Letter writing...

E-mail Print PDF

When I arrived in Australia in the mid 1960s my first task was to write a letter to my parents in England, assuring them that I had arrived safely. My parents had no telephone at home and they came from the generation that considered telephones and telegrams as bearers of bad news. That first letter grew into a forty-year weekly ritual of letters between my mother and me. These letters described the high points of our lives—holidays, weddings, graduation, babies—but for the most part, their most striking feature was their ordinariness. As in most families, nothing special happened most weeks and we wrote about the weather, the garden, a new dress or the price of petrol.


Eventually the correspondence dwindled, as phone calls became cheap and Mum’s eyesight deteriorated, but those letters taught me two important lessons. First, I learned the discipline of writing through sitting down every week knowing I had a blank sheet of paper to fill. Most authors say that it is the discipline and practice of writing every day, rather than waiting until the mood is right, that leads to productive and marketable output. Second, I learned that in some circumstances, nothing can replace a letter. Phone calls and emails have their place, but there are times when a letter that you can hold, read and reread, and keep as a memento is irreplaceable.

Contact me if you want to send a special letter to someone but you’re struggling to find the right words to convey your sentiments. I’ve got plenty of experience to draw on to help you write a memorable letter.