How to write a love letter

In the olden days (way back before Al Gore invented the Internet) people used to write letters to one another instead of email. Letters generally got more care and attention on both ends because of the inherent challenge in getting them from one person to the other. Today, an email can cross an ocean in milliseconds and we give our email correspondence little more care and attention than that — either when we write them or when we receive them.

A love letter, however, has a special purpose that remains as relevant today as it ever was — regardless of how it may be delivered. Here are some tips to help you write a love letter that your loved one will cherish.

Take your time. A thoughtful love letter can’t be cranked out in five minutes like an email to a friend suggesting times for getting together this weekend.

Use your best grammar. While it is the thought that counts, you don’t want your love letter to lose its impact because you misspelled your sweetheart’s name or can’t punctuate a sentence properly. That said, don’t worry so much about this that you don’t write the letter! Just do your best.

Handwrite the letter. Use your best hand writing. Don’t be afraid to start over — several times — to make the letter look good. Chances are that you haven’t had a lot of practice handwriting lately. Be patient. Note: if you are forced to email the letter, send a photo or scan of the handwritten letter.

Take time to write a great short letter. Mark Twain is famous for quipping, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” For a love letter, think through your message and edit it so that there are no wasted words or paragraphs. A love letter longer than a page is probably not a love letter.

Be specific. You will find that your letter is more well received the more specific you can be. Your special someone wants to know why you’re so in love, not simply that you are.

Use your own voice. Don’t try to sound like someone else as you write. Don’t use language that will feel foreign to you both. Write in an honest, sincere tone that represents you at your best.

No shades of gray. If you are writing to a guy, you can be flirtatious without offense — but not pornographic. If you are writing to a girl, stay away from sex altogether. Nothing more than the subtlest innuendo will seem romantic. Your goal is to have this letter cherished; a letter that would embarrass will be quickly destroyed.

Timing is key. A love letter will be most appreciated when you are separated from your sweetheart. Send the letter so that it will arrive before you return, but after you’ve been gone for a time.

A love letter is a big deal. Invest in it so that it will have the impact you want.

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