10 ideas for letters to write

Few surprises are as heartwarming as a handwritten envelope amongst your post. Hidden between junk mail, catalogues, bills, there it sits: slow, considered, sentimental. We often know exactly who it's from before prising the envelope open, recognising the curve of the 'a', the way the 'y' loops; invoking a memory from a childhood birthday card perhaps or a funny note left by an old housemate. They're a bit of a relic really to most. A treasure in today's quickfire-text talk. Carrying sentiments across distances, in no great hurry, just for you. To read at your leisure, and hold on to forever.

We think it's time we wrote more – what about you? Take one of these letter ideas as your cue for a trip to the postbox this weekend.

Photo: Lara Watson

Photo: Lara Watson

1. To the confidence boosters
Teachers, friends or colleagues, there are those special souls who know exactly what to say at the right time. They may not even know how important that conversation was to you. Tell them in a letter.

2. To distant relatives
If your family's separated over the country or over continents, drop a line. For kin feeling cut-off, even lonely, a letter is a wonderful gift. 

3. To your childhood penpal
You never know – their family may still be at the same address. Strike up the conversation again. Do you still like the same boyband? What's your favourite film? Have a little search for them online if they've likely moved on. Facebook stalking come good.

4. To the person who hurt you
If enough time has past and a bit of perspective would help you both, pen a gentle, kind note. Post, and move on. 

5. To your bestie
So you text every other day, no matter – there's always more to say to your soulmate. Fill the envelope with bits and pieces that remind you of them for a confetti-like smattering of extra love.

6. To your crush
Go on, say it. Love favours the brave. Avoid tongue-twisted real-time confessions and unveil your feelings exactly as you want to via the written word. Then savour the next meeting knowing you've said your piece.
If you've coupled up with your crush, leave them a note telling them they still make your insides go funny, somewhere they'll find it by accident – a sports bag, rucksack, lunch box...

7. To the youth
Littles love grown-up things. Address fancy correspondence to nieces, nephews, friend's kids. Give the next generation the letter-loving bug too.

8. To your hero
Fan mail can make it. Go through their book publishers or management agency, keep it cool and enjoy the rather wonderful wait, checking your mailbox for a response worthy of inclusion in a future edition of Letters of Note. Heroes don't have to be famous of course. If you've got a favourite blogger or inspiring person in your community, tell them so on paper.

9. To your local MP
Angry or proud, write with passion for what you believe in or have been affected by – bad and good – and encourage others to, too.

10. To a stranger
Write a general note of encouragement. Leave it on a bus seat, inside a library book or on a park bench. Feel good for the rest of the week.

You can always write to Oh Comely too, naturally. We feature our pick of the postbag each issue. You can reach us at: Oh Comely, 40 Bowling Green Lane, London, EC1R 0NE. Get more letter-writing ideas in issue 32, dedicated to type, mail and the creation of mighty words.