Over the years, we’ve given advice on styling Valentine’s Day, proposing on Valentine’s Day and creating the perfect Valentine’s Day date. This year, as we were brainstorming a piece of content to embrace for one of our favorite holidays, we began to talk about the process of writing and how it’s changed over time. During that conversation, almost every woman in our office admitted that they longed for the days when they would be courted with long and romantic letters. We all bemoaned that writing a love letter is a lost art. But the fact that it’s a lost (and yearned for) art means that you have a perfect opportunity to truly make a special mark on Valentine’s Day this year. Create a love letter. No, we’re not expecting you to court somebody for years using only pen and ink, but a truly emotive love letter can be the best gift that you give this Valentine’s Day. We’ve talked to the writers, professional and casual alike, in our lives, and we have these tips to help make you the Shakespeare of your city!
First Things First: Write Means Actually Write
We know, you’re reading this online. You probably do all of your writing-related tasks online. When was the last time you got out a paper and pen? You may not even remember! But the point of writing a love letter is to create a memento for your loved one. Ask yourself, does a typewritten sheet carry the same emotional value as a hand-written one? In case you’ve been entirely turned by the digital age, you should know that there is also a difference in how you communicate when you hand write. The thinking process when hand-writing something is more connected neurologically and therefore you tend to express yourself better. Get some paper and a pen (or pencil) and begin to write.
Are you the person right now who’s saying, “But my hand writing is illegible?” We have a middle ground that accomplishes both the goal of a sentimental hand-written letter and full readability. Hand write your letter, then type out a transcript just in case it’s not readable!
Since You’re Not Online, Don’t Write Like You’re Online
We’re all guilty of using “digital speak” not only in our writing but also in our verbal communications these days. From “hashtagging” to emojis to text-speak acronyms, digital verbiage has permeated every part of our communications. These communications tools are actually great for the speed at which our world operates in 2016. But they’re actually not very effective ways to communicate the nuances and subtlety of emotions. And, let’s face it, they’re lazy. Use real worlds, full sentences and no “digital speak” in your love letter. The one exception to this rule would be if the two of you have an acronym or hashtag that you commonly use together. Then you can use it once, as a cute touch. But write as though you were speaking, not as though you were sending a WhatsAp message!
Get Inspired Using These Three Tips
So you’ve got your paper and pen, and you’ve read the parameters of writing the letter, but now what do you do? For some, writing how they feel is easy. But for many of us the challenge between what’s in our head and finding the written word to express it goes far beyond “writer’s block.” Here are three tips to get you inspired about what you want to say.
Make a List: Start by making a list of everything that you love about your partner. Really, these are the things that you want to write or say to him or her anyway. If it seems daunting to put it into sentence and paragraph form to begin with, start by just making a list. After that, you’ll see things begin to get much easier.
Find Some Quotes or Read Some Classics: What do you think of when you think of great love sayings? Do you think of Ray Lamontagne lyrics? Do you think of classical poetry? Do you think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and some classic Joss Whedon love dialog? All of these are valid references, and reading or listening to some of them will help get you inspired for your own masterpiece.
Find Your Perfect Space: Inspiration is hard to come by in a loud and busy office space or a restaurant full of loud children. Whether your perfect space is the local coffee shop or your comfy living room, that’s where you need to be in order to get inspired. As a bonus tip, a moderate level of background noise actually enhances creativity more than loud noise or silence. We like this tool for creating that.
Say How You Feel. Don’t Overdraft. Embrace Imperfections
Now just write! Let it all come out. Don’t over think it. Don’t worry about whether you’ve written too much or not enough. You can do more than one draft if you want, but don’t overdraft. Nine out of ten times your first draft was actually your best one. Embrace any imperfections like grammar or spelling errors. Part of what makes the love letter memorable is that it’s not fresh-off-a-printer perfect. Don’t overthink the process. Just write a letter that says how you feel.
Be Bold and Deliver Your Letter
Now is the moment when fear may take over. Were you too vulnerable? Will your partner think that this is corny? What if it’s just silly? Trust us, and trust in your partner. These are words that he or she is dying to hear whether they admit it daily or not. We promise you, they will love your gift and years from now they will still have it packed away in their memory box. It will bring a smile to their face when they get it out and revisit it. You will have given them a gift far better than anything else.
Though, of course, a little box of jewelry along with your letter is never a bad thing!
Photo Credit: underthesun via Flickr