Every year, we try to encourage you to enjoy Valentine’s Day without gifts of “stuff.” In fact, we’re incredibly proud of our list of Eco-Friendly and Consumer-Conscious Valentine’s Day Ideas. Item number twenty on that list is something that we call “Write It Down!” While we cast a large net with that suggestion, encouraging you to write in any format you want to express your feelings for your Valentine, we think the idea of a good old fashioned love letter is one of the most amazing “non-stuff” gifts that you can give this holiday. Yes, you’ll need to be vulnerable about how you feel. But by doing so you’ll give somebody a gift that will truly move them, not just add another collectible to the jewelry box.
Step One: Pick Your Medium
We’re going to just come out and say it: Please do not make your love letter an email and for the love of all things romantic do not make it a text message! We know that it is the electronic era, but there is value to the permanency of a paper letter. In other words, “write” means “write.” This is going to benefit both you and your letter recipient. Study after study out there shows that thoughts are more coherent and more closely tied to the actual vocabulary of the brain when you take the time to use the process of actual pen to paper. But it also means that the love letter, the gift, will feel more personal to the recipient. He or she will know that you took the time to truly sit down and write – and feel – this special gift of words from the heart. Pick some paper that you love – or just use an old notebook page! The paper means less than the words on it, but more than the glint of a screen with digital letters.
Step Two: Since You’re Not Online, Don’t Write Like You’re Online
This is a quick tip. We know that written language is changing to reflect online language. Emojis, abbreviations and even shortened spellings are the name of the game online. But you’re not writing an online message. You’re showing your partner how much you care for them by creating a written document of your love. Use full words, no-emojis and correct spelling and grammar. We’re not saying that your letter needs to be school-term-paper perfect. Nobody expects you to diagram sentences and live with a dictionary at hand. The end-goal is not perfection, it’s emotion. But words matter – and they matter much more than abbreviations and emoji.
Step Three: Find Your Inspiration
Not everybody is a natural writer, we get that! Writing this letter may be far outside of your comfort zone. You may not even know where to get started. So here are some tips for getting inspired.
- Are you a logical thinker? Start by making a list. Yes. A list. Make a list of what you love about your partner. About what you want to say to him or her. About what makes him or her special. Once you have the list and start working from the list, you’ll find that the words come much easier to you.
- Get inspired with quotes … by other people. Again, we are not all wordsmiths. But there are some amazing wordsmiths out there. Get your google on and find quotes about love, Valentine’s Day, loving people, marriage and relationships. You don’t lose any points if you include a quote in your love letter (just don’t take credit for coming up with it)! The point is to find the words that express how you feel about your partner. It’s not to make yourself miserable trying to decide and craft those words.
- Find your writing space. The physical space that you surround yourself with can make or break your writing effort. Write somewhere where you feel comfortable and can collect your thoughts. Space matters.
Step Four: Embrace the Imperfect
For many, the most challenging part of this gift will be trying to make it “perfect.” You do not need to be perfect, just as we said above! The point is not perfection! We know that, and your recipient knows that, but the struggle will be getting you to know that. Forget about thinking about the writing. Just write. Just let the words that are in your brain (and heart) make their way to paper. Don’t overdraft! We won’t tell you that creating a second draft is a bad idea, because most things in life can use some refinement and some editing. But don’t overthink it. Don’t make draft after draft after draft. We promise you that your first draft was your best draft! The more you draft and re-draft, the more you’re playing into your own insecurities. Be bold! Believe in yourself! We promise you that your words are enough, even if the pen stroke is wavering.
Step Five: Signed, Sealed, Delivered!
Your masterpiece is done – and we promise you that it is a masterpiece! So now it’s just about delivery. How you deliver it is entirely up to you. You can drop it in a mailbox, or you can create an experience by delivering your letter by hand, perhaps with a romantic picnic or a kiss.
Do you have other ideas on how to write a love letter? Share them on the social media channels below …
Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg via Flickr