Love Letters as Your Art (2023)
There is nothing more powerful to your lover then a heart-felt and well-apportioned love letter.
There is no clearer format, nothing simpler than the letter. It is perfect expression and doesn't require any further decoration than a word.
The best news is, 'You can do it'. This isn't like art, or poetry, or interpretive dance - this is a format you've actually all learned in school. Letter writing, like journal or e-mail crafting is no different - nor should we induce false stress on the process. It's no different than thought.
In preparation of this article, I swept about two dozen different 'how to' lists on love letter writing. The themes are almost fully in alignment with one another - but, I've created an even simpler list for you.
Like this article, keep your letter simple.
WRITE, DRAFT, BE OK
None of us are entirely proficient in writing about love. That's because none of us are entirey proficient in love. We don't instruct it. We instead make everyone suffer through it then getting to the basic truth - love is good.
When writing a love letter, work in drafts. The best approach is to first work through a first draft. Then, put it away for a day. Return to it and do a full, fresh pass. One the second draft ask yourself, 'Am I reflecting my love in both form and language? Am I expresssing myself? Does this flow as if I were saying it to them?'
Then, let that second draft rest. On the third pass, read in the perspective of seeing this with unencumbered eyes. Then, make those minor changes to dial it in.
Ideally, with a third draft, you should be there. But you can do a fourth and so on...of course. But, you may find in habit and practicality, three drafts bring you pretty close to expressing as you intend.
EARNEST & TRUE
No one in the history of life has a voice like yours. You are unique and so is your throughts, your feelings, your penmanship, your way you approach a letter. When you've sufficiently done the practice to dial in where you are most comfortable, you've gotten to an important part in your own evolution. You have reflected yourself on a page earnestly and true.
The countless pages that surround you as you did this process simply means 'work'. They are not mistakes anymore than cooking a dish and ruining a few steps is anything other than learning in action.
In all of that, you will look at a page and see something that approximates you. You will know.
So, as you speak to your love, use your voice. Be earnest in how you love them. Use detail. Find a moment that may encapsulate that. Perhaps lead into how you'd love to see that same moment play out again in the future. No matter what you come up, use the language your partner will know, and listen for yourself to say a word or two you wouldn't normally say aloud, but felt a thousand times.
It's a love letter - then how should we love? We edify. We encourage. We celebrate. We explore the divine. We explore the best of ourselves through the best of our partner.
Say what you need to say. Take a walk. Take a day. Come back and refine the message. Whittle it down. By putting definition around it, we perfect it. After drafts and some mild work, there, on the page, is exactly what we wanted to say.
How to romance?
Explore an aspect of your love they may not know.
Explore this moment and their affect on your life.
Explore where you'd love to share a moment in the future with them.
Note the word 'explore'.
There is universality and truths in all of our experiences. Use language that taps into this. This is not a rule, mind you, but a suggestion.
There is beauty in the moment. There is spontaneity and immediency.
In the divine infinite, there is language that doesn't live in a single moment, but lives on.
It what makes Beowulf, a story poem, live for almost a 1000 years. There is a timelessness to its themes, a beauty and grandeur in its voice. You have the same, find it in the page and focus on at least one line having a bit of that in it.
FORMAT, A COMFORTABLE BEST
Like the approach of the content in your letter, it's form (how you physically write it) should be earnest and reflect you. Find the most comfortable and consistent format you can - that is you. Use the drafting process to dial it in - the beauty of drafts is they are purposefully practice gardens. In that process, get the write feel of your writing, even how long a sentence looks on a page.
Your love shouldn't judge it, if you've captured yourself in the format. I love it - there's a beauty in finding the right tools, paper or card, envelope and how you apply your love upon the page. You will destroy a lot of stationary, believe me. That means you are working.
If you are looking for a basic framework in which to work, here's how a basic letter should look:
- Stationary should be comfortable, lined or unlined, depending, you guessed it, on your comfortability - corresponding paper and envelope are perfect
- On the letter, find the format that works best in your writing and stick to it - that is your art
- The letter format could look like:
- Salutory [Dearest [Name]]
- Tying it Together
- Sweet Reprise
- Expect to go through many drafts, don't judge yourself as you grow and improve
Now, get to it and enjoy a wonderful Valentine's Day!