Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Write an Encouraging Letter

Writing a letter to a friend going through hard times is tough. It takes a little practice and a lot of heart. There aren't any magic formulas I can share, but here are a few tips I've learned from years of writing and receiving letters.

1. Tell the Truth
You don't need to exaggerate to show your empathy. Always tell the truth, even if that means admitting you haven't gone through what they have. Your friend will appreciate you having the courage to be honest.

2. Simple is Okay
For this kind of letter you can put away the Thesaurus. Most of the time, a simple "I'm thinking of you" or "You're in my thoughts" is all it takes.

3. Recall Something Funny
If you're not sure how to start your letter, why not remind your friend about a funny moment you shared. Laughter is healing. You can't go wrong with a funny story.

4. Use You Not I
Remember the letter is about them, so try to avoid using "I" as much as possible. Instead use "you." If you find this difficult, write a sentence with "I" and then turn it around. For example: "I know I'd be worried too" turns into "You must be so worried."

5. Write From the Heart
No matter how clumsy the words, if it comes from the heart you can't miss.

And by the way, have you taken my letter writing challenge yet? Today is the best day to give it a try. You can do it!

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