Do you remember how years before the advent of the Internet we used to write old-fashioned letters to one another that we stamped and mailed? Maybe we even got creative and finished the letter with special sealing wax. With the emergence of email correspondence, letter writing took on another form, but no doubt there’s still something magical about writing and receiving a handwritten letter.
Physically writing letters can be a vital tool for clarifying feelings to both yourself and someone else. The real purpose of a letter is to inform, instruct, entertain, amuse, explore psychological problems, keep in touch, and of course share loving sentiments. The most important goal of writing a love letter is to be honest and sincere. What you write does not have to be fancy, literary, or poetic; you just need to write from your heart. Start by making a list of all the person’s qualities that you love. Share those qualities with your loved one. Because more people opt to write emails instead of love letters, it’s a real novelty to receive a handwritten love letter.
Passionate Love Letters
Passionate love letters are born out of separation. For the first five years of our relationship, my husband of forty-five years and I wrote love letters back and forth during our long-distance love affair. He lived in Canada and I lived in the United States. As a writer, this arrangement truly turned me on. Perhaps one day our children will discover boxes and boxes of our letters stored away in our attic for the past five decades.
Letter writing is one of the many ways a couple can be romantic with one another. For some people, it’s easier to say what they want through a letter. Every love letter is different and expresses the emotions unique to the relationship.
The idea of passionate love letters has been around for centuries, but as a literary form it probably began during the Renaissance period. Writing a love letter is a way to keep the ambers hot even when lovers are within close proximity to one another. For example, women of Victorian times often wrote love letters as a way of intimately expressing themselves.
Sometimes lovers do not have the opportunity to become physically intimate and find their entire relationship revolves around letter writing. This was the case for writer, philosopher and artist, Kahlil Gibran, who had a decades-long love affair with a schoolteacher, from afar. Author Mark Twain wrote love letters to his soon-to-be wife.
Some of my favorite love letters are those shared between authors Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller. There is an entire collection of their letters to each other called “A Literate Passion.” In one letter, Nin reminiscences about falling for Miller by writing, “It seems to me that from the very first, when you opened the door and held out your hand, smiling, I was taken in, I was yours.” I see this as a great opening that really grabs the reader’s attention.
How to Start
A great way to begin is to pretend the person is seated across from you. Next, start the letter off by writing about what prompted you to do so in the first place. You could begin by saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” or offer another kind of endearment such as, “I’m writing this letter because I love you.” The point is to remember that the letters we most enjoy receiving are those that reveal the writer’s personality. When reading a well-written letter, it can feel as if the sender is sitting with us, looking us in the eye, and speaking to us.
Some Love Letter Writing Tips
- Use simple, easy-to-understand sentences.
- Avoid using long, complicated words.
- Be specific.
- Break your letter into small sections or paragraphs.
- Make sure your voice or tone is appropriate for the subject of the letter.
- For clarity, read the letter aloud.
Write, rewrite, and polish your letter.
By Diana Raab, PhD is a memoirist, poet, essayist, blogger, and speaker. She presents workshops in writing for healing and transformation. She has a PhD in Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology with a research focus on the healing and transformative powers of memoir writing. Her educational background also includes health administration, nursing and creative writing.