Hello, and thanks for reading! It’s February, the month of candy hearts, roses, love and chocolate covered things. You’re single, and I’m calling you out on it, right here in front of everyone (I just lost a few of you). What kind of crafty monster am I?! I know, but please stay with me. We’re going to talk about love letters, and how to write them (I just lost a couple more). If you’re still reading, thank you.
I get it. Valentine’s Day is lame. That cupid baby isn’t even cute. You’re probably planning on spending the holiday watching movies on Netflix (not what I’m doing), buying yourself a box of chocolates (okay maybe what I’m doing) and finishing the bottle of wine alone (fine—exactly what I’m doing). So, why would I even expect you to read about how to write the perfect love letter? Because, my friends, we’re two months into an Iowa winter, and everyone could use one. That dude who shoveled your driveway for free? He’d like a love letter. The barista who memorized your Wednesday drink, not to be confused with your Friday drink? Someone get that girl a love letter. Your mom, your best friend, your friendly neighborhood crafty columnist—we all enjoy some words of affection once in awhile. Plus, it’s great practice for the day when we can put up with someone enough to be in a relationship.
I’m in this with you. It’ll be fun, I promise. So, grab a pen and a bag of Hershey kisses—let’s do this thing!
P.S. All of you lovebirds out there: Thank you for sticking around. I really am excited, and not the least bit jealous, about your Valentine’s Day dinner plans. Your boo is going to love this letter.
The love letter writing process can be romantic and fun…or downright daunting. I’ve teamed up with Niki Neems, owner of local paperie RSVP (140 N. Linn St.), to get some expert tips on crafting your perfect letter. Her advice for getting started? “Forget perfection or illegibility. Be brave and pick up a pen,” says Neems. “I know no one who would be disappointed to find a hand addressed envelope nestled among a pile of bills and magazines. In fact, I’ve known people to carry an unopened letter for weeks to prolong the joy.”
LOOKS AREN’T EVERYTHING
But hey, they don’t hurt. A well-crafted love message should be on equally beautiful materials, so put away that pencil and lined notebook paper. Neems suggests choosing materials that fit both your personal style and that of your recipient. “Letter writing is as much a feeling as a physical act,” she says. “I typically begin with the recipient in mind; however, most of my letters are built of similar things. They are layered—I tuck in bits and pieces I’ve collected over time. Ticket stubs, photos, magazine clippings, poems. Many times I write in places on the card or paper that aren’t intended to be used for messages.”
Nothing says #iloveyou like Times New Roman, right? (Wrong.) In a world of texts and tweets, a handwritten message is extra special. “A handwritten letter is the construction of a moment, shared and kept,” says Neems. “The very nature of handwriting implies a more personal connection, a whisper that there is more to the message than what the words convey. An interaction with any handwritten image provides the opportunity to travel from the public world to one more personal.”
Megan Ranegar will be checking her mailbox fives times a day, just in case.