Handwriting experts have noticed a decline in penmanship, and the handwritten word for that matter. Many attribute this decline to the increased use of digital devices, such as mobile phones, computers and PDAs. A society that is short on time simply can't set aside moments to write letters or cards, right?
In the past, penmanship was the mark of intelligence and indicative of social class. Today, many children barely get beyond the printing stage of lessons, never mind mastering cursive writing. However, penmanship is important and writing letters can be the perfect way to reestablish this lost art.
Letters are more personal than an e-mail or Tweet can ever be. A handwritten note says that you care about the person to whom the letter is addressed and about what you are saying because you spent a little more time composing your thoughts with pen and paper.
Ready to write the perfect letter? Follow these tips for success.
* Decide on your recipient and what you want to say to this person. Is it pressing news or do you simply desire to catch up?
* Choose your stationery. The tone of the letter will be indicated by the stationery you choose. A casual note could be on a fun printed paper. A more serious conversation could be on linen paper.
* You don't write letters everyday, so think of it as an event rather than a chore. This way you'll enjoy the process that much more.
* Practice your penmanship beforehand. Chances are reliance on a computer or other electronics has resulted in penmanship skills faltering. After all, aside from signing checks or digital signature readers at retail stores, when do you actually have to put pen to paper anymore these days? Grab a piece of lined paper and practice writing a few sentences. Similar to riding a bicycle, with practice penmanship will come back to you.
* Think of the letter as a conversation. Start with an icebreaker or an aside comment that will eventually pave the way for the "meat" of your letter. Don't over-plan the letter, otherwise it may seem forced. (Remember, writing is an art form and should be treated as such.)
* Personalize the letter by involving the recipient in the letter-writing process. Don't make it all about yourself. Ask questions, recall moments you spent together and touch upon topics you know this person will enjoy.
* Finish the letter with something special. Perhaps it is a quote you love or a sentiment from your heart.
* Think about writing letters as an addition to or in replacement of purchased greeting cards. This way you can customize the sentiments for special occasions and make the gift of your words ever more meaningful.