Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

April 6, 2022

10 Things to Write About in a Letter

Words: Christen Hammons
Photo credit: Annie Spratt

I can’t count how many times I’ve imagined myself sitting at my desk, a beautiful fountain pen poised over carefully chosen stationery as I begin to write a letter to a friend. In these daydreams, the words flow freely. My steaming cup of coffee goes cold and untouched as the words keep coming. I know just what to say and how I want to say it.

The reality is that the words don’t come. I sit at my desk, tapping my pen and anxiously sipping that steaming cup of coffee as I try to figure out what to write. Letter writing is something that is so romanticized, it hardly seems right to send someone an account my day. Surely I can find something better to write about.

Whenever it comes to writing, whether it’s in my journal or in a letter to a friend, I often turn to prompts to help guide me. I keep a long list of them and scroll through it until something calls out to me. If, like me, you’ve longed to have a letter-writing practice, here are some of my favorite things to write about when nothing else comes to me.

10 Things to Write About in a Letter

1. A moment of kindness you witnessed while people-watching
2. A place you’ve always wanted to visit and what you hope to do there
3. One thing on this season’s bucket list
4. A compliment you’ve always wanted to give to the recipient
5. A book or movie you’ve recently experienced and want to recommend
6. A person who has made a profound impact on your life
7. Something small you’ve accomplished recently that makes you feel really good
8. A list of questions you’ve always wanted to ask the recipient
9. How you’d spend your ideal day
10. A holiday you’ve made up and how you’d like to celebrate it

For those of you who enjoy writing letters to send to friends and loved ones, how do you decide what to write about? Your advice may be shared in an upcoming issue of Bella Grace.

Christen Hammons is editor-in-chief of Bella Grace. She lives in Orange County with her husband, two sassy cats, and one scruffy dog.

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Comments ( 12 )

  1. Kelly Sutton

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I like to write about a shared memory I have with that person. It is a nice way to reflect and send the message that I have been thinking about them and their impact on my life.

    • Sugʻdiyona

      April 7, 2024 at 11:44 pm

      Hm yaxshi

  2. Lorna S.

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I don’t hand write letters often, but when I do, I start with a brain dump keeping my reader in mind. Sometimes, I have a list of facts, or events, or feelings, or people that have filled my time since my last communiqué with the individual. Sometimes it is the season or holiday or reason for the note – a birthday, anniversary, new job, retirement, or loss. Other times I am sharing a concern or a challenge that is stuck in me and sharing helps move that energy.
    I rarely sit down with the outcome in mind. Before I start writing the letter I take a minute to set my space with fresh air (deep, slow breathing) and then I smush a small bag with lavender and breathe that in too. I ask the Universe to find my words for me and I close my eyes.
    Within a few minutes, my ego has let go of the pen and the words just flow. I don’t stop writing until I am finished. And I don’t worry about typos or wrong words. I can fix those later. I just let my writing muse and the words flow from my heart through the pen to the page.
    Over the years I have learned that just sharing with someone is enough. It doesn’t have to be long or on the pretty stationery. Often I begin recalling a past visit, or a shared experience to start the conversation. And I am usually amazed at how quickly the words formed on the paper and filled a page or two.
    Personally, I don’t care how a letter looks (crossed out phrases and/or tiny words above others with asterisks & arrows). I cherish the letter as a missive of love or care from me to the reader. My note will be a hug for the recipient, and something that they can go back and look at and experience the warmth with which it is filled.
    Knowing how rare snail mail is today, takes the pressure off. So surprise someone and just drop him or her a note! And don’t forget to make a copy or scan it into your computer. I keep a digital log of my comments, posts, letters and even business emails. These letters are part of your story. People rarely hand write notes anymore and their words of love or humor, or compassion or even hurt is lost.
    Recently I had to back up my computer so I was going through old correspondence. I came across a letter I wrote to a lovely elderly couple. The wife was in hospice care, and her husband was by her side 24/7. I let her know how often I recalled her in the office and the lovely visits we had on her front porch. I let her husband know he too was in my thoughts as I remembered all the yard sales where we spotted each other across a lawn or driveway. Marge passed away a few weeks later and I got a note from Lowell that he read that letter to his wife two or three times a day as they held hands and grinned at each other with the memories my note evoked.
    I make a point of sending emails or adding comments to posts I follow. Those notes of appreciation or gratitude count. I enjoyed a workshop I took in 2011, but didn’t keep in touch with the instructor. I recently saw her name and tracked down an email address. I dashed off a note, and included an attachment of the collage I created in her class, and let her know how often I glanced at it and thanked her for sharing the process. The note I received back was amazing. She remembered my little cottage and how much I enjoyed the workshop. She lost all her mailing lists – and hadn’t heard from any of her students. My note was welcomed and very appreciated by her. That one small note brought great joy to both of us. What a blessing our letters can be to others and to us.
    P.S. Thank you Bella Grace for asking for our thoughts – I had no idea how important this topic was to my heart and soul.

  3. Michele

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    These are wonderful suggestions! Thank you!

  4. marie

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    what a lovely collection of thoughts to write about in a letter … in fact … it is a great idea to use just one to send a quick note to someone … to uplift and share life … sometimes I wonder what to write in a short note and a letter seems too long … this list is a great beginning. thanks.

  5. Robin Aguirre

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    When I receive a letter, I always address what the writer has written me first, especially if it is family news. Then, I share our family news with them. One thing I always share is news about the wildlife around our home. We have so many beautiful birds that migrate and visit our bird feeders every year. Also, we have an abundance of deer, critters and gray foxes. I often write about my observations of their lives and antics. Most important, I always tell the recipient how much they mean to me. Or about a fond memory of them in times past. I also love to send holiday cards for the major holidays to family and friends to keep in touch.

  6. Ruby Flanigan

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I like to give a little snapshot of every day things so when the recipient reads it again when they’re 80, they can remember the “good old days.” Not just the bright and shiny moments, but the little messy things too, the operative word being little. Authenticity is a precious gift.

  7. Meridith Fisk

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    My husband’s grandmother, Ruth, was an avid letter writer. She wrote weekly to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren from her kitchen desk, electric typewriter. Through her example, I learned the art of letter-writing correspondence. She filled the pages of her stationary with news about family, progress on her quilting, parties she hosted, and the weather. As mundane a topic as weather may seem to be, writing about it and seasonal changes assists in bringing people closer, creating a shared experience. Suddenly, the correspondents do not seem so far apart as they imagine and compare the natural surroundings of the letter’s contents with what they are witnesses. It also encourages meditative contemplation on the gifts and quieter joys of each season.

  8. Julie Ann Vasquez

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    In a world where we live our lives 50 characters at a time and only react to what comments are made, it was refreshing to read your article and bring back the days of letter writing. Now in my 60’s I wish I would have continued this art prior to the digital days. Thanks again. Keep the pen and cursive going… <3

  9. Rose Banwart

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    For writing letters:
    I think it’s about them… encouraging them , asking pointed questions about their health, family, job, life… which shows you really care. Adding a scripture verse or two May really encourage them. Sending an old photo of them or them with you, can mean a lot too!

  10. Debbie

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    Oh I miss letter writing. This world is now spinning so fast with the digital everything. I miss putting pen to paper and often send my family and friends letters. My family thinks im nuts, but I like to think of those letters remaining long after I am gone and my family feeling my love for always.

  11. RACHEL RAMOS

    April 19, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I have three adult pen pals ( since I’m in my sixties) and I am having so much fun corresponding with each of them. I ask about themselves and their family, I tell about what is happening in my family. If I’m going on a trip soon I’ll talk about that. I send them a “all about me form” so I have reference to their likes and dislikes. I like to include treats in my mailing, like homemade bookmarks, flower seeds or embellishments, and recipes. My grammar May not be the best, but they seem to understand me and have mentioned how happy they are to receive my letters. I also use washi tape and rubber stamps on the outside of my letters too. What fun it is to send out “happy mail”

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