Ever thought about how there are so many songs, books, and movies about the significance of receiving (or not receiving) a letter in the post? In a world where texts and DMs can be pinged across the world in the blink of an eye, and without a second thought, there is something to be said for the purposeful act of sending a physical letter.
Remember that iconic moment when Harry Potter finally receives his invitation letter to Hogwarts? Of course, you do! No imagine if it was simply emailed over. And had Noah’s heart-wrenching proclamation in The Notebook been changed to “I sent you 365 texts… It wasn’t over… it still isn’t over!”, it definitely wouldn’t have had the same effect.
So, below is my list of reasons why letter writing can be far superior to texting, emailing or any other modern form of messaging…
Reasons to revisit the lost art of letting writing
Letter writing is an art. It’s a chance to really explore a topic, whether personal or political. You can be purposeful without purpose – you’re not organizing a meet up or sending a meme. This is about the act of writing along. Start writing to give time to your thoughts.
#2 Time and effort
Which brings us to letter writing taking time. This isn’t lost on your recipient, so they truly appreciate it when they receive your post. An instant message can be pinged over without much thought, with autocorrect to help you avoid any embarrassing spelling situations. A handwritten letter, on the other hand, doesn’t afford that luxury. The effort, planning, (and good grammar!) that goes into a well written letter is part of its charm, for both sender and recipient.
#3 Romance, baby!
Letters can be super romantic. Because they take time and effort, letters are often considered one of the most romantic ways to communicate with your partner. Which makes sense – receiving a two-sided dedication of love, which has travelled a week to reach just you, is incalculably more romantic than a text message reading “luv u babe”.
#4 Real emotion and meaning
Letters can leave less room for interpretation than text messages. In the OG days of text messaging (@TEOTD TBH, they were TMTH), we used to have to pay a charge per text, giving rise to the phenomenon of “text speak”. Trying to fit everything you want to say into a 160-character limit can be a challenge. Even though the sentiment behind “cnt w8 2 cu l8r” may be the same as “my heart yearns for the moment when we can be together again”, there is a clear difference in tone and character count. With letter writing, there is no character limit, so you can let your imagination (and vocabulary) run wild!
#5 Therapeutic value
And it’s not just the recipient who benefits. The art of letter writing is therapeutic. It’s a great way to get everything off your chest and onto paper. This can be great if you want to express some deep or complex emotion, or explain an otherwise confusing idea.
#6 Whenever, wherever
Another benefit of letter writing is that it can be done almost anywhere, no Wi-Fi or phone signal required! You can write from a beach in Bali, on a train in Siberia, in a cozy log cabin in the Swiss Alps.
An often overlooked benefit of letter writing is that a letter is a physical object. It’s more special than a digital note (like the difference between photos on a phone camera roll vs ones printed and framed). We tend to attach much more sentimental value to physical objects, and so receiving a letter feels much more special.
Writing a letter gives you a lot more opportunity to show off your personality. Will you choose standard, white A4 paper? Something plain or lined? Colorful? Or even scented? What you choose to write with is also something to think about, will it be a ballpoint pen? Pencil? Quill and ink?! If you’re writing online, which photos will you choose to accompany your message? Which font? How will you send it – as a postcard, an email, an open letter?
These things take some consideration, all of which will be evident to the person who receives your finished piece. So when deciding to write a letter, make sure you use all the options at your disposal to make it truly “yours”.
So what are you waiting for? Flex your fingers, grab a pen, and get scribbling!
Want to find letter-writing buddies?
It’s not all of your friends who’ll want to put their energy into the art of letter writing. So you might find yourself looking elsewhere for pen friends. Make sure to check out our (free) platform that matches you with other like-minded people from all over the globe.
Or read more on our blog.