The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

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.


  1. Excellent post with great tips. Thank you for the penpal hook-up for Jamie. She was thrilled with her first letter and we will get a letter back into the mail this weekend.
    Keep up the revolution!

  2. When I was in grade four I had a pen pal. He was a pretty cool guy. He sent me pictures of his family and was pretty funny. I wish I could still keep in contact with him. I hope he is well.

    -Zane of ontario honey

  3. Pen Palling if used responsibly is a very important socialization and long distance communication tool. :)

  4. After you have been writing for a while you can have the conversation about why they are in prison.

    Inmate Connection


I need to know that this revolution is growing and impacting the masses. Your comments motivate me! Please take the time to let me know how TLWR is working for you.