Why Letter Writing is the Best, and How to do It

When was the last time you wrote a letter? When was the last time you received a letter? The answer to both of these questions is probably, “A long time ago.”

The thing about letter writing is that it can be therapeutic, like journaling, and creative. Sometimes, writing to another person can make us feel self aware, or critical of what we are writing, but when you’re writing to a friend, it’s just like having a conversation! It’s a great way to connect with friends and loved ones, especially when you get to see them less than you could pre-university. Most people are actually quite happy to receive physical mail, as it is less and less common… I’ve never had a friend upset that they’d received a postcard from me in the mail. If anything, they’re usually happily surprised. It’s really nice to receive something physical from someone you love, in addition to talking to them on the phone, or online, and as a plus, by the end of it, they’ll have a nice little keepsake. 

    If you would like to give it a try, I can walk you through the basics of sending mail! First, you’ll need someone to send it to. This can be a friend, or a relative, anyone really (just make sure you are being safe about who you are giving your address to). Sending mail doesn’t have to be a big deal- you set the tone. A postcard with a nice sentiment works perfectly well, or a celebratory card of some kind. If you wanted to go all out, you could write a letter. Something I enjoy is adding snippets of poetry, song lyrics, or little art pieces (think sticky note doodles) in the envelope. Again, there’s no pressure for this to be elaborate or stressful, anything that shows you were thinking of the person you are writing to will do!

    Next, make sure your envelope, or postcard, fits the requirements of Canada Post. These are pretty standard requirements, so essentially any postcards or envelopes you buy should already be within their guidelines. When writing the address, just make sure it is written clearly, and in the center of the envelope, or on the right side of the postcard. The return address should be in slightly smaller print on the top left hand corner, and the stamp on the top right hand corner (a domestic stamp for mailing within Canada, and an international stamp for mailing internationally). Sorry, this is all the boring stuff… 

    The real fun is writing (if you enjoy that) and the decorating. I’ve received, and seen photos online, of envelopes and postcards that are absolutely gorgeous! You can paint the envelopes (just make sure the address is clear and the stamp area if left untouched), or use stickers and washi tape. A great place to get inspiration is the “snailmail” hashtag on instagram, there are some amazing pieces there! If it’s a letter you’re sending, you can include stickers, photos, folded up magazine articles, etc.!    

The final step would be to seal it, if it’s a letter, and mail it through a Canada Post mailbox!

    A good tip is to not expect too much out of it. Some people will be happy to receive the mail, but not write back, while others will write back immediately. Once people do start writing back, I find that they are much more honest and intimate than they would be on the phone or over text messages… That’s a big part of why it can be comforting writing to people that you don’t get to see often (like high school friends at different colleges or universities). It isn’t easy finding a writing partner, but once you do, I assure you it’ll be worth it!