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The Art of Letter Writing: Tips for Crafting Memorable Correspondence

by Anindita Dey

In the era of WhatsApp and emails writing a letter has become an obsolete art. People do not have time to wait for an update or a reply now. But it does not have the personal touch or emotion a letter used to have. Those times are gone when people used to wait a month for a reply.

There was a time when people used to have pen-friends. Now people have phone friends. But somewhere deep down, we all believe that the emotional value a letter holds will never have any match. Nothing can beat the emotion a letter from a soldier to their family holds or a letter from one lover to another who are in a long-distance relationship.

Different kinds of letters need different ways of addressing. They can be broadly divided into two main categories, which are formal letters and informal letters. If you are planning to write the perfect letter for a person, read the tips below.

1. Begin with vulnerability and interest

Begin with vulnerability and interest

While writing a letter for a  close one, it should have a personal touch. Open up to the other person and be curious to know about them as well. Just delivering the facts is not all. Be emotional while writing the letter, and be considerate of the person on the receiving end.

Let them know the facts as well as your feelings. Ask them what they feel about it and what they have to say about it. Don’t just talk about yourself but ask them about what now is happening in their life or if they have anything to share. Be casual and be yourself. Nothing can be more personal than a letter.

2. Be specific but have a general approach

Be specific but have a general approach

This is a very common tool in letter writing. While writing a letter and talking about the topic you want to talk about, keep a general approach. Let’s say you had a bitter experience in your workplace and want to discuss it with a friend.

Ask them if they have faced anything like that in their workplace as well. And if they have what they have done to deal with it. Ask what people generally do in these situations. Keep the conversation going.

3. Know your target audience

Know your target audience

If you are writing a letter of recommendation or writing a resignation letter tone of writing will be completely different than the tone in which you write to your best friend.

You can crack a joke if you know your friend will enjoy it. Writing to your boss will require a more formal tone. So keep in mind who you are targeting as the receiver of the letter and manage your writing tone accordingly.

4. Tell your story well, irrespective of the medium

Tell your story well, irrespective of the medium

It is always easy to write to a close one. You can be yourself and be assured of not being judged. But if you are writing to someone new or a formal letter, express yourself well. Let them know what you want to say and why you are saying so.

You might think about being judged and second-guess yourself, but it is always good o open up about the content. Don’t hold back just for making a good impression. Be honest in your letter.

Even in a professional letter, be who you are and let them get to know you and what you have to say. But make sure the language you use is proper and give the proper references keeping in mind the receiver and the setting of the letter.

5. Let’s take a look at the letter-writing format

Let's take a look at the letter-writing format

Writing a personal letter and a formal letter has got quite a similar format. The important

points that you have to keep in mind are:

Date: Putting the date is very important when you are writing a letter. Write the full date and not just the date and month. It is important to know the year as well. It will have an emotional value as well as it will be good for keeping records.

Greeting: How you greet a person in a letter depends on who you are writing it to. If you don’t know the person very well, you can use ‘hello.’ If you are writing to a friend, you can use ‘hi’ and ‘dear’ when you are addressing someone formally. And in cases where you do not know who you are addressing exactly, use ‘to whom it may concern.’

Body: This is the part where the matter of the letter is written. This will give them a detailed idea of the context of the letter. This part should be well written, and all the points should be covered.

Signature: This is also similar to the greeting. It is different for different recipients. It depends on the relationship you have with the receiver of the letter. If they are close, like a close friend or a family member, you can write ‘with love,’ ‘thanks and regards’ in a formal letter, and ‘best wishes’ are used to congratulate or bid goodbyes.

This is the basic format for writing all kinds of letters.  

Wrapping up  

Letters are memorable. They remind us of the time that has gone by. Now we keep everything on phones and laptops and communicate through messages and emails. We try to keep them with us when we feel it is something important but often lose them because electronic devices can malfunction at any time. This is where letters won. They will be with us forever. The personal touch it has, the handwriting, the seals, and everything along with it can keep us close to the person who sent us those. The excitement of waiting for the postmaster to deliver the letter can never match the way we wait for a message or an email.

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