10 Letter Writing Prompts

10 Letter Writing Prompts



When I tell people that I make and sell paper goods for a living, it's not uncommon to get the "people still write cards?" question. They are shocked that not only can I make a good living doing this, but that cards are still my best selling product. The paper goods industry is an $8 billion a year industry, so I feel pretty confident it's not going anywhere anytime soon. Yes, email and social media are the new norm, but that doesn't mean letter writing is a thing of the past. It's now a sort of novelty, and this digital age makes a handwritten letter more meaningful than ever. 
I'll be honest- if you love to write cards, you may or may not benefit from this post. You are probably already full of ideas for things to write, or have people all over the globe who you love to keep in contact with. If you are someone who loves to buy cards (or even wants to love to buy cards) but doesn't know what to write, this post is for you. Cards are small pieces of art that are meant to be filled with encouragement, laughter, love, and to foster friendship. It's that very reason that they are still my favorite product to design, and I think we can all admit that we love getting a handwritten letter. So, here we go- 10 letter writing prompts to get you writing!

1. Remember when...

We all have "that story" that we love reminiscing about with a friend. A hilarious story, something meaningful, an amazing trip- you name it. Talking about it in a letter is not only a great way to remember it, it will be a reminder they can look back on when they need a little encouragement.

2. 5 things I love about you...

This can be for anyone in your life- friends, spouse, family, anyone who needs to hear why they are awesome. Mix in some silly and some serious reasons to keep it light. This is also a great prompt for a birthday card!

3. Plan a future trip to see each other

This is one of my favorites, and perfect for writing someone who lives far away. Having a dream trip planned out in a card is really fun. It makes you feel like the distance is not so far, and even if the trip is not technically planned or it's still far out, it's a great way to feel connected. Plus, it's just fun!

4. Ask 3 questions

If you have a friend that you love writing, this a great way to stay in touch without just writing to update each other. The best friendships are the ones where you can just sit and talk, right? Why not do that with a card? Ask 3 questions- silly, random, serious, whatever. This is also great for big life changes. When I moved overseas, and then back to a different state, I would have loved to have people ask me questions about how I was doing. Asking questions is a great way to help others process things. Letters aren't just for catching up, they are also for building relationships.

5. Write to a child in your life

Niece, nephew, daughter, son, a friend's child- kids love getting mail! Write them an imaginary short story, tell them why you think they are awesome, or write them something quick and include a silly drawing inside. One of my favorite memories is getting a letter from my mom in the mail when I was a kid. It made my day, and I will always remember it.

6. Make an ad-lib.

Ad-libs are a story/paragraph that you write, but leave some words blank for the receiver to fill in. You can make your ad-lib silly, you can do it to announce something, or make one just because. I made one recently for a couple for their RSVP card in their wedding invitations, and it was a lot of fun! They are fun to make and to receive.

7. Here's some advice...

If you have a friend who is pregnant, has a few kids, had their first kid, just started a new job, just graduated, making a bog move, is getting ready to travel, or any other life event- and you feel like you have some advice that can help, tell them! We weren't made to do life alone, and your experiences can help others. They will be so grateful, and because it's handwritten, they can keep it handy and come back to it as they need.

8. Print a picture and send it

Just like cards, printed pictures are still a thing. Yes, Instagram and Facebook make them easily accessible and public, but a printed picture is still special. If you have a favorite picture of your friend or loved one, print it and send it with a card where you talk about that memory.

9. Thank a public servant

This could be a doctor or nurse who has been your advocate, a teacher or principal, a government official who you feel represents your values well, or in my case, an awesome mailman. Public servants work thankless jobs, and a note is a great way to fix that.

10. Thank you for teaching me...

This is not a note for your teacher (although it could be if you want), but for someone in your life who taught you a valuable lesson. Being in relationship with others is a great teacher, and it's important to tell others when their ability to be a good friend/partner has taught you something valuable. It might even be a bad experience that was turned into good. Either way, it's a valuable and long-lasting way to thank someone for something important.

 

And now you just need a card to send! Head over to penandpillar.com to see a range of thank you, birthday, and greeting cards, and get started writing already! If you have any more writing prompts to share, please do so below. I would love to hear more ideas!

Taylor Mahlke
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Studio Tour and A Typical Workday

Studio Tour and A Typical Workday

Pen+Pillar started in 2015 in the corner of my bedroom while my husband and I were living in St. Paul, Minnesota. We moved to North Carolina in 2016, and bought a house in December with a cute little backyard studio. That is still in the process of being remodeled, so Pen+Pillar is running out of one of our spare rooms. Even though the backyard studio is still in the works, I seriously love the space I am in now, and feel like I might miss it! One thing I try to do with my business is appreciate each stage that I am in, and be thankful for small beginnings. So, I decided to show you where all your orders start and finish! I seriously love what I do, and it's such a joy to be able to share this space with you, and show you a peek into a normal day.

This space seriously gets the best morning light. Which is awesome, because I love mornings. I wake up between 7-7:30am and get some coffee and usually read for a little while, though recently I have tried to get back into running. I usually get started working anywhere between 8-9am, and work until about 4pm. Occasionally I will work again at night, but I really try not to.

Morning: I usually start my workday by checking Etsy, accepting and scheduling wholesale orders, checking emails, and making my daily task list. I also like to start by spending time scrolling through Pinterest, especially if painting is on the schedule for the day. I find it so inspiring, and it always makes me feel motivated. I plan my social media post for the day, and then get started with what's first on my list! My schedule and tasks vary by the day, so today I am working on wrapping up my new art print collection, and making a calendar for my holiday cards and new product line. That will mean searching for manufacturers, gathering samples, creating a timeline and task list, and creating a budget. Since it's Friday, I will also reconcile my finances for the week, update inventory, and make a goals list for next week.

Afternoon: I usually eat lunch around 12, and only take about 30 minutes, since I stop work at 4. I always package orders right after lunch. I am going out of town this weekend, so I finished all my orders yesterday to be able to pack and clean the house for our friend who is watching our dog while we are gone. Usually, orders take anywhere from 1-4 hours, which is why I try to make my mornings as productive as possible. If I have a light day, I will spend the afternoon working on my "running task list" I made a while ago. This list is basically things that I don't have as a must-do for the day: writing new blog posts, answering emails, updating my website, researching and reaching out to new retailers, education (video courses), marketing, and my personal favorite- painting.

That's a typical day around here! Holiday seasons look a little different, but other than that, it's pretty much a picture of every day. I really love what I do, even on the days that do not go this smooth. Every job goes through it's seasons, and to be honest, right now I'm in a tough one (more on that later), but I still think it's the best job in the world.

Have any questions or comments? Please feel free to share below!

Taylor Mahlke
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 I think it's role in the workplace is something that needs to be discussed more.

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