Since 2009 I've been helping people share their love and surprise their partners, friends and family with typed letters. I offer a unique service, a Message in a Bottle Letter Service, where I type up your text onto a small sheet of paper with a vintage typewriter, seal it with a bit of wax, place the tiny letter in a corked glass bottle, and then mail it directly to the recipient. I even have a mobile booth!
I've typed hundreds of letters, in several different languages, sent them all around the world delivered all kinds of good news like marriage proposals, wedding vows, happy birthdays, secret crushes, and old fashioned undying love. There's a lot of love out there. Really, I have proof- so many love letters!
After reading all these love letters I've often thought about what makes a great one. There are some that sucker punch me with woozy good feelings, some have brought me to tears, and some I want to help revise just a little bit. I've condensed all this love letter know-how into a few helpful tips for all your future romantic communiques, because yes, Valentine's Day is coming up, but really everyday should be the 14th.
Writing is hard. It felt like pulling teeth to sit down and write this, even though I've been wanting to share this idea for awhile, knew what I wanted to say and was excited about it. I just needed time to organize my thoughts and for the words to find me. And they did. You'll find the words. Think about the person you're writing to, and then just write. Edit later.
I see this a lot. Stuff like, "You mean the world to me" and "I'd be nothing without you" can be heartfelt sentiments, but feel a little impersonal. We hear these statements so much they begin to lose their meaning. Try instead to be more specific about what's at the heart of these clichés. Why does your partner mean so much to you? What kind of everyday things do they do to bring joy to your life? For example, my boy friend always texts me a thoughtful, encouraging message before an important meeting. I could say something like, "You always show me you care. I feel loved and love you more for it."
Avoiding clichés can be hard, because they kind of sum up, in a familiar easy way, how we feel. But details make any letter feel more authentic and special. Think of experiences you two have shared. Little moments can be powerful. What was it like when you first met? When did you realize that you were in love? What was your first date? Was there something specific that made you want to write in the first place?
Simple is best.
Sometimes we feel the need to really drive a point home. I get it, you're like, so in love. I see captivating love letters lose their steam by going on and on. You don't have to explain every loving feeling you have. In fact, some of the most powerful letters I've read are brief. They leave you with a few thoughts to pour over and relish.
Find the words else where.
If you're stuck, maybe start with a quote. It can be a lyric from a song, a favorite line from a movie, or a beloved quote. Maybe your boo is a stargazer who would appreciate and smile at the inclusion of a Carl Sagan quote, or on your first date you heard a song that's become important to you both. If you need help finding the words, these kinds of quotes can be super helpful prompts. Again, it's all about being personal here. Don't just google "love quotes".
Don't be shy.
It doesn't have to be all flowery and mushy. Being romantic is about opening up and being vulnerable and that my friends is sexy! (Proven here by PJ Harvey.) When I first met my boo we were long distance. It was easier to share our lives in a letter, and it brought us closer. Nothing was better than coming home to one of these letters.
I hope this inspires you to write a letter, or up your card game. The world does really need more snail mail. Just think about the last time you got a letter that wasn't junk mail or bills. It's a great feeling right? Share the love!
You can find my Letter Service here. Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day.