Friday, August 12, 2005

Letter Writing as a Prompt

Often when we reach a block in our writing or stalemate in getting our work accepted, we question our ability to write and to get published. I’ve found that letter writing often gives me a bridge across this time of discouragement.

I also discovered serendipities. My letter writing brought pleasure to those receiving my notes. Also, this led me to write articles about different aspects of letter writing for a pen pal magazine. The topics I shared in my letters often could be expanded into essays and stories.

When you’re discouraged, and even when you aren’t, write letters or e-mails. I come from a family of letter writers so it was always natural for me to write when I was away from home or to those who moved from me.

My grandmother set aside Sunday and Wednesday evenings for her letter writing. I still have some of those letters she wrote to my mom with notes for my sister and me. When I visited her, I wrote letters home to my family, letting them know what we were doing. I recall Nanny writing letters to my uncle (her son) when he was on active duty in the Pacific during World War II.

My mom was a letter writer, too. Those bits of news from home, including her humorous accounts of life on the farm, helped me overcome homesickness when my husband and I lived on an Air Force base many miles from home.

So the act of writing letters seemed natural to me as I sent notes relatives, to elderly acquaintances in nursing homes and to friends from school. I recall, after one elderly friend passed away, his sister writing me and letting me know how much my letters meant during this period of his life. He enjoyed hearing about my husband’s and my life in another part of the country.

Take a look at what letter writing might do for you and for those you write to.
(c) 2005

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