Thursday, July 09, 2015

How to write a good intro letter?

Are you one of those people who have difficulty thinking up things to write in an intro letter to a new pen pal? If your answer is a big YES then I am glad you're currently reading this blogpost! I have come up with a bunch of ideas you could include in your first letter to a person who's just become your new pen friend. I am going to wrap all of those ideas together and I am hoping they will help someone out there who really wants to create a beautiful and meaningful letter. Let's get started!


✓ RULE ONE: Introduce yourself. This is an important step that should be done in the first or second paragraph of your intro letter. Don't forget to mention when exactly you and your new pen friend agreed to exchange letters. I have got a lot of intro letters in the past in which people did not introduce themselves and that resulted in me having no idea who the sender of the letter actually was. I ended up not responding to those letters because it was impossible for me to figure out who those people were.

✓ RULE TWO: Avoid giving vague information. Examples of unclear sentences would be: "I like to draw." or "I'm a real bookworm.". Try not to mention your hobbies vaguely. Instead, write more about them and describe your ideas comprehensively. Instead writing "I like to draw," you can say "Drawing is one of my biggest hobbies. I generally draw in pencil, and most of my drawings are portraits of people. I have drawn a lot of portraits of my family members and famous people such as... (give loads of examples). If you are interested in seeing some of my art, you can find it on..." Such sentences sound more reliable and they can make your new pen pal have a better idea of what you are talking about.

✓ RULE THREE: Ask them questions. Your new pen friend will most likely get bored if you only write about yourself. After reading your letter, they will feel confused and they'll struggle to write a response. Make sure you ask them a lot of questions - that will show them that you have great interest in getting to know them better, and that's always a good beginning to establishing a lovely, long-lasting friendship. Unsure about what you should ask your pen pal? In this case you should subscribe to my blog by writing your e-mail address in the bar on the left side of my website where it says Notify Me About New Posts. I am planning on writing a blogpost titled "100 Things to Ask Your Pen Pal" in the near future!

✓ RULE FOUR: Write your return address clearly. You can write your return address on either the envelope or you may write it on a separate sheet and attach it to your letter. It's your choice. Make sure you write your address clearly so that your pen pal has no trouble reading it and using it to send you a response later on. If your handwriting is messy, you can always write the address on a computer and print it out.

✓ RULE FIVE: Use lovely stationery and make your letter look pretty. Your new pen friend will appreciate the effort, trust me! To get inspired, you can browse the Internet under the phrase "Mail art". Have a look at hashtags on Instagram (example: #mailart), look up various snail mail related boards on Pinterest or receive inspiration from various snail mail blogs (there are plenty of them on the Internet). Don't be afraid to experiment and create new designs! You don't have to be great at drawing to produce beautiful mail art, trust me. Just rely on simplicity.

Apart from this you can:
  • Tell your pen pal about other people who have a special place in your heart. 
  • Throw in a few sentences about your pets and what they mean to you.
  • Write about your daily routine - explain what you usually do and what your whole day looks like.
  • Tell them about your dreams that you would like to fulfil in the future.
  • Explain what snail mail means to you and how your adventure with it began.
  • Mention your favourite bands, books, movies, etc. Who knows, maybe it'll appear that your pen pal likes the same things! Also, tell them what those things mean to you and why they are your favourites.
  • Tell them a little bit about the place you live in. Attach a postcard of your town or city if possible. If you don't have a postcard, you can always throw a few pictures in. People love it when you send them photos that were taken by you.
  • Remember: snail mail is a time-consuming and pricy hobby. Although, it is extremely rewarding! There is nothing better than receiving a letter from a person who lives across the globe.
Recently I have written quite a few intro letters myself since the idea for this blogpost. I hope my ideas and suggestions on how to write a letter to a stranger turned out to be helpful for you in one way or another. Make sure to let me know if you have ever found it difficult and awkward to write your first introductory letter to someone. What are your experiences? Also, feel free to share your golden tips on making an intro letter special and interesting to its receiver. What do you usually write in the first letter? Do you bother to create mail art? I can't wait to getting your feedback!

Cheers,
Caroline

9 comments:

  1. Wish you'd published this earlier ;) I'm now off to chase the postman to get your letter back xx

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    1. I'm sure your letter is wonderful, dear! I can't wait to receive it x

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  2. Lovely post! It might help some people :o)

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  3. Dear Caroline! :) It was great to read such an inspiring blogpost... I like this kind of them because they somehow always make me feel inspired and ready to i the driver's seat. Our point of view on an intro letter are varied, though. For example, it's ot important for me if someone is asking me lots of question in case not to write only about herself. Questions are nice, that's true, and they make replying a little bit easier for people but I love it when I get a letter and it's full of information, facts, thoughts, dreams, opinions about that person. I love it when she opens up with the first letter so I can see the beautiful picture of her soul and heart through the letter. I love it when she is swimming through different topics, adventures, memories, thoughts so I can get to know her a bit better. Not just the place she lives in or the dog she has. :) Besides I don't think that our hobby is pricey. The only think you need to pay for is a stamp. The rest you can create yourself. Decorate your letters with some pictures cut from a magazine, drawings, handmade stamp and so on... You can write on a plain paper and make it look wonderful, even better than on storebought stationery. Actually I love it when my penfriends decorate their letters written on a plain paper, or when they create ther own stationery. It tells a lot about that person :)
    Anyway, as I wrote at the beginning - it was a pleasure to read this blog post and I feel like writing an intro letter right now. A lot of people find them hard to write, but... when you really want to create a beautiful and deep penfriendship with someoe, you will want her to get to know you very well and words will fly out of your head on their own. When it's really important for you to build a friendship it wont be hard for you anymore. :)

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    1. Dear Edii, thank you for dropping me a comment and sharing your opinions with me! I really appreciate it. Everything you wrote is true and I also have to add that there are as many different views and preferences as there are people in this world. As for me, some of the intro letters I got in the past were a bit dull and short. I appreciate someone who takes time to write me a letter but sometimes it feels like some people do it hastily. I personally dislike letters who only include dry facts such as "Oh, I have a dog" or "I like Harry Potter"... It's hard to establish a deep connection with such people and responding to such letters isn't as enjoyable. Do you know what I mean?
      I have to disagree with you if it comes to the expenses in terms of sending snail mail. Stamps are tiny bit cheaper in Ireland than they are in Poland but I still think they are quite expensive. A fiver for a priority international stamp is just insane. In Ireland such a stamp costs €1 which is slightly better. That's not the case, though. I often like to send heavier envelopes that include some gifts and such, and posting such mail gets more expensive here. I agree with you if it comes to making your own stationery, though! I sometimes buy regular stationery in bookshops, although I don't do it very often 'cause in Ireland lovely stationery costs €7 and it includes ten sheets and ten envelopes. I usually create my own stationery using photoshop and then I print the design onto a sheet. I think such stationery is lovely and original :)

      Edii, thanks again for dropping your comment! The fact that you enjoy reading my blogposts makes me truly happy and motivated to write loads more in the future.

      Take care xx

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  4. What a nice blogpost! I saw it on the facebookgroup 'great mail you send and receive'. Nice tips and I can't wait to write an intro :D Now I have to find a new penpal beside my other penpals.

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    1. Thank you for leaving a comment, Sofie! I hope you'll find someone to write an intro letter to :)

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  5. Really nice blog ! I think this post will help some people :)
    By the way I invite you to take part in competition on my blog.
    http://openwindowontheworld.blogspot.com/p/first-post-in-july.html

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