How To Write Personal Letters

Experiencing writer's block over that letter? Tips to get you started so you can tackle that personal letter or correspondence.

You've got so much to say but you just can't seem to get started. Is the floor beside your desk beginning to look like one of those movie scenes where a pile of crumpled papers litters the floor of the anguished would-be letter writer?

First you need to identify the type of letter you're hoping to write. Are you answering a letter? Is this a congratulations letter? A letter of encouragement? A romantic love letter?

Answering a letter

Perhaps you don't have much experience writing letters but you feel the urge to answer someone else's literary communications with you. Maybe your sweet grandmother has written you a letter during your first year away to college. You write essays for class everyday, but someone how you can't seem to find the words to answer her questions about your health, you eating habits, and your love life. But answering someone else's letter is the easiest type of letter to tackle. All your clues and leads are right there in the letter you received. Follow their tone and example. And there are sure to be questions that you can easily answer.



Start off with a friendly and casual salutation. You can use the customary "Dear" along with your recipient's first name if appropriate. Or you can just simply use the person's name followed by a comma. You should strive to make your writing neat and legible and be sure to date the letter at the top of the page. You never know how long someone may treasure your letter, maybe it will even be the memorabilia uncovered generations later by someone searching out their family history.

The first sentence of the letter should be similar to what you would say in greeting if you were meeting the person face to face. Examples include: How are you? I loved your letter. Hope the weather is treating you well. Next you'll want to mention something that is occurring in your recipient's life such s school, health, friends, family. Let them know you care about them and how things are going in their world.

Now you can get to work answering the questions asked about your life. If their are no questions, try reconstructing a day in your life for your reader. It's fine to mention problems, but try to balance it with good news and optimism. You want people to look forward to your letters not dread them.

Your letter doesn't have to go on for pages and pages. One handwritten page is fine. Be sure to ask your recipient some questions about their life to facilitate a response and close with wishes. Now you're ready for a stamp and the postman will finish the job.

Letters of congratulations or encouragement

If your letter has a specific purpose you once again have all the guidelines you need. Open the letter by mentioning the accomplishment or the problem. Write a few sentences about the hard work or deserving of the accomplishment you'll be well on your way. If you're dealing with an illness, death, or other circumstance calling for condolences spend a little time letting the person know that you are thinking of them and that they have support in their upcoming struggle. Finish off with a few light-hearted observances from your own life and you're ready to say goodbye.

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