Beating Writer’s Block: Write a Letter By Hand

Write a Letter By Hand

Do you remember the days when letters were sent in the post, instead of emails or Facebook messages? A handwritten letter, with all the sloppiness that comes with using the wrong type of pen and all the messiness of bad handwriting, is a lost art form. The number of people sending handwritten letters in the mail has dropped significantly, and now it seems as if the only times people send a letter in the mail is when the holiday season comes around, or when a fan letter is being sent.

Let’s change that.

Action Time! This exercise is simple, and is designed to pull you away from the computer.

Most writers type their work these days, and as a result face a problem: the same computer is also used for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (okay, maybe not…), Minecraft, YouTube, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, Flickr, Reddit, and hundreds more of common distractions online. Focusing on your work on the same computer at which you play and relax and socialise.

So, move to a different room. Bring a notepad with you, or even some paper from your printer. Grab a pen, and pick a friend. Write a letter to him or her. Write about everything you’re doing in your life right now. Write about your novel, your poetry, your family, the last book you read. Write about everything in your life. Pull a Rachel Green and write an eighteen page letter. Double sided.

The point is to write to someone you know and care about, to whom you can say anything. You don’t need to send it, you just need the audience while you’re writing it.

Not only are you getting away from the computer, you’re clearing your mind of everything you’re thinking about. You’re doing something out of the ordinary. These various aspects of letter writing should enable you to keep writing your book, or working on your poem, or crafting your tale. The more you write, the better you’ll feel.

One of the other options you have in this is to write to celebrities; write to your favourite author about that book you loved. Write to the actor you saw on stage last week whose performance blew you away. Write to the musician whose concert you went to with your best friend and tell them how much it meant for you to share that experience with them. Let yourself be a fan. Write something positive, and do it by hand. If you send it, you might even get a response.

You could find a pen-pal, and write him or her a letter. You could write to several people, and make a hobby out of it. Do it all by hand, and you’re separating a hobby from the computer.

When you’ve written all that you can – or all that you want to – return to the computer. Return to your book or your poem or whatever it is you’re trying to write and struggling with.

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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