The art of letter writing isn’t dead. Before emails, chatting apps, video calls, and the digital revolution, letters were the main method of communication. It’s no wonder though that nowadays if you want to send a letter, you may be a bit befuddled; we don’t send many letters anymore! In this article, I’ll help you find out a few things about letters, why they still matter, and how to send a letter.
Reasons You May Need to Send a Letter
There are occasions where you may find yourself in the need of writing a letter. Some of which are practical, some emotional, and some nostalgic!
Some Places Don’t Have Internet Access
Contrary to popular belief, there are some places in the world where you won’t have internet access.
Also, some countries, like China, censor a lot of social networks, making it harder to communicate with your loved ones. In those situations, it’s more dependable to send a letter.
If you’re trying to get that job or applying to your dream college, you’ll probably need to send in a letter of recommendation.
And yes, it has to be an actual physical letter.
It’s More Personal
Sending a letter makes the sender and receiver feel closer. Especially if it’s a hand-written one.
The type of paper you choose to write on, the pen you’ll use, its color, etc., makes it a whole lot more personal.
You’ll Stand Out
Think about it. How many emails do you get daily on average? What about letters? You’re more likely to check a letter than an email as you probably don’t get much of them.
The same goes if you’re sending a letter, your recipient will likely give it more attention than a digital form of communication.
How to Write a Letter
Depending on who you’re writing the letter to, there are a number of ways you can do it. Let’s explore 2 of the most common letter writing styles.
These are usually written to governmental institutes or any other professional capacity. Basically, this style is used if you’re writing to someone you don’t know personally.
In formal letters, you need to be concise, clearly stating the purpose of the letter.
Informal letters are basically those that you send to people you know personally and are familiar with.
However, being informal doesn’t mean they don’t need a structure. It’s still recommended that you include some details in those letters.
For instance, include who the letter is addressed to and who it’s from. Then, talk about the purpose of the letter.
How to Send a Letter
Unlike emails, sending a letter may not be as easy as pushing a “send” button. However, you can follow these 5 simple steps and have your letter on its way in no time.
Step 1: Envelope It
This is basically where you’ll write the mailing address and whatnot.
If you’re mailing a letter then an envelope is needed. However, if you’re sending a postcard, then you don’t necessarily need one. You already have an allotted space where you can add the needed details.
In case you’ll need an envelope, you’ll be picking from seemingly endless options. There are booklet envelopes, catalog envelopes, clasp envelopes, to name a few!
Whichever type you choose though, I recommend taking some of these aspects into consideration when picking your envelope.
Take into consideration the contents of the letter. If you’ll mail more than just a letter, then I recommend a heavier type of envelope to safely accommodate the contents.
Go with a standard-sized envelope whenever you can. It’s easier to process and sometimes even cheaper.
Do note though, it’s a good idea to use a bigger sized envelope if you’ll be including other items along with the letter.
If you’re sending a letter to your employer, school, or any other institution where you want to convey the feel of professionalism, then it’s a good idea to use an envelope that will give this impression. Usually, a sturdy envelope made of quality paper is your go-to.
On the other hand, if you’re sending a gift, for example, you can pick a more festive envelope.
If your letter will be traveling a long way across the globe, it’d be a good idea to use a quality sturdy envelope. This is to avoid any damage to your letter due to mishandling.
Step 2: Seal It
Most envelopes have a self-adhesive edge to easily seal the envelope.
However, there are still a few that are “lick and stick” style. In that case, you can use a wet sponge to close it if you’re not comfortable with licking.
Surely, if your envelope isn’t equipped with an adhesive edge, you can use an ordinary adhesive tape to make sure it stays closed.
Moreover, if you want to go a bit fancy, you also always use a wax seal.
Step 3: Address It
You need to make sure you include both the recipient’s and sender’s address.
The reason for the former is obvious. You should make sure to include the recipient’s full name, street name, apartment or house number, PO box number, city, and country.
As for the sender’s address, it’d be needed in case the letter couldn’t be delivered. If that happens, it would be returned back to you, the sender.
Step 4: Stamp It
You need to calculate the postage and apply the stamps on the top right corner of the envelope.
The stamp amount depends on the size, destination, and weight of the letter. Generally, you should need one first-class stamp if you’re mailing a standard letter in the US.
However, always check the correct postage amount, especially if you’re mailing it from home or via a mail collection box to avoid any delays.
You can also be a bit creative with the stamps. Other than the standard stamps, you can also get your hands on some themed ones.
Step 5: Mail It
Here we are, the final step, actually mailing your letter. There are 3 ways of doing that:
- You can have the courier or postman pick it up by placing it in your home mailbox
- You can drop it off at your nearest mail collection box or post office
And voilà! You’re done!
Technology has made our lives easier. You can instantaneously get and send emails. However, the need to write and send letters is still alive and well.
Apart from the institutes that still require physical letters, there is also the emotional side of letter writing.
And once you realize how simple it is to actually mail a letter, you might prefer them over emails. On your next trip, consider sending a postcard to your loved ones!