Art of Letter Writing


Did you know January 23 is National Handwriting Day? It’s true! The celebration began back in 1977 when the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association established the day to promote the use of pens, pencils, and paper. It also happens to be the birthday of John Hancock, a man remembered for his stylish signature on the Declaration of Independence. In fact, in the U.S., his name became a synonym for one’s signature.

As technology pervades (invades!) more and more of our daily life, it seems we write things by hand less and less.

There’s just something about writing something by hand that is almost therapeutic. And it’s an art that is quickly becoming lost. 

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love getting something handwritten in the mail, whether it’s a card or a letter. Even a sticky note with a message written in Captain Cavedweller’s chicken scratch handwriting brightens my day. 

Writing a letter is an art – from choosing the card or paper to the writing utensil, to the words that are expressed. 

Writing a letter does require a little more effort than sending a quick text, but think about how personal a letter can be. How special it is to the recipient. How meaningful and appreciated even the simplest message of “I’m thinking of you” is to someone who loves you. 

Letters build relationships in a way, a personal caring way, that text messages and emails never will. It’s something tangible that can be held in the recipient’s hand. Whether it’s a card full of glittery sparkles or a formal piece of heavy parchment, what really matters is the message conveyed from your hand to the heart of the reader. 


In my sweet historical romance, The Christmas Wish, the heroine, Brynn, writes anonymous letters to people in the town of Hardman. Her only goal is to offer encouragement and cheer to the recipients.

Here’s a little excerpt from the book:

Percy had heard about someone writing letters full of positivity and hope to people in town. His parents had been the recipients of one a year ago, and his mother proudly kept the letter in the desk in the apartment. It was one of the first things she showed him when he returned home.

The handwriting was sometimes shaky, which made Percy wonder if it was an elderly person, but the turns of phrase the writer used hinted at someone younger.

Regardless, the wisher’s identity remained a mystery that Percy rather hoped continued. It gave the people in Hardman something happy to focus on and look forward to since a letter popped up once a week and no one could guess who would be the next recipient.

He glanced at Brynn as the conversation shifted to the holiday season and noticed her looking quite pleased. He wondered if it had something to do with the wisher or the way her grandfather continued to cast adoring glances at Dora Granger.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if  there were more Brynn’s in the world? 

I’m going to try to be more like her, and write by hand more personal notes this year. 

What about you?

Do you write notes for friends and loved ones? Do you enjoy receiving them?

Do you have a favorite note or card that you’ve kept as a keepsake? 

Post your answer for a chance to win a handwritten note from me! 


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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

39 thoughts on “Art of Letter Writing”

  1. Wow, I never knew 23rd was National Hand Writing day. Thankyou for all the info on it! Also, I recently read your book before January began and it is the sweetest story! it made my heart all mush, I adored it. Percy and Brynn are wonderful characters. And yes, I love writing notes to family and friends. I’ve done it for as long as I can remember, on birthdays, celebrations or even just randomly. I have always received many too, by my cousins and friends, which I’ve always kept as keepsakes. <3

  2. I keep all cards that are sent to me. It’s been a very long time since I got a hand written note. The last one was from an ex boyfriend when he found out I divorced my first husband (20 years ago). I was impressed that he took the time to write all that he did and all the apologies he had made. I held onto it for a couple years before destroying it. We died a few years back and said his sister found all the notes and cards I had written to him when we were together. He held onto everything and even told friends he always loved me. It made me sad knowing that.

    • Oh, Janine! How sad. You must have been very special to him for him to hang onto the notes. I keep the cards I receive, too. They are so special and appreciated.
      Wishing you a lovely day and thank you for visiting the blog!

  3. I love getting handwritten notes! Today, it’s a sign of caring. I do send thank you notes, get well missives and the like, but they’re usually short – my handwriting is atrocious. I blame it on being left-handed, and taking notes in nursing school.

  4. Good morning Miss Sunshine- I loved this blog. Yes, yes, I love to write cards and letters. One of my former coworkers we stay in touch, but his 88 year old Mom and I have been pen pals for 10+ years or more and he says she just lights up when she gets a letter from me. I do the same. She was born in England, but had lived in USA since World War II & marrying her husband from Louisiana, and she has so many great stories of her life in England she shares with me. Do I have some favorite letters and cards? I absolutely do, many or from you SHANNA and from LINDA & many other authors, but I also have a dear friends, many who are on here as well, I have saved them all. Rob thinks I’m a hoarder of cards and letters, but it’s so nice to stroll down memory lane. I have my Granny’s handwritten chocolate pudding recipe on my antique kitchen cabinet. It’s so nice just to look at it in her handwriting. Brings me such warmth.
    It’s funny before I checked email this morning, I wrote a card out to a Dear sweet friend who is going through a rough time right now, I’m hoping my card will bring her smiles. Love you Shanna, May you have a great day.

    • Good morning, sweet friend!
      I love that you have an octogenarian pen pal. I’m sure your notes brighten her day like the add sunshine to mine!
      I think my hubby would say the same about the cards and letters I keep, but they are too special to toss.
      And those old handwritten recipes mean so much. That’s wonderful you have a recipe card from your Granny!
      Here’s to letters that bring joy to others!
      Have a beautiful day, Tonya! <3

  5. I still have all the letters my hubs wrote to me and sent with his sister when I was a senior in HS and he had already been to college!! I sent handwritten notes with my mail to officers and friends at work!

  6. I do handwritten notes, and make my own cards to mail. I used to write letters, but not so much any more. I like to write them (and get them!) but seems others are too busy to write.

    • How lovely you send notes and make your own cards. That’s wonderful! It does seem like most people are too busy to write, which is sad. Taking that time is such a relaxing thing to do.
      Thank you for stopping in today!

  7. Good morning. Interesting topic today. I love to give and receive hand written notes. I sent some money to four of my great nieces and nephews for Christmas. All four of them wrote me a short note of thanks. I keep these kind of notes. I love to make and send out greeting cards with a note in it. Close friends and family, I will make a card and write a note for encouragement etc. Mom started me writing thank you notes when I was young and I love it. I have always wanted to learn calligraphy. Haven’t yet. My daughter in law writes lovely calligraphy. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    • Oh, that’s wonderful your great nieces and nephews have bene taught the importance of writing a thank you note. Those notes are treasures to keep! That is so neat your daughter-in-law does calligraphy. It’s a skill I greatly admire but would never master! And so nice you make cards and send out notes. Keep at it!
      Thank you for stopping in today!

  8. Great blog. I need to send cards & letters more often. I lagged badly in 2020. O never even got my Christmas cards sent out which is not my norm. I need to make a point this year to send out more cards. I know I love receiving them & I’m sure most people do! Stay safe in this uncertain and difficult times!

    • It is so fun to receive them, isn’t it! I hope you get many card and notes that warm your heart this year, and that you can send some out, too!
      Stay safe and be well!
      Thank you for stopping in today!

  9. Writing letters is what I grew up with. It was the only way to communicate with friends and family since phone calls were rare. We corresponded with many relatives and friends for years which was meaningful and we looked forward to receiving their letters and news. I learned this from my mother who was the best correspondent of all. Everyone was in awe of her ability to write newsy and interesting letters to all far and wide. I continued to write family but stopped when I never received a letter back. I sent notes and cards on special occasions and still continue to do so. I miss those days which many never did experience and enjoy.

    • That’s fabulous your mother was a wonderful correspondent. I hope you have some letters she’s written to keep as special treasures! I’m with you – I do miss the days when more people wrote letters. There is nothing to replace the joy of receiving a handwritten note full of news and love!
      Thank you for stopping in today!

  10. I loved the topic of your blog today since it is dear to my heart and important. When I was young I loved receiving letters and cards. Getting mail was the highlight of my day and I so looked forward to this. Now it is a lost art. It takes time to compose a letter and write a personal message in a card. Very few have the interest or patience for this but I do and I take the time to show that I think of that individual and hope that they are well. They probably think that I am an old fogie because I send out cards and letters but it is a habit from my younger days. I think that it is uplifting and a nice tough to send a card because you want to surprise someone.

    • I’m so happy you still make the time to send out notes and cards, Laini. It’s something I wish was shared with the younger generations. It is so uplifting and special to send a note to someone unexpectedly – or receive a note! Keep on doing what you do because I’m sure the recipients enjoy everything you send!
      Thank you for stopping in today!

  11. I’ve always written notes, cards and letters. I love it and will continue to do it. My mom taught me (she’s a retired teacher so perhaps that’s why!) to write letters and cards and I’ve continued that practice my whole life. I taught my kids to always write thank you notes as they were growing up. They aren’t very good at it now but I tried! When I get a note or letter in the mail, my day is so much brighter! I still send out 130 Christmas cards a year. It’s my favorite holidays tradition!

    • It’s wonderful you uphold those writing traditions, Valri! So happy to hear that! I hope you’ll continue to do so. I’m with you – I love sending out Christmas cards, too! I sent almost 200 in December!
      Thank you for stopping in today!

  12. Letter writing is one of my favorite things to do. I love writing cards and notes to friends and family, especially those who live out of town and I don’t get to see much. I love receiving a hand written note or card, it makes me feel so special that someone took the time to write to me. I wish letter writing was a more common thing to do. It is such a great pastime.

    • That’s wonderful! So neat you enjoy writing cards and notes to friends and family. Each one is treasured, I’m sure! I do wish it was more common, too! Isn’t is a wonderful thing to open your mailbox and find a hand written note or card there. Take good care and thanks for stopping in today!

  13. Shanna, I’m a handwriting fanatic. I have always loved to write. Used to love to write letters–LOOOOONNNNG letters. And to receive them! I kept a lot of letters through the years. When I was about 10 or 12 years old they published a list of military personnel in our little paper every Christmas in case you wanted to send Christmas cards to them. I did that and became pen pals with one soldier. He was so kind to take the time to write to me, and it made me feel so important to have him for a pen pal! I know I never threw those letters away. I don’t know if he made it back alive or not from Vietnam…I’ve often wondered. Letters are so important–they are history! I handwrite all my manuscripts. I go blank when I sit down in front of a computer screen–it just shuts down my creativity completely. But give me a blank notebook and a good fountain pen, and I LOVE it! This is a great post, Shanna. I did not know about National Hand Writing Day.

    • That is incredible you had a soldier pen pal. I hope he did make it back. And I’m so glad you enjoy writing letters. They are history and history in the making! How neat you write your manuscripts by hand. I would never get a book finished if I did that because I wouldn’t be able to decipher my scribbles, but I love that you do that! So cool! Thank you for stopping in, Cheryl! Happy letter writing to you!

  14. I have bday cards and Christmas cards I have received from years and years ago. I send bday cards to my siblings and Christmas cards to my siblings and to friends, I think that a written card or note are very much appreciated and they are very special. Your book sounds like a Great read. Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe. I enjoyed reading this post.

  15. I think we all enjoy getting a personal, handwritten note. Being of a “certain age,” cell phones and internet connections were not around yet why I went overseas in the Peace Corps and when my husband went off to the Vietnam War. Regular phone calls were difficult or impossible, and extremely expensive when an option. In a way, that was not a bad thing, as reassuring as it would have been at the time. I have the letters my family wrote to me and the ones I wrote them telling of my experiences. I have the letters I wrote to my future husband while I was still overseas and the ones we exchanged after we married and he was deployed. Taking them out, holding them, and rereading them brings back such memories and brings those who are no longer with us close, if only for a few moments.

    Thank you for bringing back good memories. Stay safe and healthy.

  16. I have a number of handwritten notes and letters dating back to the beginnings of Oklahoma being opened to white settlers.. Love letters to my mom from my dad in WW2, I can’t bring myself to read them though. It’s as if I would be invading their privacy. From my great-great grandparents when they entered Oklahoma during the land rush and letters between hubby and myself when he was in Vietnam to Valentine cards from the 30’s.

  17. Oh, how I love written letters! I still write letters weekly to different people, mainly retired coworkers. My mom has always been a letter writer, and in college I would receive 3-4 letters a week from her, plus from others. I even have a letter my dad sent (who was definitely NOT a letter writer). Even all these years later, I have a box of letters from my grandmothers, aunts, parents—some have passed on, and I don’t think people realize how very special it is to still have that piece of them…their own words, in their own handwriting, telling about their days, and their love for you between the lines. Letters are so valuable and precious!

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