Tag Archives: InCoWriMo

How to Find a Pen Pal

I’m writing this post on places you can find a pen pal because…

InCoWriMo is coming up!

Midori Brass Number Template Ruler Wonder Pens Blog wonderpens.ca Snail Mail Toronto Canada

International Correspondence Writing Month is February, where letter writers unite from their individual locations, and write one letter a day for the entire month. It’s a good month because we’re just starting to become a bit batty from all the snow and winter, and it’s also a short month 😉

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Inspiration for Letter Writing – Letters of Note

We’ve made it halfway through International Correspondence Writing Month, and in case you needed some inspiration, I thought I would give you a closer look at the marvelous Letters of Note book, compiled by Shaun Usher. Who would’ve thought I’d leave the world of teaching and book reports, only to write my own…

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This big beautiful book is really a must-have for any letter writer, snail mailer or lover of the handwritten note. It has funny, tragic, love, inspirational, historical letters of all sorts. I admit, I skipped over a few letters that were pages long, but there’s enough in here to just browse through for hours again and again.

And of course, how you address the envelope before you send it out is critical. It’s the first impression that begs the reader to open this before all the junk mail and bills.

Letters of Note

Agh! What could be more important than a letter to a Top Scientist – and marked Urgent!

I’ve long been trying to convince Jon we need some custom letterhead. For equally long, Jon has been trying to convince me that I should just make up for not having custom letterhead with my words of wisdom. If only we lived in the Life Aquatic, and Bill Murray could hand me a box of my own stationery…

Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher

This AmericanAirlines stationery is enough to make me want to take a trip just to fly on a plane where I can write a letter to someone indicating my altitude and location. Obviously I would be flying to Madagascar or the Galapagos or somewhere exotic.

However, let’s be honest, if I’m going to commission a custom letterhead, I am going to take my inspiration from Annie Oakley. Yes, my letterhead really does need to be half the page.

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I guess I have a soft spot for these letters written by kids. They’re hilarious. It’s even more hilarious when the famous folk write back. In all seriousness, especially as e-mail and electronic communication are so pervasive, these letters are so precious.

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There is nothing that can beat this letter from Samuel Barber to his mother, explaining that he was not meant to be a footballer, but indeed, a composer. “Don’t ask me to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football”. 

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So whether you’re cup-of-tea-and-pen-at-the-ready, or you’re slogging through the month of letters, we’re more than halfway to the end! If you do manage to find a copy of the book at your local library or bookshop, or if you go online and see some of the bloggers and fellow fountain pen users who are taking part in this month of correspondence, I hope you find some inspiration.

InCoWriMo – International Correspondence Writing Month

Calligraphy & Lettering Uppercase Magazine Issue 23

This beautifully addressed envelope is from the Calligraphy and Lettering Issue of Uppercase Magazine

Now that you’ve been inspired by National Handwriting Day (January 23rd) to get writing again, International Correspondence Writing Month is the perfect opportunity to put those chops to good use.

The InCoWriMo challenge is to write a letter a day for the entire month of February. You can find more details here, but the gist of it is to get writing – once a day.

Here are some tips to get you through the month.

1. Get all set up! Find your paper and envelopes and some of your favourite pens or pencils and get it all together on your desk. Consider using some correspondence stationery that shows the thought you’ve put into the letter you’re writing, but some of the world’s most famous letters were scribbled on paper ripped out of a notebook.

photo-282. Check out your local Canada Post or post office for some cool stamps! I am loving these Year of the Ram stamps recently released, but they also have some older releases available that you might like. My favourites include these international stamps and these 63 cent stamps. It’s also nice to say hello to your local post office folks and appreciate what they do.

3. Take the time to create a list of people and collect some addresses before you begin – there’s nothing more frustrating than writing a letter and then spending several minutes (or more!) hunting for an address that you may not find. Having your list handy will mean as soon as you’re done, you can stamp and address your envelope with a sense of satisfaction!

4. Some people to consider writing to include:
– The obvious friends and family
– An old colleague
– A teacher from your childhood or professor from college
– Your local councilman or politician, appreciating what they have done
– Local businesses that you patronize
– Your spouse or significant other, sent to their workplace
– Your favourite (still living) author – try writing to their publisher
– Your local library
– A charity that has meaning to you
– Your favourite bloggers may have an address or PO box listed – sometimes it’s nice for them to receive encouragement since they write and write, but don’t necessarily hear back from their readers!

5. Go to your local bookshop or library and browse through a copy of Letters of Note. This collection of funny, touching, bizarre and historical letters written throughout time will surely inspire. While I love being able to flip through the pages and see the writing and descriptions of the circumstances of each letter, if you can’t get your hands on a physical copy, you can browse through their website, lettersofnote.com, to get some ideas.

Letters of Note, compiled by Shaun Usher

A letter from Elvis to US President Richard Nixon on that excellent American Airlines stationery – you write while on a flight, and you can indicate your altitude and location! From Letters of Note, compiled by Shaun Usher

6. Take it easy and enjoy yourself! Don’t worry if you miss a day or two or more. Even if you end up only writing a few letters, the important part is to connect or re-connect with people who mean something to you, your community or the world in which we all live.

7. Write to us! We are here at:
Wonder Pens – Liz or Jon Chan (preferably me, but Jon says I have to say preferably Jon)
906 Dundas Street W
Toronto, ON
M6J 1W1 Canada

*Fun fact: on our first trip away from Super (the family dog), I wrote him a postcard from Mongolia.