If you follow me on Instagram (@maegoeswestblog), you know that I am constantly writing to my friends and family via cards and postcards. When I first started writing cards regularly, I was at a loss for what to say and how to say it. If I’m writing someone a card, I have a warm sense of love for them, but it’s sometimes hard to convey that on stationery. These are my top five pointers to help you convey that emotion in a card.
- Choosing stationery: I have so many greeting cards and stationery that I’ve saved up over the years that I usually just pick one at random, unless I’m sending it to wish someone a happy birthday or anniversary or something like that. I have a friend who has a mighty post card collection, so everyone I receive from her has been unique and fun Postcards from NASA, Japanese postcards with the cutest little kitten, vintage postcards, postcards from Frida Khalo’s house in Mexico city. If you want to opt for something more low key, any kind of paper will do.
- Choosing a greeting: I usually stick with “Hi Whomever” or a “Hi friend!” If writing to more than one person in a household, I will address the card to both of them, and sometimes even their children and fur babies. It depends on my mood.
- What to write: for the body of the card, I usually don’t say much, honestly. If I’m writing someone out of the blue, I’ll usually write that I was thinking about them, or I had a memory of us, or I miss them and wanted to reach out. Then I move into what I’ve been doing recently. This can include what I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, the weather if they’re in another state, or upcoming plans.
Then I’ll end with something like “I hope you are both doing well. I can’t wait to see you next,” or reiterating how much I miss/think about them. It’s so heart-warming to know that others are thinking about me, so I like to pass that along to others as well.
For postcards, specifically, I usually aim for three sentences. Brevity is the key for postcards. What are you trying to say to this person? How can you say it in four sentences or less?
For thank you notes, I start with “Thank you so much for…” and write very specifically what I’m thanking them for. It could be for a present, for helping you with something, or for being a great friend/family member in general. Then I write how their gift is enhancing my life. For example, I recently received new technology from my family, so I would say something like, “I can’t believe how bad my phone was which I only realized when I started using the new phone. It’s like night and day difference.”
- Sign off: for the sign off, I’ll use a word to convey how I felt when I was writing the card. “Warmly,” is a huge one I use. “Lots of love”, “all my love”, “excited to see you/excited to connect”, or “warm wishes”. My friends and family can tell you that “warm” comes up a lot in my letters.
- Stamps: Don’t forget to give some thought to what kind of stamp to use. I have quite the collection of stamps now too. Your local Post Office is a great place to peruse stamps –my favorite line of theirs is their Black History collection– which you can even do online.
Bonus tip: Think about what writing utensil you are using. I absolutely love color, as evidenced by the word “color” appearing on the majority of my daily gratitude lists. I have gel pens, a wide range of markers, and pens. I like to either pick at random or pick depending on what sentiment I’m trying to convey. Keep in mind that it’s hard for some to read light colored ink, like pinks or yellows. And others may be colorblind, so you may want to use a black or blue pen, depending on the person.
Bonus tip: Also, don’t forget fun stickers! This is my favorite part about stationery. I keep my stickers, an
endless collection of random stickers, in a box organized by holiday/theme. From dinosaurs, monkeys riding skateboards, otters swimming to smiling ice cream cones, dancing burgers, and just about everything in between. Stickers can be used in the card, on the outside, or on the envelope. Who doesn’t love a Barbie or three stickers when sorting through the bills and other junk mail.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget your co-workers, if you have them. A great way to build a relationship with a
colleague is to send them a little note saying that they’re kicking ass or the team wouldn’t be the same
without them. I’ve had great results from sending an encouraging note to a co-worker who’s having a hard
time, or if they’re on top of their game.
I’d love to know, what are your favorite tips for writing letters and cards?