My Card Collection // The Art of Letter Writing

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For me, there is almost nothing more satisfying than sealing and stamping an envelope. Equally, I love the anticipation that comes with checking the letterbox, ripping open a letter and reading it two, or three times over because it’s just so nice.

I’m a serial card collector – no, seriously. Somewhere in my wardrobe is a little picnic basket that’s full of just about every card given to me by special friends and family. Birthdays, Christmases, letters, secret behind-the-teachers’-backs notes ripped out of school books and diaries… you name it. It means the world that someone would make time in their life to dedicate a few little words to me. The above photo is of a letter & package I received from a beautiful friend during some exams a while ago. Doesn’t this kind of thing make you feel special? Valued? Loved?

When I was younger, I had a pen pal. I wrote to her about my dog, my swimming pool, what kinds of craft I was in to at the time. It wasn’t particularly deep stuff, but every time I sent her a letter, I awaited her reply with great anticipation. Her letters are still pasted into the pages of my journals (and no doubt, some of them are in my ‘card collection’). Having not seen or communicated with her in years, we recently saw each other at a party. It was lovely to hear that she had kept some of my letters as well, and talk about how special it was to have that hand written communication. Penmanship is a wonderful thing.

These days, I worry that the art of the handwritten is slowly fading away as we go digital. Don’t get me wrong – I treasure every personalised email, Facebook conversation and text message – but nothing is as satisfying or exciting as getting a letter. Nothing speaks as deeply as ink or feels as nice as paper between your fingers. I cling to the art of letters, because it’s too beautiful and touching to let go of.

You don’t need an excuse to write someone a letter. Some of the best and most meaningful letters are the ones that are written for no reason at all. The note left under the windscreen wiper on the car, written on a torn piece of a McDonalds brown paper bag (guilty), or a half-page letter in the letterbox of a stressed out friend makes such a difference. If letter writing isn’t a natural habit for you, but you’d like to give it a go, here are some ways I do ‘letters’.

The Surprise Letter

Sometimes, people make a little difference in your life. Maybe it’s after an event, or a conversation, or maybe it’s something they’re going through. Either way, I like to write a little note (handmade cards are sort of special too!) and keep it in my handbag until I see them or pass by their house. I remember after a mission trip last year, an amazing woman wrote me a little card to encourage me. It was such an unexpected and beautiful gesture – rest assured that little things do make a difference.

Letters to ‘The Guy’

I wasn’t sure whether to share this one, but most of my close friends and family know that I do this, so I figure that it’s not a big secret! When I was 14, I started writing little notes and letters to my future husband. With no idea who God had planned for me to marry, I started praying for him, for his journey with God and his life choices, and writing these points in letters. Sometimes I wrote to him about my life, and little details that I thought he might find interesting. I wrote on every birthday, every big trip or milestone – I guess I wanted him to someday feel as if he’s been involved in my life as I’ve grown up, and ensure him that I’ve been anticipating the day I marry him for a long time. I have over 20 letters now, all tied up and hidden away. If you have no one to write to, or you don’t feel confident doing so, this is a beautiful way to bless someone with notes from your heart in the future.

The Car Note

There’ve been a couple of times since I started driving, when I’ve found random notes on my car. Sometimes they’ve been anonymous, and sometimes I recognise the writing, or there’s a name. Since receiving a couple, I love returning the gesture. If I see a friend’s car parked near mine at the shops, I’ll leave a little piece of scrap paper (there’s enough of it in my car..!) with a short ‘have a great day’ or ‘love you’.

One of the strangest and nicest things I’ve received was a letter from a complete stranger. After accidentally parking quite inconsiderably across two potential spots a couple of christmases ago, I came back to a hand made christmas card on my front windscreen that kindly said, ‘Dear P Plater, in the future, can you please park here (diagram included), rather than here? It would really help us out! We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!’ I can’t think of a nicer way to treat someone who has inconvenienced you. I still have the card.

Post Cards

No matter how far I go on a holiday, I make a point of sending post cards. I’m not sure why – it’s a very inconvenient way of telling someone about your trip, what with the limited space – but there’s just something about them that makes me happy.

If you want a quick tutorial on how to make easy home made cards, click here for a blog post I wrote a few months ago.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences of letter writing!

— Lauren x

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36 Comments Add yours

  1. TimeDancer says:

    I am so glad I am not the only one who still loves writing letters! There is so much technology nowadays that most people are know are just a click away. Even though though I am 20 years old, I still want a pen pal extremely badly. Maybe it’s because I want to travel to other countries, but have never been able to do so. That and I love talking to people and writing letters. Haha. This is my favorite blog post simply because it talks about exactly how I feel as well! Thank you for the lovely post. 🙂

  2. TimeDancer says:

    Ps. My phone kept typing extra words and such. Sorry for the typos. Those kinds of things drive me crazy. Lol.

    1. Lauren says:

      Hi Trisha! I’m in my 20’s as well, and I feel the same way! I imagine it would be a wonderful way to experience culture without having to travel extensively. I think that’s one of the reasons I love reading such a diverse range of blogs, from people all over the globe!

      Oh, and don’t worry about the autocorrection! I feel your pain there, my phone and fingers have minds of their own 🙂 x

  3. Nice post. I too love writing handwritten letters. Sometimes I make them myself. I have a wax seal that I have used in the past to seal the envelope, even if it is a self sealer; just a nice added touch. I haven’t written anyone in awhile but this post stirred my desire to write three people I know. Thanks!

    1. Lauren says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for your encouragement Emily. I hope those people treasure the letters you’ve written! I’m sure they will. The day after I wrote this, I got a letter in the mail from a friend who recently moved overseas. It was SO exciting knowing that she took the time to write it to me – and it still blows my mind thinking that she wrote it at her desk hundreds of thousands of kilometres away, and it got all the way to my mailbox!

  4. Mandi says:

    If you ever want a pen pal in the US… let me know! 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      Thanks Mandi! Ahhh, that would be so lovely! I’m currently trying to think of a way that I can do this safely without publishing my home address online. In the meantime (although it totally contradicts what I said in this post!) feel free to email me at ljbarrett@gmail.com! x

  5. TimeDancer says:

    I agree. If you ever want a pen pal from the U.S., 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      Like I said to Mandi above — I wish I could do this!! I’m trying to think of a way to do this safely without publishing my address online, but in the meantime (although I know I just mentioned that nothing is the same as pen and paper!) feel free to email me at ljbarrett@gmail.com! x

  6. Ruby Claire says:

    I’m definitely a letter writer too. I have a penpal I have written to since before I could write.. our parents wrote on behalf of us and we scribbled our names at the bottom. We write even today… even though we live quite close. I never see her, we love that our friendship is confined to the excitement of letter writing. We got together last year with all out letters and read each other’s… it was hilarious!

    1. Lauren says:

      Ruby, that is soo cute haha. I can’t believe you’ve had a pen pal for so long! That would be so special.

    2. Lauren says:

      P.s I hope you’re having an amazing amazing trip!

  7. humblygrowing says:

    I love this! I have five pen pals I write to and it is so much fun!! It blesses me in a way I can’t explain!

    1. Lauren says:

      5 pen pals! My goodness, you must be a busy and organised woman 🙂 I agree, it is a real blessing when people take the time to write to you! It can be such a good way to appreciate things in your life as well – it makes me stop and think about what’s been going on in my life, and what I’m grateful for! Thanks for your comment Laura 🙂 x

  8. My friend & I were just talking about this. The iPhone is being removed from my life because I’ve become tired of ‘convenience’; we were talking about how the anticipation that went along with writing & receiving hand written letters has gone away…not for me & others apparently! How wonderful!! Long live letter writing! It is such a touch of personal that needs to be revised for sure! Thanks!

    1. Lauren says:

      It takes a strong person to say goodbye to the iPhone! No doubt it would force us to have more authentic communication with each other though! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 x

  9. queenofpuga says:

    I’m so glad I read this post. I’d forgotten how lovely it was to write and receive letters. I used to have a pen pal a few years ago but then we both got FaceBook and the tradition was lost.
    I especially love your ‘Letters to “The Guy”‘ idea, it’s so sweet. You’ve definitely inspired me to pick up a pen and paper again!
    P.S. If anyone is interested in having a UK pen pal feel free to let me know. It would be nice to start writing to someone again.

    1. Lauren says:

      I do have a serious love / hate relationship with Facebook! I reconnected with my pen pal after years of not writing on Facebook, and in a way that was a blessing. It was nice to say hi to her, and to still be able to share about our lives, but it definitely feels less personal. A letter is more like a creation!

      I would sooo love a pen pal in the UK! I’m trying to figure out if there’s a way that we can do this safely without posting addresses on the internet. Although it’s totally contradictory to this post — in the meantime, feel free to email me, I promise I’ll email back! ljbarrett@gmail.com

  10. I love writing letters and notes as well! I’ve always thought there was something special about giving and receiving them. I’m glad there’s someone else who gets just as much joy 🙂

    1. Lauren says:

      Definitely! So lovely to read these comments and hear that so many people enjoy writing and receiving letters! Thank you for reading & commenting Lauren 🙂 x

  11. How great to see someone getting into letter writing. Through college, there were no computers. Only electric typwriters. Summer between years of college saw many lettres between my friends and me. Email slowly and insidiously crept into my life until I was surprised to get a hand written note from a friend. Just because she thought I’d enjoy a good, old-fashioned letter. And she was right!

    1. Lauren says:

      Wow, things have changed so much! I love getting random surprise letters too 🙂

  12. Natasha Savina says:

    I adore writing letters, and receiving them! My Other Half and I constantly exchange handwritten letters when we’re apart, often slipping petals or herbs from wherever we are into the envelope x

  13. louiseamy says:

    Yessss Lauren! I l.o.v.e letters!
    As someone who struggles talking face to face with people (especially about feelings) it’s so much easier for me to put it down in a letter and so much more personal than texting or Facebook!

  14. SARA says:

    Wonderful post. Even I like writing letters but I do not have a pen pal.

  15. lolsy254 says:

    Oh this is such a lovely idea!

  16. Like you, I am an inveterate letter writer. I like to keep special cards and notes I have received as a reminder that I am loved, despite my many faults (LOL).

  17. Maddie says:

    I love writing and receiving letters! Yes, there’s something sentimental about a letter… I’m thankful for the conveniences of social networking, but i wish it were more common to just write letters to each other; it would be so much more pleasant. 🙂

    God bless,
    Madeline

    http://thefloralberry.wordpress.com/
    http://thenshesaw.wordpress.com/

  18. My great-aunt is my inspiration to continue the fine art of letter-writing! That’s pretty much how we keep in touch. She’s lived on the other side of the country my entire life and we’ve never met in person, but she’s always written me letters and I enjoy writing back. I agree about the sentimentality/nostalgia factor. I just love it! My mother also ingrained a love of writing in me. She got me started on writing thank you notes for any gifts I’ve received and it’s something that I still do. It feels weird to not send a (real) thank you note after receiving a gift!

  19. Mary says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. The written word has always been precious to me. As A retired teacher, I especially enjoy seeing this in your people. I must tell you that I have a friend who prayed and wrote about her future husband just as you did. This fellow did come along and they enjoyed more than 60 years of marriage. Though she has passed away, I’m certain that she is still grateful for her efforts and for him!

  20. realchange4u says:

    I love to write a hand written letter still to this day. Old fashioned I guess. My penmanship is not what it used to be. It seems so much more personal to me. It take effort on my part. Thanks for a great reminder of something that really blesses both the giver and the receiver .

  21. You should check out More Love Letters! It’s an organization where people send in letter requests if they know someone who could use a pick-me-up and you get to write to them. I’ve done it a couple times with my friends or by myself and it’s so fun! moreloveletters.com

  22. Rachel-Elaine says:

    Going away to college, on the other side of the country. And decided to write my 89 year old grandma letters. And include pictures. Since I will only be going home 6 weeks out of the year. Christmas break and summer break, we only get three weeks per break.

    I have also wrote letters to my future husband when I was younger but I can’t seem to find them.

  23. I do this as well! I absolutely adore your blog! 😍

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