Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pen to Paper: Responses

Did you sent out a letter last week? I sent quite a few out last week since I have been laid up healing. While I do love reading books to fill my time, I need a break and wrote instead. I am sure quite a few of you will be getting some happy mail shortly!
Have you received a response from your first letter yet? If not, don't get discouraged. First take into consideration shipping time, if you picked a pen pal for overseas, it takes regular snail mail quite some time to get delivered. Also, we are getting into the busy holiday seasons so maybe they haven't had a chance to reply yet. If you think maybe that person isn't going to respond, go ahead and write to someone else. If you have received a response letter, today's tips will help you out.
Once you have received a letter (and probably ripped it open and read it on they way back from the mail box) you need to respond. Yes I understand you may not have time right that instant to write your response, but in order to keep this new relationship growing you do need to write back. so here are some tips for you.
Write back in a timely manner
If you and your pen pal have already decided on time frames, make sure you keep it with in those parameters. It can take time to develop the response letter too. I like to make sure I mail back my response letter within 2 weeks. It keeps the letters moving along without a lot of time to forget details.
Have the letter you received handy
It helps to keep the letter you received open while you are writing so you can keep the conversation moving. You will want to respond to questions they are asking (make sure you include a little bit of that question in your answer too incase they forgot what exactly they asked you). I also keep all previous letters I have received and until I am comfortable with the person re-read them before responding so I don't cover the same ground again.
Ask Questions
This is something that I am still working on, but if you want a response letter back, make sure you give them something to write back. Maybe talk about this book you just finished that you love, ask them then if they have recently read a book and what it was about, or ask them something about the books they like to read. Besides listening to what your new pen pal has to say, questions are the most important part about being a pen pal (and some times the hardest part).
Make sure your handwriting is clear
If your pen pal can't read your writing they won't be able to respond, so take your time and write as clear as possible. The same goes for your address, make sure it is clear and in the first few letters include it on the inside incase they accidently toss the envelope.
Keep track
I find it very helpful to keep track of who I write, when I write them, and what I write about. This way I can make sure I don't talk about the same things over and over again. So just a quick jot in a journal or address book as to when you mailed the letter, what you talked about and questions you might have asked.
So there are a few tips to keep in mind during the excitement of receiving a letter in the mail.
Your Mission for the Week: Jot down a short list of questions. This can be so hard, you get to writing and telling them about what happens in your life that you forget to ask them about their life and themselves. So maybe having a list of question ideas can be helpful to keep in with your letter supplies. Obviously you don't need to ask the same questions to every pen pal, or the wording exactly the same, but just some basic ideas (ie: how do you like to celebrate the holidays, what is your favorite dish, what are you reading now, etc.).

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