I write a lot of letters. For a while I was writing one nearly every day, though with the events of this summer, I ended up missing some days, and missed more in the fall. But now I’m back in the swing of things for the most part.
My letter writing has evolved over time. Years and years ago, it was pretty uncreative. Words written on lined notebook paper. There is definitely nothing wrong with that. Letters are awesome, no matter what form they take. I’ve been experimenting with quite a few different things.
A year ago, I was pretty much a sucker for the Pilot G2’s. I thought they were pretty much the best pens ever. This culminated with a purchase of the Render K, a pen that is machined out of a single block of aluminum and takes the Pilot G2 refills. This is an amazing pen, and remains one of my favorites. For Christmas, my friend T got me some colored G2’s, and they’re quite awesome as well. I’ve found that I really like letters written in different colors of ink, and multiple colors of ink as well.
Last spring, I made my first Fountain Pen purchase. I bought a Lamy Safari with blue ink cartridges. Using a fountain pen is a different experience, and I’ve grown to really like it. On certain surfaces, they don’t work that well, including card stock, though. I recently added my second fountain pen, a Pilot Metropolitan with a Medium Nib. I think I like this one even better, and I think I’m going to get another one, with a Fine Nib.
I am such a sucker for paper. I started out this year by getting some heavy Linen paper, only to be really disappointed when I noticed the watermark. I don’t like having a watermark on my paper, especially if it’s for personal letters. I guess other people see it as a status symbol? I think those people are ridiculous.
The next paper I tried was parchment paper, and while I like it, I wish the color was more solid. That’s not a big issue, and so I tend to use it quite a bit in writing letters.
When it comes to colors, I received a large package of neon colored paper, and I’ve used it a couple times now for letter writing. I actually prefer to use that paper for typed letters, with each page a separate color. I really like how those turn out.
A few times, for something different, I’ve used graph paper. I drew a map of my adventures that day with a little commentary, and I really like how it turned out.
My most recent paper addition is something called Tamoe River Paper from the very creatively name paperforfountainpens.com. I actually haven’t written any letters with it yet, but I have experimented quite a bit with it and different pens. Unsurprisingly, fountain pens work really well on it. The paper is very thin, but it soaks up the ink really well. I created some line guides to put behind it, so my letters might even end up being pretty straight.
Most of my letter writing has actually been on card stock. I purchased some prints and handmade a bunch of cards that I’ve been sending out. I think I’ll save that for another post, though.
The one thing that paper can’t fix is handwriting, and mine is horrible. I recently asked my friend if it had gotten any better this year, and they simply said, ‘sorry, but no.’ I think I’m improving a little bit, though, and moving forward, I’m really going to focus on improving this. I really want to be able to craft truly beautiful letters.
The final part of creating a letter is sealing it up. For a long time, I really overlooked the envelope, and I rarely kept them on from the letters I did receive. I regret that now, and I keep everything.
The first thing I recommend doing is use up the stamps you purchased at the bank or wherever, and head over to USPS.com Check out the much larger variety of stamps that they have for you to use. This year, I’ve built up a pretty good collection. I like having a variety to choose from that I can match to the person receiving it.
I also started putting seal of some kind on every letter. I have several different seals to choose from. The first are just regular stickers. These can also be matched to the person receiving the letter, and I think it’s a nice touch. I’ve added both gold and silver seals if you want to go a little more fancy.
But the fanciest has got to be the wax seal. I splurged and purchased a nice aluminium seal a few months ago. I had decided that I wanted something scientific and represented hope, so I chose an atom. Instead of going with red sealing wax, which is admittedly more traditional, I’m going with blue, which is more representative of me.
Today I added the last little bit of fancy to it. I bought some metallic silver ink and dipped my seal in that before making the wax impression. It really emphasizes the shape of the seal, and I really like it.
I think that’s pretty much the end of the road for traditional letter writing. The last thing I really need to add is improving my handwriting, but I think that’s a more long term project. Any future craziness from this will surely transition into being Mail Art, and not longer be a simple letter.