With InCoWriMo just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to start a letter-writing series here on the blog this month.
In this series, I’ll be covering how to find people to write to, what to write in your first letter, how to make your letters fun, personal, and interactive, handwriting tips, and how to spruce up those envelopes.
Of course, letter-writing doesn’t have to be artsy or decorative, so I’ll have some pointers for those of you who like to keep things simple and neat as well.
First, let’s start with InCoWriMo… what is it and how do you participate?
Short for International Correspondence Writing Month, InCoWriMo (with an obvious nod to NaNoWriMo) is a writing challenge geared towards bringing back the love of the handwritten letter.
The goal of the InCoWriMo challenge is to hand-write and mail/deliver one letter, card, note, or postcard every day during the month of February.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
>> Step 1
According to Eric over at InCoWroMo.org, you should first recite this pledge:
“I, [insert your name], clearly see the benefits of InCoWriMo participation, not only to me personally but also to those who will receive my correspondence. InCoWriMo is a beneficial endeavor and worthy of my full attention. I hereby pledge to hand-write and mail/deliver one letter, card, note or postcard every day during the month of February.”
>> Step 2
Hand-write and mail/deliver one card or letter each day throughout the month of February. That’s 28 letters :)
>> Extra Credit
NOT SURE WHO TO WRITE TO?
- Here’s a great list from the InCoWriMo website.
- And another from Goulet Pens.
- How about writing to a soldier?
- More Love Letters is a great resource if you want to write to a stranger.
- How about one of these brave souls who shared their address with the world?
- You could even write to hospitalized children.
Maybe you’d even like to gain a pen pal or two throughout the month?
Here are my go-to sites to find new pen pals:
- PostCrossing – Send and receive postcards from all over the world.
- Fountain Pen Pals – A pen pal group for fountain pen enthusiasts on Reddit.
- Letter Writers Alliance – A paid membership group but oh-so-cool!
- Bullet Journal Pen Pals – A pen pal group on Facebook for Bullet Journal lovers!
Just as I did last year, I created a printable InCoWriMo Tracker for you!
I found this extremely useful and fun to update as the challenge progressed last year, and I hope that you will too. Normally my printables are only available to Boho Berry Tribe Members, but I’ve decided to make this one available with just one click :)
Need some extra letter-writing inspiration?
I’ve created an InCoWriMo board on Pinterest filled with lovely letter-writing and envelope decorating ideas:
Announcing the Boho Berry Tribe Pen Pal Exchange
As an added bonus this year, I’ve decided to organize a Pen Pal exchange within the Boho Berry Tribe on Facebook.
If you’re already a member, head to this link to find all of the details and get registered.
If you’re not a member yet, simply head on over to the group right here and request to join. We’ll have you approved in a jiffy!
** Registration closes January 29th at 12 PM Eastern **
Boho Berry Box Subscribers!
Inside your next box, you will find all sorts of goodies to help you write and mail beautiful letters during the month of February… including an exclusive item that you won’t be able to find anywhere else!
February boxes are shipping this week, and I can’t WAIT to do an unboxing for you to show you what’s inside!
PS – The box is currently sold out, but if you’d like to be in the know when new spots come available, head on over to www.bohoberrybox.com to add your name to the waitlist!
What to write in your letter
OK, now that we’ve covered the idea behind InCoWriMo, let’s talk about your letters and how to make them awesome!
Sometimes writing a letter to someone you don’t know can be a daunting task. Here are some of my tips to make sure that first letter is amazing!
1. Include your name, sex, age, and location.
Including these details will help your recipient get to know you more easily. For your location, try telling them something about your town/state/country that is interesting.
And of course, be sure to always include your return address so that they can write back to you. I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve received without this crucial bit of information.
2. Tell them how you found their information.
It’s always a good idea to let your recipient know how you found their address. Many people register with multiple pen pal organizations, so letting them know how you found their info will be very helpful.
3. Include some of your hobbies & interests.
This is where you let your recipient into your world a little bit. Share some of your favorite pastimes/interests, and ask about theirs as well
4. Ask questions
Asking questions is a great way to make your letter feel more interactive. This also gives your recipient a starting point when they (hopefully) write back to you. Try to tailor your questions to the info you already know about them.
5. Don’t try to force them to write back.
Inevitably, you may write to someone who for some reason or another does not want to write back to you.
Try to avoid sentiments along the lines of “hoping to hear back from you soon” or “awaiting your reply”.
Instead, try ending your letter with “Thank you for your time” or “Wishing you the best”. This will help to alleviate the pressure to respond.
Fun things to add to your letters
Even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, adding some fun “extras” in the envelope can make for a fun experience for your recipient. Here are some of my favorite things to add to snail mail.
- Die Cuts
(careful with this one as not everyone enjoys the mess these can make!)
- Sticky Notes
- Washi Tape Samples
- Paper Clips
- Extra Stationery
- Tea Bags
Things to know
When sending mail, it’s important to keep a few things in mind, such as:
- Postage guidelines for weight/size, as well as different postage costs when mailing domestically or internationally.
- Prohibited Items (here’s the USPS list)
- How to address an envelope (I recommend putting your return address on the back flap of your envelope)
My Favorite Resources:
* This post contains affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you subscribe or purchase something through the links provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here) Thank you for supporting Boho Berry!
Letter Writers Alliance: https://letterwriters.org/
“The Letter Writers Alliance is dedicated to preserving this art form; neither long lines, nor late deliveries, nor increasing postal rates will keep us from our mission. As a member of the Letter Writers Alliance, you will carry on the glorious cultural tradition of letter writing.”
InCoWriMo website: https://incowrimo-2018.org/
The go-to resource for all things InCoWriMo 2018. They also have a great resource where you can join the public address book for the year.
Vintage Postage Stamps: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittlePostageHouse
One of my favorite shops for vintage postage stamps.
Boho Berry Box subscribers might be getting a little surprise from Little Postage House in February!!
The Original Lettermate: * http://amzn.to/2FK0GUm
Lettermate Companion: * http://amzn.to/2mDTCzJ
These two address templates are GREAT for those who need a little help keeping things straight on their envelopes!
The Goulets and I are teaming up again this year to bring you an epic letter-writing giveaway!
We’re timing this giveaway just right, so that the winner will receive their prize package just in time to start writing all of those letters in February!
HERE’S WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE PRIZE PACKAGE:
- Pilot Parallel Rainbow Set
- Pilot Parallel Mixable Colour Cartridges (Assorted Pack)
- Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen – Retro Pop Turquoise (1.0mm Stub Nib)
- Lamy LX Fountain Pen – Rose Gold (Fine Nib)
- Set of 8 Ink Samples
- J. Herbin Brass Sun Seal
- J. Herbin Wax Seal Wood Handle
- Atelier Gargoyle Flexible Sealing Wax – Turquoise (x2)
- Atelier Gargoyle Flexible Sealing Wax – Light Coral (x2)
- The Original Lettermate
- The Lettermate Companion
That’s a grand total of over $175 in letter-writing goodies for one lucky winner!
HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:
Simply go through the steps of the Rafflecopter widget below. You do NOT have to complete every single option, just the ones you like. :)
This giveaway is open internationally.
Winner will be drawn at 8 AM EST on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018.
Winners will be notified via email and must claim their prizes within 48 hours. See full disclosures here.
Good luck, everyone! And happy letter writing!
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Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.