Write Now: 18 Letter Writing Prompts

18 letter writing prompts that will get you inspired to pull out a pen and write an old fashioned letter. These ideas are also great for pen pals. You might just make someone's day!

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Here are some letter writing prompts to get you back into writing old-fashioned mail. Make someone’s day today! :)

I come from a family of letter writers. When I was a little girl, I would write letters to my Grandpa (my mom would pen in his last name), and he would write me back. He would send photos of the dog and tell me about his projects and the garden. I loved getting mail from him. When friends moved away, I wrote letters to them. And many of them wrote back. I still have letters from a friend who wrote to me by candlelight in the Amazon (her parents moved there for a few years to be missionaries.)

When it was time for college, I wrote volumes back home and received volumes back. I laughed until I cried from letters from my sisters. We went through a stage of making envelopes out of magazine pages so those were particularly colorful (and funny, since we also wrote our own comments on the ads.) My mom wrote beautiful descriptive letters about how life was going and even my dad would drop me a line here and there.

But as email and texting and social media in general have come more and more into play, my letter-writing has slowed almost to a halt. I still write my Grandpa and the little girls we sponsor. And I try to send notes to my mom and sisters. Just this last week I received a novel (what we call a very long letter) from one of my sisters and another from my mom. I need to write them back!

When I ask around, it seems that most of us are not writing ‘real’ letters anymore (‘real’ meaning pen on paper as opposed to long emails, etc.) but that many of us want to write more. This is very interesting to me. I hear things like, “I love receiving real mail instead of just bills!” but then most of us kind of stay in that, “Wouldn’t it be nice?…” place and don’t do the thing. Myself included.

So, I thought I’d write a blog post with some letter writing prompts and ideas so you can get back into the writing spirit.  This isn’t an exhaustive list but hopefully it will get you going with writing letters again. I’m sure your friends and family will appreciate receiving something other than junk mail in their mail box!

 Letter Writing Prompts

1. Be an Encourager. Write out a few ways you’d like to encourage this person on a post-it note before you start your real letter and refer to it as you write. It is always nice to think of how you can encourage your recipient rather than just writing until you can’t think of anything else to say. (Here are some free printable encouragement cards that you could use.)

2. Illustrate your day or a recent trip. You might think your day is too boring to illustrate, but it is actually fun to see a peek into someone’s life. What did you eat for breakfast? What did you notice on the way to work or school? When you start looking at your day as an observer, things will start to pop out at you. I once saw a woman very intently reading a book with a large magnifying glass at a coffee shop. And there was the time I was on a run and saw a man playing the trumpet to the ocean waves. Those little random moments made great illustrations!

3. What’s the weather like where you are? I know, nerd alert, but this is nearly always included in my letters. I can’t help myself. I think it is interesting to read about the ice storm that hit the East coast or how the daffodils are coming up early this year.

4. Describe a new favorite place to visit. Maybe you just discovered a fun coffee shop or a little courtyard where you can sit by a fountain and write. Write about it!

5. The latest and greatest antics from the kids (or pets). You’ll probably naturally add this in. Did your toddler just start counting to twenty out of nowhere? Has your cat decided it will only eat its food when no one is looking? Random, but funny moments are fun to read.

6. Share what you’re learning. Maybe you are in school and you can take this quite literally by sharing some of the things you’re getting out of your classes. But even if you’re way past school age, you’re always in the state of learning. Did you read something interesting lately? See a good movie that you recommend?

7. Talk about your goals. Most likely you’re writing to someone who loves you so they will probably think it is interesting to see what you’re working on right now. And don’t be intimidated by the word, “goal”. It could be something really simple like sharing how you’re on a mission to learn how to make the perfect scone.

 

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What to Include in Your Letter

1. Send a family picture or a picture of yourself. Sounds silly but honestly, so often we take pictures these days and never print them. It’s fun to receive a picture of someone that isn’t a holiday picture (at least I think so. :))

2. Make a paper chain or a banner to celebrate an event. Make it super small so it fits into an envelope. It will be a mini celebration!

3. Send a postcard. You can send this in the letter or separately. It is always fun to receive one of those majestic scenic postcards in the mail.

4. Make a mini-book. Fill it with favorite quotes, illustrations, collage, or whatever you’d like. You could also send blank mini-books and explain how to fill them up.

5. Kid’s artwork. I love receiving artwork from my nieces and nephews. Our refrigerator is like a little museum. If you have kids, before you toss that latest masterpiece because it is cluttering the counter top, consider sending it to Nana or Auntie. You could also take your child’s art and make it into a card by using this tutorial.

6. Send a poem. In my mom’s latest letter, she mentioned coming across an old letter I had sent her years ago when I was working in Santa Barbara, California. I had copied out a favorite poem at the time, “Black March” by Stevie Smith. I had forgotten about it, but just looked it up again. What a beautiful thought to read. Poems or lyrics to a song convey so much truth and are wonderful ways to share your heart.

No More Excuses!

1. Just do the thing. Take 15 minutes, grab a piece of paper, and write. It really won’t take you as long as you think. If you’d rather type, then type it out on the computer and print. Done.

2. Make a date to write. Maybe you don’t have time at the moment to write, so instead, schedule it in. I’m not usually stringent with this—it is supposed to be fun, right?—I just write on my to-do list at the beginning of the week that I need to write a letter to so-and-so and make a point to do it somewhere in those seven days. p.s. This is what I mean by a “letter-writing retreat” in the image above. It takes me 10 minutes to write a meaningful letter during my retreat time (usually nap time!), and I’m always so glad I did.

3. Think of how happy you’ll make that person. Maybe that is a silly thing to say, but if that is what works for you, go ahead and do it. What grandparent is going to roll their eyes at a letter? Most people are kind of surprised and grateful for real mail. You might just make someone’s day!

4. Buy stamps at the grocery store. You wrote the letter, addressed the envelope, and . . . oh, yeah, a stamp. Rather than going to the post office which may or may not be out of the way for you, just pick up a book of stamps at the grocery store the next time you’re there. Write it as an item on your grocery list so you don’t forget.

5. Write how you talk. No need to be fancy. You don’t have to sit down and think up elaborate sentences and make this into a chore. Have fun, jot down your thoughts, and send that letter off into the world!

If you want to do something really fun, you should try making a set of Write Me Back cards for the friend you’re going to write. One of my friends and I did this a few years ago and I loved making/receiving a card every month!

Well, hopefully these few ideas encouraged you to bring some letter writing back into your life. I know that I am going to take these thoughts to heart and write my sister and mom back! I created a letter-writing guide that is seriously full of prompts like these, tutorials, and printable stationery so you can keep your letter-writing going all year long. You can check it out here. :)

Hope you all have a lovely {and creative} day!


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44 thoughts on “Write Now: 18 Letter Writing Prompts

  1. I love writing letters. I’m always on the hunt for more pen pals too. Hint, hint. ;)

    I love these writing prompts and tips for getting in more time to write. I do it weekly it’s a part of my weekend routine to write letters as I watch my kids play.

    1. Oh Crystal, thanks so much for your sweet comment. I wish I could have pen pals right now but I have a few too many creative projects on my plate, haha. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you have a great week! :)

  2. Great prompts and suggestions! I love writing letters and often include some of the things you’ve suggested, but there are a couple there I’d not thought of, so thanks for the ideas.

  3. i recently posted on FB that i wanted to get back into writing people and i asked if anyone is interested in being a pen pal and we could include our children as well. This is awesome for me because I know everyone where as the others that in this group we are starting dont know one another. Thank you for sharing! I love getting letter instead always junk or bills. And my kids love it too…

    1. That’s great, Mandie! :) Have fun with the prompts and with sending out lots of lovely snail mail! :)

  4. Great post, Jennie! I love writing letters and think that it is a great way to connect with friends and family, especially the ones who are far away. Thanks for the ideas, I’ll definitely have to try some of them in my next letters!

    1. You’re welcome, Hannah. Aren’t old-fashioned letters the best? It always makes me so happy to see one in my mailbox (usually packed in with the junk mail!) Hope you have a great day!

  5. Love what you said here! Somehow you stroke a chord. I used to write lots and lots too, although they weren’t letters. I wrote short stories and novels in fancy notebooks and I remember them going around my classroom as my friends took turns to read. My friends delivered their comments in person and I still remember the pleasure of seeing the excitement in their faces. I believe there is a kind of magic happening when you put pen on paper no matter what the result is. It is a shame that my writing on paper has also come almost to a halt as I use computer keyboard more and more. These days I’m encouraging my eldest to put words on paper whenever she fancies it, and it is always a pleasure to read her ‘short stories’.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful memory, Veronika. You mentioning this brought back similar memories of my own in English class. :) There really is something about words on paper that is different from typing things up. I think this is why I still love using a paper planner more than my digital one. :) Thanks so very much for your comment and have a lovely day! :)

  6. Pingback: Make Their Day
  7. Oh my…great post! I’m always get so excited to see what you have brought to the party! Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for being part of our party. I hope to see you on Monday at 7. Lou Lou Girls

  8. Hi Jennie, I love love love snail mail. A great post. I have picked your post this week as my post of the week for The Ultimate Party on G+. I am so going to write a letter this week.
    Have a great weekend.
    Julie

  9. Letter writing is such a lost art in today’s world. What a great reminder to teach and encourage our children to write letters. Excellent prompt ideas! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again next week. :)

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

    1. Thanks, Lorelai! You’re so right–it really is a lost art. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  10. I love this post. I do try to send cards and add a little note. I like receiving cards…but love them when there is a little note in it!! I must share this on my blog! Thank you for all these great ideas!

    Blessings,
    Gert

  11. I love this! It’s been on my heart to write some letters… even if I could do one a month! You’re right… no excuses! Pinning this.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop!

    Wishing you a lovely week!
    xoxo

    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer! One letter a month sounds like a great idea–I made myself sit down during naptime this weekend and write some letters…it’s funny because I love doing it but just procrastinate. :) It was nice to send those off! Have a wonderful week! :)

  12. I loved the advice on writing a poem as a letter. I had not thought doing this before. Such a great idea for a creative letter. I also love the advice to write letters how you talk. I am taking part in this great program at incourage called the Snail Mail Party. Ladies across the US have signed up to send handwritten letters to each other. Well, I type mine usually because of my handwriting. It is such a fun program to encourage one another.

    1. What a great idea, Mary! And yes, sharing poetry, encouraging quotes, or snippets of prose is a fun way to share your heart. So many times I read something and think, “Yes!”…gotta share it with someone. Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

  13. My grandmother was all about writing “real” letters, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the correspondence. It’s so much more fun to get a letter or a card in the mail instead of junk and bills all the time. Alas, after she passed, I’ve had no one to exchange “real” mail with. I’ve thought about trying to get my stepkids into being “pen pals” with my nieces and nephews their ages, since said nieces and nephews don’t live near us. Maybe I should pursue that a little closer.

  14. I love snail mail. Sending it and receiving it. Email and social media are great and all, but there’s nothing like opening the mailbox to find some happy mail! Thanks for the fun writing prompts.

  15. I love these prompts! I love to write letters too, but I’ve found myself not doing it as often as I’d like. I’m basically down to only sending out letters around the winter holidays now. These are a great reminder to start up letter writing again.

    1. I hope these help. I love writing letters (and receiving them!) too but sometimes need a little encouragement to actually make time to do it. :) Have a great day!

  16. Really don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a piece of mail that’s not a bill or an a Just the encouragement I need to get busy. Some of my recipients aren’t getting any younger!

    1. Just finished a letter to you! :) :) I wrote this post and then realized I need to get going on writing! :)

  17. Oh! I remember those novels. ;-) Remember the time I sent the cat fur from Thomise’s brush b/c I thought you could use a pet? LOL Oh so gross! ;-) I also remember those letters while you were in college. Hilarious! I know I have those in a box b/c they are priceless. Thanks for posting this. Ironically, this has been on my mind as well and right next to my computer is a box of cards. :-) I was thinking of sending a long update email and then I read your post….Instead I’m going to do snail mail. ;-) Love you, Jen!

    1. Love you too! I need to write you back too! And yes, oh my goodness, I remember those letters. I have them all saved. They make me laugh every time I take them out. :) :)

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