The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Letters That Make a Difference~ Guest Blogger #2

Welcome to another TLWR follower who shares her experience in letter writing for a good cause.


Like many of us, I’ve come to use e-mail (and increasingly, social media like Twitter and Facebook) and the occasional card to communicate with family, friends and colleagues.

But I do still write letters now and then. This blog, The Letter Writing Revolution, has got me thinking about those letters and what they represent.

For instance, sometimes I write letters to and on behalf of people I don’t even know. I do this through Amnesty International, a group whose millions of members and supporters work to protect human rights around the world.

After my second child was born, I rejoined Amnesty International, which I’d belonged to in my twenties. Late at night after getting the kids to bed, bleary-eyed but wanting to interact with the wider world, I would read a case now and then on the Amnesty International Canada website and write a letter on behalf of the people I read about – like the members of a Zimbabwean human rights organisation who were being assaulted and arrested, or opposition leaders in Chad who had disappeared and were believed to be in detention and at risk of torture. After a while I signed up to receive “Urgent Actions,” which meant that every month or two I’d receive an e-mail message about someone whose human rights were at risk, and I’d write a letter on their behalf.

The letters I wrote were never more than a page long, and I’d write to the authority named, often the head of state or a government minister or ambassador. I’d politely describe my concern about the person or people facing human rights abuses, and sign my name. Handwriting or typing the letters didn’t actually take that much time, and I’d challenge myself to find some personal link to the country or to use my own words, always using Amnesty International’s information as a guide.

Now, a few years later, I realise I’ve written dozens of letters. I’ve also participated in Amnesty International’s last two annual Write for Rights “writeathons,” with a stack of paper, cards, envelopes and stamps beside me. I’ve written to the presidents of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nicaragua, to the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to the Prime Minister of Canada, and many others. I’ve written cards to people imprisoned because of their political or religious beliefs, or their families. As I write, I think about what it means for the people who are receiving the correspondence – will my letter make them stop and think that an ordinary person living in Canada is writing to them about what is happening where they live?

It’s difficult to make a direct connection between letters sent and improvements in someone’s human rights situation, but positive change happens in over one-third of appeal cases. Amnesty International sometimes provides e-mail addresses and posts online petitions, but its Urgent Action coordinators believe that “handwritten letters carry more weight than an emailed appeal which is informal, impersonal and easy to delete.” Letters show, they say, that you are willing to take time and effort to write about someone.

Then there’s the personal connection. A couple of years ago I read in an Amnesty International newsletter about a Sudanese poet who was imprisoned in 1989 for his political beliefs. He received some two thousand cards, which he managed to keep hidden during eleven house searches after his release. In 2008 he flew to London and wrote back to everyone who had included a return address, inviting them to a thank-you party.

I’ve yet to be invited to a party, but I’ve received a few replies to my letters, including from several Canadian government ministers, the Mexican Ambassador, and the head of a government department in the Ukraine (along with official translation). I can’t be sure if any of my letters have made a difference, but if a letter I write might be read, then it’s one that I want to write.

Denise Deby writes letters, occasional guest blogs and other things from her home in Ottawa. She is a big fan of TLWR, and also had the honour of having Julie as her doula when her first child was born.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"I Found a Letter in My Mailbox Today"

Here is our first Guest Blogger here at The Letter Writing Revolution!
Welcome to Stephanie of The Knitty Gritty Homestead


One of the many joys of rural life is the humble mailbox. Ours is plain white aluminum, purchased at the local hardware store on the day we moved in. I have been intending to paint it for the past 2 years, but there it sits, white and anonymous. We can barely see it from the house, so it takes a stroll down the laneway to see if the flag is "up", which brings that little thrill: MAIL! Mostly, we get flyers and bills; however, I am a dyed-in-the-wool letter writer (being Julie's sister and all!), and am often gifted with a coloured envelope bearing familiar handwriting, addressed to me.

My son is now five, and old enough to ride his bike to the mailbox to collect the day's postal booty. He loves this task, and always delivers the mail to the house with pomp and pride.

The long and winding road that leads to our mailbox
(see that little white rectangle in the distance?)
A few weeks ago, he created a letter/card for a friend from his Junior Kindergarten class. Forget about the fact that she lives about 7 minutes from our house. He wanted to MAIL this little piece of creative artwork: a picture of himself and K, bellybuttons and all, with lots of invented "letters" telling her a long story about his summer adventures. It sat in the van for a few days, then lay on the damp lawn for a few more. After a twist of his baby sister's hands and a few scuffs across the kitchen floor, it was looking well-loved, like a much-read letter in a war-zone.

He found it and looked a bit downtrodden, but I assured him we could still send it. He was ready to plonk it into the mailbox, when I explained the beautiful ritual of mailing a letter: finding a virgin envelope, carefully writing the destination and origins on it, then choosing a stamp. He danced with glee as I looked up K's street address in the phone book, carefully printed it on the front of the envelope, then pulled out my stamp stash. I had bought some decorative stamps depicting Canadian tourist attractions, and he chose the picture of "Happy Rock".

He headed down the laneway on his bike, and carefully placed this token in the mailbox, remembering to put the flag up to notify the mail-lady that he had something to send.

This morning I got a message from K's mom; K had received her first love letter from a boy, and had placed it under her pillow for safekeeping. Jude's ready to write the next installment; now it's time to teach him the art of wait-and-see...maybe someday soon the mailbox flag will indicate that a letter has arrived for him! And thus will begun his first give-and-take dance of writing and receiving letters.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stationary Stationery

I just received a phone call from a man who knows everything there is to know about stationary. He is an expert in all things paper and makes his living selling paper products (i.e. writing paper, envelopes, ink, pens, cards, etc.) at a very cool store in Ottawa (watch for a special feature in an upcoming blog post). I am telling you, this guy knows his stuff. After hearing about TLWR, he checked out the blog.

Although we are planning to meet up in early September to talk about all things paper, I was surprised to get a call from him out of the blue this evening. He had something he wanted to share with me but feared appearing snobbish and hesitated to tell me some very important information. Here it is:

Stationary is actually Stationery........

That's right folks, when referring to paper and envelopes, the correct spelling ends with "ery" as opposed to "ary." Why is this so important? Well, in case you haven't read every single post on this blog, I have likely written this word incorrectly, oh, about 500 times!!!! I depend on my sisters to be the first readers to proofread each new post and even they didn't catch this. Better still, a dear friend who owns a custom invitation/stationery business also didn't know this. In fact, the paper guy estimates that probably 90% of the population spells this word the wrong way when referring to letter writing paper and envelopes. The "other" spelling  with the "ary" refers to something that isn't moving. I suppose then technically, stationery is stationary.......

Now I must embark on the task of reading through every single blog post since June 16th and make these corrections. One of my pet peeves is reading obvious spelling errors and grammatical flaws in blogs (in anything for that matter). I am so grateful that this was brought to my attention and I will now undo 30 years of incorrectly spelling this word and start spelling stationary as stationery.

Here's an easy way to remember:
When something is standing still, it’s stationary. That piece of paper you write a letter on is stationery. Let the “E” in “stationery” remind you of “envelope" or the "ER" in stationery remind you of the "papER."

Watch for a guest post coming soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Be My Guest

You might have all been wondering where I have been. Or maybe not.

I am here doing my thing but honestly, I haven't had a whole lot of topics to write about lately. I have some ideas for September but right now, I am in limbo as I wait for the lazy, hazy days of summer to wrap up. I look forward to welcoming autumn.

So from now until Labour Day Weekend (Sept. 3-6th), I am opening up my blog to you. If any of you would like to be a guest blogger on The Letter Writing Revolution, all you have to do is send me your written piece with a photo and I will upload it here. The only regulation is that your post sticks to the theme of this blog. Don't worry about your writing skills. I will edit everything before posting. I want to hear about your letter writing experiences and what you love about it. Maybe you have some old letters of your own that tell a story and you are wiling to share it with all of us. Maybe you are in a profession that somehow relates to letter writing. There are hundreds of ideas, I am sure. I am hopeful that a few of you will be up for the challenge and will "Be My Guest" at TLWR. You have from today until Sept. 3rd to send in your submissions and then watch for it here. You can email your submissions to:

I look forward to having you as a guest!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School

I hate to say it but it looks like autumn is sneaking up on us here in rural Ontario. Can't quite put my finger on the subtle differences between a couple of weeks ago and today but I do know that my desire to sit on the beach has diminished significantly. The weather is still gorgeous.........lots of sunshine and high temperatures but there's a "feeling" that comes with the end of summer. The trees and grass are taking on a golden hue as opposed to that bright limey green of spring and early summer. I had to put a long sleeve jacket on this morning when I came downstairs as there was a chill in the morning air. Maybe the "Back to School" commercials and advertising in the stores contributes to this looming realization that summer is coming to an end. It's not a bad thing, I suppose, but it does mean that after the fall comes the snow and well, I just don't want to think that far ahead.

I have always considered September the start of a new year. Traditionally, January 1st is the beginning of the new calendar year but for me, the fall signifies a new beginning of sorts. I suppose that since children start back to school this time of year, it is the beginning of a new grade, a new classroom, new clothes and shoes (hopefully!) and the beginning of new goals. This time of year, has me reflecting on my own school days and how a large part of those days consisted of exchanging letters with my best friend, Krista, and then later on with my boyfriend.

Krista and I on her wedding day~ May 2010
Krista and I saw each other every day. The school bus would travel to my town, pick up the handful of children who had to be bussed all the way to the next small town where the Catholic School existed. Krista lived about 10km from my house and I always saved a seat for her. Once she got on the bus, we would hand each other the letters we had written the night before. And then we would spend the rest of the bus ride reading the letters quietly and then stuffing them into our school bags to begin another day of classes and learning. Seems a bit weird now that we did this daily ritual of letter writing when we saw each other in person every day but then I suppose if we had other means, we would have been doing what I see a lot of young teenagers doing today....texting one another when they are in the same room. Now that's weird.

In a previous post, I wrote about some of the love letters I received in my life and in particular the ones from my first serious boyfriend who I started dating the summer of 1987. As I was reading through those letters in preparation for that particular post, I realized that he and I also exchanged letters almost daily when we met up at school. He did travel on the same bus most of the time but sometimes, if he or I missed one bus in particular, we wouldn't see each other until we got to school. Then we would promptly exchange letters and read them in our separate classes. It was the only way to 'stay connected' until you met up again during the breaks.

Honestly, I don't get the whole texting thing and this is partially due to the fact that I don't know how to text nor do I intend on learning. I understand that a lot of parents my age have been forced to learn how to text as it is their only means of staying in constant contact with their kids at any given hour. I find it extremely aggravating to have a conversation with someone (usually this someone is under the age of 18) while competing with the constant buzzing of their blackberry notifying them that someone has sent a text. One day I was chatting (in person not on MSN) with a friend's teenage daughter and she was constantly being buzzed. I could tell she was trying to appear intrigued by our conversation but I knew she was dying to check her phone to see who was sending her a text. Our conversation was interrupted regularly by her glancing downward and announcing, "Oh, it's just my boyfriend" followed by, "Oh, it's just him again" followed by, "He's so cute. It's him again." Finally, I had to say that had my boyfriend been calling me or dropping off letters as often as she was receiving texts, my father would have had a restraining order against him for stalking.

Okay, I am starting to go off track here.

With summer coming to an end and autumn gradually moving in to take its' place, I am thinking about the months to come and where I am going with this revolution. There is a field trip planned for the week after Labour Day weekend which includes a wonderful give-away! Stayed tuned for that!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Letters As Time Capsules

If you're new to this Blog, please read the very first post to understand what The Letter Writing Revolution is all about:

As my siblings and I get older, my mother is slowly sorting through old photographs, letters, ancient art projects and other paraphenelia from our youth. She figures we may as well have it back to pass onto our own children or do with it what we may. As far as she is concerned, she wants this excess out of her house. No sense keeping boxes of papers, letters and photographs from 20+ years ago.

As she purges, many handwritten letters surface. Some are filled with laughter and some with sadness.  There's the letter written when I was 16 years old when one of our cats came home with fleas. The fleas were attracted to me for some reason and so I was getting bitten daily. They weren't biting anyone else in the family and so there wasn't a lot of rush in getting the problem dealt with. Finally, I had enough and I wrote a letter to my parents stating that I would be moving in with my friend, Jessie, until the flea infestation was dealt with. I didn't stop there. I made sure that my parents were aware that I knew that the cat was obviously far more important than their daughter. Don't you love how dramatic teenagers can be!
Rebel Without a Cause.......circa 1987
There's a letter I wrote to my dad around the same time when he and my mom separated. I was 16 years old then and I reassured him that I loved him and that although I didn't understand why they were splitting up, I wasn't angry at them. Actually, when I think back, I was very angry but maybe in the moment of writing that letter I had achieved some level of peace. I also told him not to worry....I would look after "the kids" (my younger brother and sister) and our mom. Such maturity for someone so young.

Another letter written to my dad was a "love letter" of sorts in celebration of Father's Day. I was living in Whistler, British Columbia and I suppose being far away freed me up to express all that was in my heart. I had forgotten about this letter until my mom handed it to me over lunch a few days ago. At first I cringed as sometimes reading the words that were written when you thought you had figured everything out with the world can be rather embarrassing. I decided to read it anyway and was pleasantly surprised that I had shared so many personal thoughts with my dad. So many things that often go unsaid until it is too late. I was 24 years old when I wrote that particular letter and for a moment, I traveled back in time and recalled the young woman I was........the future still waiting to unfold.

I have a large collection of letters that I wrote and that my mother has returned to me. I hesitate to dig in and read them all for fear that they might reveal a part of myself that I have purposely chosen to deny or forget about. Then again, I may be reminded of the person that quietly resides within waiting for an opportunity to come forward and shine. The part of me that has had to take a back seat while I tend to the demands of my daily life. For now, the letters sit in a bag waiting to transport me to another time and place in my life whenever the urge strikes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


If my calculations serve me correctly, today marks 2 months/8 weeks since the beginning of The Letter Writing Revolution.  It's been very satisfying for me to see that I have inspired even a handful of people to get back to letter writing and to even reconnect with people you haven't been in touch with for a while. I hope that you are taking the time to hand write thank you notes and to maybe get started on that hard-to-write letter. Maybe you finally got around to expressng your feelings in a love letter either to someone new or someone who has been a part of your life for a long time.  Perhaps, a homesick soldier got your letter in the mail. I know that one expectant mom was planning to write her unborn baby a letter after reading my post from this week called Sweet Child of Mine. I am hoping she managed to do it as I have heard that her baby boy came into the world unexpectedly last night. Welcome to the world, Alexander!

So in celebration of 2 months, I want to hear from YOU! Send me a quick comment on what you like about TLWR or how you have been inspired or send me some ideas of things you would like to see in upcoming posts. I know that some of you are from farway places like Israel, Russia, the Ukraine, Senagal, the Netherlands, Germany, etc. Send me a note. Your feedback is encouraging so please take a moment and leave a comment. Don't be shy. I appreciate it!

Thank you for your continued support and for your contribution to the lost art of letter writing!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching Up

I have officially completed the "45 Letters in 45 Days" Challenge which actually turned out to be "16 Letters in 8 Days or So"  Challenge. In the midst of writing to the Followers who requested a letter, I was continuing to receive letters from all over the place and trying to answer them in a timely manner. I didn't want it to turn into a chore or become something I had to do. I felt this pressure to answer the letters I received within 24 hours and then it dawned on me............ there is no time frame to answering letters. I am so accustomed to email that I was treating the letter writing the same way. Must answer letters NOW. Must answer letters NOW. A gentle reminder to myself that writing a letter to someone when I actually felt like writing the letter to that particular person and writing when I know I will have some uninterrupted time is what is important. If it takes a week after the letter arrives in my mailbox before I can sit down and write then so be it. I think this is part of the hesitation for some of you.

Are you afraid that letter writing will become just 'one more thing' to add on to your already lengthy "To Do" list? Trust me, you either like it or you don't and if you like writing and receiving letters then you will be able to set aside some time each week for yourself to stay connected in a way that is far more meaningful then a text or an email. If I can find the time, YOU can find the time. You'll just have to trust me on that fact.

It is such a false sense of connection when your only contact with your friends/family members is through a text or an email. It really is. I know this for certain especially now that I have been an avid letter writer and receiver since launching TLWR only six weeks ago. Don't fool yourself into thinking that sending off an email to your parents or a mass mail out to your friends suffices. It doesn't. Period. I mean if that is all you can truly manage, well, it is better than nothing. My mom even commented the other day how she misses getting letters from us....granted I live 400 metres from her so writing letters to her about my day would be just plain silly. I think she gets annoyed when she calls or stops in and attempts to tell me about something my sister said and I announce, "Ya, I know. I read it on Facebook." I can just see her cursing to herself......"Damn that Facebook. Always beating me to it."

If you are one of the thousand or so people expected to read this post and have yet to become a follower.....please join the revolution and become an official follower. As you finish reading this post, I urge you to write a letter to your mom or dad or a sibling or a friend. No one to write to but you're lovin' the revolution........send ME a letter and you are guaranteed a letter back....Julie Keon, P.O Box 533, Cobden, Ontario, K0J 1K0, Canada. I'll be waiting for your letter.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Child of Mine

I was teaching a prenatal class in Ottawa yesterday to six expectant couples. During the morning break I was sharing The Letter Writing Revolution with them. One mom-to-be asked, "Do thank you notes count?" to which I replied "Sort of but not quite." I chatted enthusiastically about my blog and about the lost art of letter writing. I asked if any of them had every written love letters to their partners and in response I received some shoulder shrugging. I talked about my Letter to a Soldier post and of course, the post on Love Letters. One of the dads-to-be promptly added the url for my blog into his Blackberry and announced that he was going to write me a letter. I am expecting him to. I don't take statements about letter writing lightly.

I think that when I return next week to teach their second and final prenatal class, I am going to suggest they start a project to not only contribute to the revolution but to also enhance their relationship with their unborn child. I am going to recommend that they start by writing a love letter to their unborn baby. When I was pregnant with our daughter, I kept a pregnancy journal which kept track of the many details of those 40 weeks + 5 days that I would have otherwise forgotten.

Photo by Marlys Symingon
My husband wrote a letter to our unborn baby who we lovingly referred to as Cletus the Fetus. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Dear Cletus;

"Okay, okay....I know that you probably think that we are pretty weird for calling you "Cletus" but it was kind of funny at first and it has become somewhat familiar over the last few months. I am writing this to you to let you know what all was going on in my life while I eagerly waited to meet you. Both you mother and I (that still sounds weird to say) have a feeling that you are a boy. It probably does not help that your nickname is a boy's name but for the record we really do not have a preference either way. For me, I really like the idea of having a son to do all of those father/son things together but I also really like the idea of Daddy's Little Girl, as well...........

.......I am not sure how I am going to be as a father but right now I am not the best at saying mushy stuff but I hope to get a little better with it as time goes on. I have never been very good at expressing myself but I will give it a valiant effort, just bear with me, okay? You haven't even arrived yet but you have turned our lives upside down. Every spare moment I am thinking of you and how much I want to meet you. All of the sudden I notice every baby and wonder what you will look like. Will you have more hair than them or be bald as a cue ball? Mind you, with the amount of heartburn your mother is having you had better have a full head of hair (it is an old wives tale). Will you be a happy baby? Will you have chubby little cheeks? Will you have your mother's stunning blue eyes? I mentioned before how deeply in love I am with your mother. I thought that it was not possible to love anyone more deeply until I heard about you. I know that it is probably a cliche but I honestly would make any sacrifice for you without any hesitation and I have not even met you yet! Anyway, I could go on forever and not get any closer to explaining how much you have brought to our lives already. I know you will teach us many things about love and life and hopefully we will teach you what it means to be loved and how to love.

So, take care, little one. We are anxiously awaiting your arrival but take your time and just come when you are ready. Know that you will be greeted by two very nervous but very loving parents that promise to always be there for you."

Love Dad

My husband with our daughter, Meredith (2004)

I may share this letter with my class and then gently encourage them to spend an evening each writing a letter to their baby.........their hopes and fears, their excitement and their wishes, what is going on in the world as they write, what their dreams are for the birth and the weeks after and of course, their feelings towards this baby that is still on the inside. Then, I am going to ask them to write a letter every year on the eve of or on a day close to their child's birth day. Imagine when the child is older and receives a box of letters that have been written over the years out of love for them......the first one being written even before they were born.

If you are expecting a baby and reading this, perhaps this is something you can consider. If you know someone who is pregnant, an interesting shower gift would be to give them a decorative box, beautiful pens and paper to begin a tradition of writing letters to their child. These letters can be given at the child's 18th birthday or graduation or for Christmas one year. As they get older, the letter can be written in the days leading up to the birthday and they can receive it as one of their gifts. This can be an annual tradition of receiving a handwritten letter from one or both of their parents. This inexpensive gift would be far more valuable then anything you could buy in a store. Guaranteed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

TLWR News of the Week

Friday has arrived in a flash and I want to share with all of you some of the cool things happening at The Letter Writing Revolution headquarters.

First off, I have been pumping out letters like a mad woman in the last couple of weeks and there are more to write today. Keep an eye on your mailboxes and you, too, will find a letter from me.....if you are a part of the Challenge. Secondly, I have not only been writing letters but receiving them as well which is like waking a dormant part of myself. I walk to our post office and get this joyful feeling when I spy an envelope that isn't a bill or junk mail. As TLWR grows, so does the number of letters I receive. It is a great bonus of being head of a revolution like this one.

The third highlight of the week was when I received an email from a blog follower who happened to come across my blog through various links. She requested a letter from me as a part of the challenge. She is following from Kentucky, USA. Very cool that the revolution is reaching places beyond my friends and relatives home addresses :-)

The fourth highlight of the week was when I checked my Blog Stats last night and discovered that in this week alone, this blog has been viewed from all over Canada and the U.S.A but also viewed from far away places like the Netherlands, Germany, Vietnam, Afghanistan and India. How awesome is that??? Maybe "my" soldier that I wrote to did receive my letter and is now checking out the blog.

And finally, last but not least, I arrived home yesterday to an email from Jen over at Pen and Prosper urging me to check out her blog post. She had chosen four bookmark-worthy blogs and TLWR was one of them! I am pretty thrilled about that as it is a huge compliment to have my blog admired by someone I have only met recently online AND to have this blog exposed to more people. Every little bit helps the revolution to grow. Thanks, Jen!

Oh, more highlight of the mom just showed up with a little gift for me of a roll of Canadian stamps (60 of them!!) to help out with my letter writing. Thanks, mom!!

On that note, wherever you may be, have a wonderful weekend and find some time to write at least one letter to make someone's day! And as always, if you haven't become a follower, please do so and please also share this blog with your friends and family. Who knows? Maybe they will be inspired to write YOU a letter.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You Found a Pen Pal....Now What?

As mentioned in a previous post, I had about 12 pen pals when I was a kid. I had pen pals from all over the world. You didn't think twice about sending your exact mailing address, a photo of yourself and details about your life to an address found on the back page of an Archie Digest. When I was around 11 or so, I was matched up with a girl from the UK through Girl Guides of Canada. She became my most dedicated pen pal and we even met a couple of times first as teens and again when she travelled to Canada on her honeymoon. Although we still managed to send one another the odd Christmas card, we have reconnected on Facebook. I can still, to this day, recite her entire snail mail address from memory. That demonstrates just how many letters I wrote to her. Our letters contained the latest gossip on school, our families, our heart throbs and most importantly, the band Wham!

Since this is a revolution and I am working really hard to revitalize this lost art, I am handwriting letters each day. Now I could cheat and send out postcards or greeting cards but I am determined to write every single person who responded to TLWR Challenge with a letter written on sheets of paper. It seems more difficult to write a letter to a stranger now that I am no longer a child. I try to think of what might be interesting to someone else and then I am reminded that simply reading someone's thoughts, comments, observations might be interesting enough. "Christine" commented on my last post that perhaps part of the reluctance to write a letter is simply not knowing where to start or what to write. I get that. I am rarely at a loss for words in a conversation but I have been surprised at the pauses in writing that occur when writing to a new pen pal. But, and this is important, I have also discovered that the more letters I write, the easier the words flow and the less cramped my hand gets. We really don't write anymore.....letters or otherwise. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

Some of you are interested in pen pals and I have managed to create some pen pals between your children. I haven't quite figured out how I am going to match up some of my Followers who would like a pen pal. There are some interesting websites out there for pen pals like "Inmate Pen Pals" "Sexy African Pen Pals" and a few others that would not be appropriate for this blog. I don't recommend you share your mailing address online at one of these sites. You might get a whole lot more than a letter on your doorstep!

Sometimes a pen pal relationship can blossom with someone who you are acquainted with but maybe you really don't "know" that well......a distant relative, a childhood friend, someone you have met only once but 'clicked' with. I have become pen pals with a woman who was a childhood friend of my husband's mother. My husband's mother passed away 26 years ago but 'Joan' has always stayed in touch with their family. She and I have been writing back and forth recently and I love getting her letters. Think about who you can send a letter to and just see where it goes.

If you're really stuck, I present the following steps to help get you started. These were copied directly from the website eHow: How To Do Just About Everything when I typed in a search for "How To Write the First Letter to a Pen Pal":

Step 1
Share your information. Break the ice by telling your pen pal a little about yourself. Start with the basics: name, age, occupation. Write about what you like to do or what's on your mind that day. Sharing your information will encourage your pen pal to share his information with you and will begin to develop your friendship.

Step 2
Ask questions. Write questions for your pen pal to answer in her next letter. This will help you get to know her and probably get you a faster response. Weave your questions into the letter by telling her something you like to do and then asking if she's ever tried it.

Step 3
Solicit advice. You may share a situation with your pen pal and then ask what he might do in your situation. You don't have to take his advice, but it will give you some clues about his personality. Also, discussing real-world issues will further develop your friendship.

Step 4
Be consistent. Ultimately, it takes time to get to know someone. It takes even more time to get to know a pen pal because you only have the information she writes in her letters. Make a point of writing to your pen pal frequently. Over time, you can become great friends with this person you've never seen before.

Tomorrow's post will be updates and interesting tid bits of TLWR this week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

12 Letters in 4 Days Challenge

The original challenge of 45 Letters in 45 Days was not as popular as I thought it might be. I did receive a few mailing addresses from my followers but not nearly enough to make this an actual challenge. I am in the process of writing 12 letters over the next few days. I have written 4 of the 12 as of yesterday so only 8 to go. I am mailing out several letters today so watch your mailbox for one of these colourful gems!

When I started this challenge, my goal was to take a very inexpensive hobby and bring a cheap thrill to the receiver. In order to spread the joy of letter writing and receiving, I needed your mailing address. For those of you who participated, please let me know when you get your letter.I thought that the challenge would be managing to physically write 45 letters in 45 days. It turns out that the challenging part is creating an interesting letter when writing to a complete stranger OR when writing to someone familiar who I am in touch with on Facebook or by email on a regular basis.

I have set aside time each day this week to write letters and mail them out within 24 hours. As promised, all of you who participated should be getting a letter within the next 7 days unless you are overseas. This may take a bit longer.

If you are now kicking yourself for not participating, you can still send me your address and I will write to you (email it to This isn't a limited event. The Letter Writing Revolution is ongoing and hopefully growing. If you are reading this and not yet a follower, please become one. It is as easy as clicking on the Follow button at the right of the page above the tiny pictures of my followers. You will have to follow some quick easy steps but that's it. It gives bloggers like me an indication as to how many people are actually reading the blog. Knowing that there are regular followers, gives us the motivation to keep writing and to write more often.

Six letters are going out this morning and another 3 should be written by day's end. Enjoy!