The Letter

Dear Fellow Journalers,

When I was much younger, if I wanted to share good news with someone I wrote a letter. To write a letter you needed nice stationery, a pen and a postage stamp. Now the preferred method of communication is via email, tweet, face-book message, Skype, and other methods I’ve never heard of.

The age-old problems remain however- how to start your message, how to communicate exactly what you want to convey and how to end  your message. Our teachers always used to say “Remember the 5 W’s” (who. what, when, where and why) and then apply them in the first paragraph.  For instance, can you finish the following:

Dear Grandma,

Thank you so much for my new book ___. It was very nice of you to think of me. I really liked the part about _____. We had a nice time at my party.———–

See what I mean? The end of the letter is also difficult. The traditional “Love” is over-used and Sincerely, Very Truly Yours sound so antiquated.

All those letters/notes/postcards almost always were received by the person we sent them to but sometimes you heard about the letter that “got lost in the mail.” All that “work” and your recipient never got the message! All this brings me to the theme of this month’s journal topic – the Unsent Letter. This letter is written but never intends to see the light of day. Next week we’ll explore this topic in depth.



Letter writing journal

Dear Fellow Journalers,

When was the last time you received a letter (not an email) or wrote one? I dare say, it’s been awhile. When you receive a letter from someone the writer usually goes into more detail and you are drawn into their lives. Often times we are all so busy that we think a quick email does the trick. In reality, a letter is what is really needed. You can’t tell your friend all about your new baby or your grandchild in an email. You need to “gush” over all the minute details and an email just isn’t the place for that, is it? Could you journal a letter and then copy parts of it?

There are benefits to journaling with letters. The experience helps organize the event. You can see cause and effect sequences of your actions and you’ll develop your writing style. So how do you start?

  1. Complete a list of people who you want to write a letter to. Do this as a journal entry.

  2. Select a letter style or purpose for writing. There are many different styles – here are a few:

  • Milestone letter. Writing about an event that changed your life is important because you understand how the even changed your perspective.

  • Release letter. These letters allow you to vent and express your deepest emotions. Right now, you’re already thinking of examples of this style, aren’t you? For those of you who need a push, try thinking about a time when you had a conversation with someone who didn’t see your point of view. All those “I should have said” words tumble around in your head for days. Write them in a letter journal. At the point of completion, you can send the letter or save it. Be sure to read my Un-Sent Journal posts later this year.

  • Have you ever been tempted to buy something rather expensive that you really didn’t need? Writing a release letter to yourself in your journal is a way to express why you want that “perfect something” and why you want it. You might just discover that you really don’t want it!

  1. Letter of gratitude. Being thankful for big and little things and writing it down enables you to see how the gift or experience helped you become a more grateful and compassionate person.

‘Til next time,




Prompts for your Memory Jar- writing a letter

Dear Fellow Journalers,

How long has it been since you wrote a letter? I don’t mean an email either. I got to thinking about that topic earlier this month. I remember a time before the internet (yes, I am ancient!) when I actually used nice stationery and a pen to write letters. Nowadays, the most writing with a pen that I do is writing sentiments inside greeting cards!

Write a Letter to:

  • Write a letter to someone you need to forgive.
  • Write a letter to someone who believed in you even when you didn’t believe in yourself.
  • Write a letter to be read by each of your loved ones after you’ve passed away.
  • Write a fan letter to your favorite actor/actress.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your favorite magazine telling them what features you would like to see included in the magazine.
  • Is there something you’re reluctant to tell someone?  Write a letter to help y0u organize your thoughts.
  • finally, write a letter to yourself. Tell yourself what you are going through emotionally at this time, what you want to do and what you have accomplished. If you want to write down a secret wish for the future.

‘Til next time,


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