Life around the world

Wednesday, 30 April, 2014 - 14:35

The lost art of letter writing

by HannahW

Over recent years, letter writing has been replaced by other ways of communicating. Technology has developed so rapidly that we now expect to be able to talk to people instantly - and get a response from them almost straight away. Rather than putting pen to paper, for most of us it now feels much more natural to send texts and emails, quickly typing out our message within seconds.

Of course, there are advantages to these modern ways of communicating. We live in a fast-paced world and it’s important we keep up. We can chat to people all over the globe, within seconds! We can also edit our emails before we send them, whereas if we made a mistake on a letter, we’d be forced to cross it out or start again.

But do we ever think about what we are losing? By forgetting about the art of letter writing, I think we’re missing out. Hugely.

I don’t know a single person who would say that they didn’t enjoy receiving a letter through the post. There’s something very special about knowing that someone has taken the time to write a hand-written letter for you. It doesn’t have to be full of important news- after all, most of our texts and emails to friends are just chatting about normal things, but it feels so much more personal to receive just one letter from someone than to receive the hundreds of texts we get every week.

And it’s not only the person receiving the letter who will benefit from a lovely envelope appearing through their door. I really do think that letter writing can help the writer, too. In a similar way to keeping a diary, writing a letter to a friend can feel very therapeutic. Plus, when we know we’re doing something that will make a friend very happy, we feel good ourselves! And let’s not forget, without the letters written between various individuals in history, we wouldn’t know half as much about their lives. I recently read the letters of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and learnt so much about him. When you read a letter, whether it’s one written to you personally from a friend, or a published letter from an important figure in history, it’s as if his or her own words are jumping off the page.

Let’s begin the letter writing revolution! Who’s on board?


Do you write letters to your friends? Do you think that letter writing is an important method of communicating, or should we just move on to more modern ways of talking to people? 

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