A good handwritten letter is a creative act -Catherine Field
April 11, 2017 6:45 PM   Subscribe

April is National Letter Writing Month, expanded from a single week by the USPS in 2001. The Write_On campaign has a goal of a letter per day, and has a (pay what you can) kit available, as well as a list of resources to assist you in writing letters.

You can join the Letter Writers Alliance for $5. Membership gives you access to their pen pal swap, as well as a members only shop and free downloads of stationary, fauxstage, artistamps, and postcards. Their Pigeon Post Kit is available through their shop to both members and non-members.

Not sure where to begin? Jet Pens has an Introduction to Letter Writing on their blog.

Or, check out this video, where how to write a letter is discussed.

Prefer to write with others? There are various letter writing socials and events throughout the month.

Need someone to write to? Soldier Angels accepts letters written to soldiers. Love for the Elderly sends anonymous hand written cards and letters to seniors. Braid Mission accepts cards for foster youth. Stamp out Hate encourages people to send out messages of love - each month is a different theme.

April just won’t work for you? February is International Correspondance Writing Month

Don’t feel up to a month of letters? What about postcards? You can sign up for PostCrossing (previously ) and send as few as one postcard, or as many as you'd like, up to five at a time.
posted by needlegrrl (19 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
This post reminded me that I wanted to begin writing letters to those in prison, and it also gives me resources to write letters to other people too. I didn't know we had any sort of letter-writing campaign week, let alone a month. I haven't written a letter in at least four, maybe five years, and that makes me sad. Thanks for this post!
posted by one teak forest at 6:59 PM on April 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

You can mail a PIGEON? What else weighs less than 13 ounces and isn't liquid, perishable, fragile, and would be fun to mail unpackaged?
posted by aniola at 7:19 PM on April 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm sold. I am going to mail 30 letters this month.
posted by aniola at 7:20 PM on April 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Do people still do the Elmer's Glue trick? You rub glue on top of a postage stamp so it forms an invisible barrier which allows postmarks to be wiped off with a wet rag so you can re-use the same stamp over and over again. This is the sort of stuff you learn when you find your pen pals from the back pages of Flipside magazine.
posted by cazoo at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you like to write letters why not join a prison pen pal program like Black and Pink which supplies prison pen pals for LGBT prisoners? You'd be helping deisolate people who could really use it at almost no cost.
posted by The Whelk at 8:11 PM on April 11, 2017 [6 favorites]

What a coincidence ... have been *needing* to write a letter for the longest time.

I've saved many letters for decades. What with social media and digital cameras ... what will the future know about us that's truly personal?
posted by Twang at 10:12 PM on April 11, 2017

Totally disagree with National Letter Writing Month, which - as we all know - is just a viral marketing campaign for Big Stamp.

As such, I encourage everyone to write to their friends and relatives complaining about this matter, and to have all such missives delivered by quidnunc's quality quoriers, Inc. Our hourly rates are reassuringly exhorbidant, and we deliver "come drizzle or mist or overcast". We can't do snow or rain, though. Or heat - I get a prickly rash. Gloom of night is right out too. Ok then - post #1 quidnunc kid!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 11:19 PM on April 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

That Jet Pens link is insidious. I am now considering the purchase of a retractable fountain pen and an array of sealing waxes.
posted by brennen at 11:52 PM on April 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

I enjoy writing letters, and typically send off one or two a week: but for someone like me for whom time is limited, and the words come slowly, to write one a day would be daunting unless the letters were brief & perfunctory. And if ‘a good handwritten letter is a creative act’ and worthy of celebrating as such, does a perfunctory paragraph or two really qualify as a good handwritten letter? Such is my justification for maintaining a snail’s pace with my snail mail.
posted by misteraitch at 2:41 AM on April 12, 2017

needlegrrl: Lovely; a nicely rounded, comprehensive, varied, and positive post. And now I must write a letter.
posted by Wordshore at 3:08 AM on April 12, 2017 [5 favorites]

You can mail a PIGEON? What else weighs less than 13 ounces and isn't liquid, perishable, fragile, and would be fun to mail unpackaged?

I do know someone who successfully mailed a coconut.
posted by hoyland at 4:10 AM on April 12, 2017

Thanks for this, needlegrrl. I just today received an early birthday (and Easter!) present from one of my penfriends, which cheered me up. (Though cue also the "do we do birthday presents? I didn't know we did birthday presents! I haven't sent her anything!" mental spiral. And I owe her a letter ... )

Also, stationery. I like stationery. Particularly with cats on.
posted by paduasoy at 4:40 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yay! Big fan of letter writing, tho I don't do nearly enough. But this shall be my incentive to reply to my Postcrossing friend who sent me one of her #write_on letters. (Also hooray needlegrrl! Great first post!)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 4:53 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


This post is so informative and full of great resources!

I wasn't aware of Big Stamp's national campaign until I read about it in hippybear's April Showers MeTa thread and then started some spring cleaning with the goal of finding my LWA membership kit. Which I did, and I am so excited to get my first penpal (in 4-6 weeks, by which time I will have forgotten about it and it will be a fun surprise!). I am also looking forward to exploring the links in the post and comments to find people to write to.

Strong work, needlegrrl! Looking forward to more FPPs from you!
posted by danabanana at 8:24 AM on April 12, 2017

This is a fabulous post - thank you for making it.
I have a bit of a stationary addiction problem, so I will take advantage of this incentive to use up some of my stash (thus justifying replenishment).
posted by the primroses were over at 8:51 AM on April 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

You can mail a PIGEON? What else weighs less than 13 ounces and isn't liquid, perishable, fragile, and would be fun to mail unpackaged?

I once had to buy 100 white pigeons, 100 bird cages, get them all painted, get a logo and a letter screen printed, arrange for 10 tuxedoed young men to deliver them by limo to every major tech media buyer in the country for the launch of Voice & Data magazine. It was the beginning years of what is now IT India – I had never seen the internet when I created this piece in late 1994.

"This is another* form of communication our new magazine doesn't cover"

*another because we'd already sent them rate cards rolled up in the bottle. This wasn't my idea, the client wanted this - he owned the publishing empire and this magazine was his baby for the forthcoming telcom revolution that later took place.

Pics cos it did happen
posted by infini at 1:33 PM on April 12, 2017 [7 favorites]

"A good handwritten letter is a creative act"

As are all forms of historical reenactment.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:32 PM on April 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Re weird things you can mail, did you know that there are no less than four separate web sites that allow you to mail customized potatoes? I know this because a (mefite) friend of mine once sent me a potato intended for my cat, and then I had to google around and figure out if mail potatoes were A Thing.
posted by ActionPopulated at 11:27 AM on April 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

You can mail a PIGEON? What else weighs less than 13 ounces and isn't liquid, perishable, fragile, and would be fun to mail unpackaged?

Well it's perishable but you can buy chickens by mail-order. USPS regs:

Some animals are mailable under proper conditions. See the specific instructions as noted for the following kinds of animals:
Live bees, 526.2 and Exhibit 526.21.
Live, day–old poultry, 526.3 and Exhibit 526.33.
Live adult birds, 526.4.
Live scorpions (only under limited circumstances), 526.5 and Exhibit 526.5.
Other small, harmless, cold–blooded animals, 526.6 and Exhibit 526.6.

So... scorpions. Huh.
posted by GuyZero at 4:46 PM on April 18, 2017

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