There are times when it is appropriate to handwrite a letter. A handwritten letter will always be appreciated when thanking people for gifts or expressing appreciation for their help, when offering sympathy to a recently bereaved person and for giving emotional support. There will always be some occasion when a handwritten letter is required, or preferred.
Before handwriting a letter you should sit at a table or desk, with your pen and paper, and think about what you intend to say.
Take your time, so your handwriting is neat and easy to read. It is generally a good idea to make a rough draft on some scrap paper first, so you know what you want to write before you begin. Then you should not have to cross out, erase or correct, when you handwrite your letter.
• Pen or Pencil
You can write a letter in pencil but ink is more permanent and generally easier to read. Use a gel pen, fountain pen or any ballpoint pen that feels comfortable for writing. Choose one you know will write smoothly, without creating blotches or ink stains.
• Writing Paper and Envelope
The paper you write on should be of good quality, not too thin or flimsy. Write on both sides, or just use one side if you prefer. You can write inside a card, but you should be aware this could restrict the length of your letter.
Choose a matching envelope or use a plain white one, and make sure the paper fits inside the envelope without too much folding.
• Setting Out Your Letter
When using printed notepaper your own address will already be shown at the top. If you use plain or lined writing paper, you can choose to write your address at the top or add it at the end, after your name.
Write the date at the top of the page, because your letter may take some time to arrive in the post.
Begin your letter with a separate greeting line for "Dear (name of person)" . Avoid the use of "Hi" or any other informal greeting. If you don't know the name of the person you are addressing write "Dear Sir or Madam", rather than "Dear (name of business or department)".
Write your letter in paragraphs and leave spaces between them.
Number your pages when your letter goes over more than one sheet. If you use both sides of the page write "continued over" and the bottom of the sheet.
End with "Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully" in a formal letter, but for friends and relatives you can end with love, regards or wishes, in whatever way you choose.
• Sending Your Letter
Read through what you have written and allow the ink to dry. Fold the paper carefully, so your handwritten letter fits neatly into its envelope. Write out the name and full address of the recipient on the front of the envelope. You can put your own name and address as sender, on the back, after you have sealed the envelope.
It is useful to remember how to handwrite a letter, then you will always be prepared for those occasions when it is necessary to write a personal letter by hand.