Friday, 15 January 2021

A to Z of Snail Mail - part 1

 I thought it would be fun to do an A to Z of Snail Mail. Easier said than done. Needed help & suggestions! 

A is for Address book, and also for Air Mail, Air Mail labels, aerogrammes, anticipation...

B is for Box of postcards, Best Wishes...

C is for Christmas cards sent by penpals, but also for cartridges fountain pens might use, calligraphy, and correspondence can contain caring and compassion.

D is for delivery, Diamine inks, and letters bring delight.

E is for envelope, and no matter how hard you push, it is stationery. Excitement & enlightenment.

F is for fountain pens. 

G is for General Post Office.

H is for Home (address), handwritten letters, and handwriting.

I is for ink, and also InCoWriMo, and international mail....

J is for Jolly letters written in J. Herbin ink (other inks are available). 

K is for the Kindness found in many letters, written perhaps with Krishna Ink.

L is for Letter, letter writing, letter writing paper, Lamy fountain pens & ink, letter openers, letterbox, and Love from..

M is for Mail, both incoming and outgoing missives mailed...

Part two later, but feel free to comment with your suggestions. Haven't gotten ideas yet for some of the other letters...

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Happy new year.

Well, farewell 2020 and hello 2021. 

One of the surprising things about the pandemic is how much more I have enjoyed writing letters. I do my best communicating through the written word. Letters are something to hold. They can also hug. Electronic missives and perhaps phone calls demand to be dealt with there and then. A letter is patient; it has to be. 

One question I get asked is, "Where do I find people to write to?" There are many websites out there offering penpal-matching, or profile browsing, to find penpals, for free or paid. There are websites associated with snail mail projects where you can also look for penfriends. Some of my lovely penpals have come from barely having anything more than an address to write to, through a project called InCoWriMo. I've written about INternational COrrespondence WRIting MOnth before. But it is almost that time of year again, for this project fills February with letters. The challenge is to write a letter a day.

Another question I get asked is, "What do I write about in letters?" While some topics can be a bit of a taboo or more uncomfortable to write about (e.g. religion, politics, the private side of life), almost anything else goes. Postcrossing has a monthly writing prompt, if you are stuck for something to write about on a postcard (this month, what skill would you like to learn?). A World of Snail Mail offers another suggestion: Five Questions, Answer by Snail Mail where questioners supply 5 Questions, and people can write their answers in a missive. 

A World of Snail Mail has come up with something else if you want to take part in Incowrimo but can't manage a whole letter-a-day to send? Maybe you could compromise and do this challenge instead. It doesn't matter if you can't do it every day. The main thing is to enjoy writing letters.

28 challenges for this month, one for each day. When writing a letter, please answer the question or use the writing prompt or do the task for that day. The letter need not be finished that day.

1st: Write a sentence with your eyes closed
2nd: Do you have any pictures hanging on your wall(s)?
3rd: Writing prompt: time
4th: Doodle the weather
5th: What are you looking forward to this year?
6th: What are the best 3 things about where you live?
7th: Writing prompt: games/sports
8th: Write a sentence with your non-dominant hand
9th: Where do you imagine you will be this time next year?
10th: Writing prompt: gardening
11th: If you had an autobiography, what would its title be?
12th: What is your best member of childhood?
13th: What is the weather like?
14th: Have you written Valentine's cards to pets (or even received one from a pet)?
15th: What are three of your favourite films?
16th: What book(s) are you in the middle of?
17th: What has made you smile recently?
18th: Write a sentence backwards
19th: What time do you have breakfast?
20th: Writing prompt: radio
21st: Doodle some eyes
22nd: What is a favourite quote from fiction?
23rd: Do you keep a diary or journal or scrapbook?
24th: Writing prompt: spring
25th: Have you written any poetry or verse?
26th: Writing prompt: music
27th: Do you volunteer for good causes?
28th: When did you send your first ever email?

Goulet Pens and others do writing prompts for types of people to write letters to.

Monday, 21 December 2020

The end is nigh, of 2020 that is.

Well, I don't think there are many people who would want to prolong the year (except to rewind and then do things differently).. but there have been good moments. I have continued to write letters throughout the year. Savings from not going out as much, meant I could spend some money on my main hobby, that of letter writing. I bought some more stationery associated with snail mail. 
I have been enjoying using wax seals. These are some of the new ones I have bought this year. There are more!

Then, there is also washi tape, and stickers. This is one of my latest purchases and I have yet to use this. I will, I promise!

And then, there is the writing implement and fluid. Here are just a couple of my new pens, and also one of the inks I purchased. I really am impressed with this particular ink. 

The cost of sending a letter has increased. Postage has increased. It increased at the end of March, and again in early September. And now, to start off 2021, it rises again. There isn't really much choice but to use at least the correct postage. I cannot imagine my world without being able to send letters and postcards. Although post this year is not getting to all destinations. 

So, in preparation for the postage rate increase, I have ordered some stamps from Royal Mail. First class stamp now is 76p, but come the 1st January, it will be 85p. Other prices can be found in this leaflet, or on the Royal Mail website. I really hope we don't get stung by a second price rise in 2021 at the normal price rise time of year (usually end of March). 


Thursday, 5 November 2020

Still writing

 I'm still here, writing letters, trying to keep away from the elephants in the room topics. Five Questions, Answer by Snail Mail helps. After the current letter I am in the middle of writing, I will answer someone's Five Questions, posted on the A World of Snail Mail forum. 

1st October was World Postcard Day, and where do I know that loves postcards? Why yes, Postcrossing. And so, for it, I requested a couple of addresses and posted them, as well as another postcard to reply to one from Russia sent during February for A Month of Letters. 

There isn't much space on the postcard for many nice stamps. I wanted to use up some of the older stamps than buy the new stamps of the new value for sending by international standard / Air Mail / Post Awyr / Par Avion!

I had slowed down on writing letters recently, as there were days I just didn't feel like picking up a pen. Ideally, I want to reply between a fortnight and a month, but was running at 6 weeks for a few letters last month. I've found my mojo again.

I have written and sent over 365 letters this year, and it feels great! I should surpass 400 before long. I do tend to slow down in December, but whether I will this year, I don't know. Letters bring joy. 

Monday, 21 September 2020

Snail Mail September 2020 update

As Week 3 of Snail Mail September draws to a close, I thought I would give an update on how I am doing. 

I wrote a letter outdoors for week 1, when the sun was shining and the birds were singing. I sat outside in the front garden, glancing up from the letter every now and again, to watch the world go by.

For week 2, I wrote in coloured fountain pen inks. I was able to post one letter in a postbox I'd never fed before. I always use interesting stamps but didn't put in an entry for that.

For week 3, I have used washi tape. I usually use washi for sealing up letters, and a few stickers too. I have plenty of washi tapes and stickers, but sometimes forget to use them.

I have used wax seals on many of the letters I have sent, but I have forgotten to take pictures of them, or they've turned out a bit blurry/not quite all in focus. 

(pictures taken from @aworldofsnailmail on Instagram)

So, with one week and a bit remaining of September, I intend to write some letters to be sent overseas, include some tuck-ins, and perhaps attempt a doodle. I wrote something with my non-dominant hand in February.

I'll come up with some new prompts for February Letters. What would you like to see in them? What didn't you like from this year's selection of prompts (list up on my previous blog entry)?

Monday, 7 September 2020

Snail Mail prompts and challenges.

Over on the forum, a new challenge was started - Snail Mail September, with the hashtag #snailmailseptember2020 and it is running on Instagram, and the forum's Facebook group.

Week 1


•Decorate an envelope for a letter you’re mailing

•Write to a family member

•Write a letter Outdoors

•Send a postcard to someone you haven’t seen in a while.

Week 2


•Decorate mail in seasonal colors

•Mail a letter from a new-to-you postbox

•Use an interesting stamp to mail something

•Write a letter/postcard in colored ink

Week 3


•Send a photograph

•Write to someone about a memory you have of them

•Send something about your city/town/state

•Use a sticker or washi tape to decorate your mail

Week 4


•Write something with your non-dominant hand

•Send mail to another country

•Include a tuck-in in your letter/card

•Draw a doodle/sketch on your letter/postcard

For February, a lighter challenge than InCoWriMo, I started February Letters with A Challenge-a-day with 29 prompts/tasks to do in your letter for the day (and it didn't matter if a letter could not be completed that day).

1st: Use the word duck

2nd: Write a sentence backwards

3rd: Draw some eyes

4th: What can you hear while you write?

5th: What is the nearest tree to your home?

6th: Use the word bird

7th: Did you see a cat this week?

8th: Use the word snowman

9th: What book(s) are you reading?

10th: Draw a smiley face

11th: Do you have any houseplants?

12th: Use the word weather

13th: What was the last boardgame you played?

14th: Did you make any resolutions for 2020?

15th: Use the word postcard

16th: Can you play a musical instrument?

17th: Use the word DIY

18th: What was the last photo you took?

19th: Do you like travelling by train?

20th: Who is your favourite cartoon character?

21st: Can you see a clock while you write?

22nd: Where are you writing the letter?

23rd: Use the word cup

24th: Write a sentence with your eyes closed.

25th: What does your name rhyme with?

26th: What was the last household chore you did?

27th: Do you have a favourite household chore?

28th: Do you collect anything?

29th: Would you like to have your birthday today?

I shall be changing the prompts/tasks for next year. Which ones are good and should stay (or be changed very slightly), and which ones should be changed totally?

These are great prompts/tasks. Do they help? Would you like to see more mini-challenges? 

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

A World of Snail Mail forum

I started A World of Snail Mail forum 5 years ago today although did not open up the membership until two days later. I didn't know what to expect, or how the forum would turn out. 

I have been a member of various penpal groups and websites for a few years prior. Although all these places have good points, there are some unwanted points too. I want somewhere people could feel welcome no matter their gender, and new people to be able to contribute to the various topics.

While new penpals have been found through the forum, the main purpose was for discussion. Now we have Five Questions, Answer by Snail Mail as an icebreaker for correspondence. Even long term penpals answer the questions.

The forum is still small, and that is OK. Quality over quantity. It seems like I could personally vouch for every member.