Though it’s only been a year since last Valentine’s Day, when we took a look at five of our favourite love letters, it’s been three full years since we fully dove into the dos and don’ts of romantic writing. In that Valentine’s Day 2014 post we took inspiration from some famous letter writings to find out what works, and what doesn’t, when penning a love note.
Over the years we’ve continued to develop our skills and, while we can’t promise you’ll become the next Saint Valentine by learning from us, we think this simple list will give you the confidence to create one truly memorable letter.
DOs and DON’Ts of Love Letters
DO… Stick to what you’re comfortable with
While a love letter can be a great way to express feelings you don’t talk about every day, you don’t need to suddenly become a John Milton-esque sonnet writer. If you and your partner have any inside jokes, they are the perfect place to begin when mentioning the specific reasons why you’re glad to be together.
Rather than saying, “My love for you burns with the force of 10,000 fireworks” try something like, “Waking up next to you is better than opening a fresh can of coffee/when our team hits a home run/playing with 10,000 puppies.” Unless, of course, fireworks are your thing. In which case – totally go with that!
DON’T… Pour on the clichés
Saying your lover has a “smile that lights up the room” or “long and luscious locks” is nice enough, but how personal is this? And what about if your partner is self-conscious about wearing braces or having dry hair?
Before writing any corny compliment, take a moment to think if it’s really the best way to describe how you feel and if there’s any more unique way of saying it. We think a message like, “Your slightly sideways smile never fails to pick me up” or “I love running my hands through your fiery/ashy/golden/whatever hair” is far more personal, and your special someone will know you took the time to create the compliment just for them.
DO… Consider writing a non-romantic love letter
Why should only coupled-up people get love letters? Take the opportunity to think of all the people in your life who make it worth living – is there someone who you feel deserves some special recognition this year?
Familial and platonic relationships can be just as significant as romantic ones, and writing a letter to this type of loved one follows the same guidelines as any other Valentine’s Day note. Making it purposeful, genuine and personal is a surefire way to write an impactful letter that will be treasured, and unexpected!
DON’T… Worry about how it looks
Long or short, cursive or typed, colourful or plain – the looks of the letter don’t matter nearly as much as content. Beyond the words that express your innermost feelings, everything else is just window dressing and may even take away from the sincerity of what you’ve written. So don’t stress over æsthetics – just make sure it’s legible!
DO… Feel free to quote others
Okay, we told you to stay away from clichés because they’ve been used time and again, but sometimes someone else has already come up with the best way of saying something – and it’s totally okay to use it. If there is a quote from a film, song or poem that really captures what you’re trying to say, then we would encourage you to include this.
A quote can be the perfect way to open a letter, especially if you are feeling awkward about diving into the romance right away. As with clichés, just stay away from shoehorning in a famous or popular phrase if it doesn’t really work in the context of your relationship.
DON’T… Forget your audience
Though you may be the one feeling timid about writing the love letter, you are not actually the most important person here! No matter what you end up writing, keep focussed on the person who will be receiving the note. Rather than asking, “Is this a letter I would like to receive?”, look at it from his or her perspective and then ask the question. After all, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about having a valentine, it’s about all the reasons why you two connect and how you celebrate each other.
About Paperblanks: At Paperblanks, we believe that art should have a place in all aspects of life. That’s why we follow the artist’s way in everything we do – creating, crafting and releasing designs we believe have the power to touch people. For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.