards, little drawings, and more are nice ways to let your receiver know you’ve been thinking of them.

  1. Seal and send!

Congratulations on finishing your letter! Drop it off at the post office, wait for the next time you see them, and get it sent and read–or don’t. Maybe you don’t want anyone else to know this letter exists, and that’s perfectly fine, but remember to keep it somewhere safe.

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