How (And When) To Send A Handwritten Note: 7 Tips

Sure, sending an email is quicker than picking up a pen and locating proper postage, but these days anything that involves an @ sign tends to feel a little impersonal. March is International Ideas Month and ours is to step away from the keyboard and do things the old-fashioned way, namely write some notes by hand. So with that idea in mind and seven days left to execute, we asked for advice from two letter-writing experts (over email, mea culpa!) on everything from when to write a letter to what rules to follow…and which you can break.


Ted Harrington of Terrapin Stationers

Terrapin Stationers has been making quality hand-printed stationery for over a century and Harrington is the man behind the sassy sayings that have made their way into the collection as of late (YOLO notecards are some of our favorites). We asked him to share his tips, fill-in-the-blank style.

1. Always mail a handwritten note when…you have the correct amount of postage.

2. Never mail a note when…you are a terrible speller.

3. It’s too late to send a note…never! There’s no statute of limitation on a written letter. I just received one for something I did over a year ago, and it was lovely.

4. You can add personality to notes by….using the back of a card and writing all over it, even inserting random words and thoughts. Don’t mind if it’s imperfect—as long as you’re sincere, it’s all good. And always cross out the last name on personalized stationery—it implies familiarity.


Erin Ozer, Knot & Bow

Ozer’s infectious love for letter writing (and cheerful aesthetic) helped grow Knot & Bow from an operation out of her living room to a thriving business in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Ozer’s tips, below…

5. Always mail a handwritten note when…you want to leave an impression. There is something special about the tactile quality of paper, especially in our digital world.

6. If you don’t have any stationery handy but want to say something on paper…make your own. I keep lots of kraft paper laying around just for these instances. I’ll cut it into a small square or rectangle and finish it with a sunburst sticker. It’s so simple.

7. Wait to send a note when…you’re writing about something pretty emotional. It’s always best to sleep on it (and this goes for email too). If you feel like spreading some love, though, strike while the iron is hot and put a stamp on it.

Because digital is pretty darn great too:

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