Incowrimo 2017 Letter
Ideas

Incowrimo 2017 – Writing Letters – Part 2

Incowrimo 2017 Letter

International Correspondence Writing Month. One a day. Every day. February. That's the tag line that got me interested last year 🙂 Are you ready to take on the challenge and put pen to paper?

You can read the first part of our series on Incowrimo 2017 here.

What to write always seems to be the hardest thing about Incowrimo. The good news is that it’s actually easier than you think. Reconnect with people – find something you have in common. Write about something nice 🙂 Be kind, ask questions, or just one 🙂 Keep it light.

I always mention pen and ink combo and then decorate remaining space with doodles, ink splats, stamps, washi tape, stickers, etc.

Plan your incowrimo – it’s perfectly fine to start with few quick thank you notes, postcards, Valentine’s card and slowly build up to letters.

Incrowrimo 2017 postcard ideas

In this second part of our letter writing series, we will be looking at paper and filling those envelopes.

My recommendation for a more sophisticated writing experience are the Original Crown Mill sets. Each box comes with enough stationery to get you through a month of incowrimo, easy.  The laid paper in these sets are the reason why this feels luxurious. Ordinary copier paper is no match for the ribbed texture here which looks and feels more personal. That is the tone we want for Incowrimo 🙂

The Crown Mill comes in two different sets. The gold box comes with cream coloured materials. Silver box contains white paper and envelopes.

Incowrimo 2017 letter on a desk

When I talk about writing letters I have to mention Triomphe. It is a brand of pads and envelopes by Clairefontaine – famous for its glassy smooth 90gsm bright white paper. These pads have plain paper in them and come with a ruled cheat sheet which will magically help you write in neat, straight lines. Simply genius 🙂 Envelopes are lined with white paper and the seal is diamond shaped which makes them perfect contestants for wax seals. They certainly do look classy and are fantastic value for money.

We had these pads reviewed by the wonderful Azizah on her blog. Have a look – there are some fantastic photos which will inspire you 🙂 Perfect incowrimo cue.

http://www.gourmetpens.com/2016/02/clairefontaine-triomphe-vs-original.html

My go-to is Rhodia R pad. Some may consider it as a budget option because it is just a pad. Don’t be fooled – it is gorgeous 90gsm buttery smooth ivory paper. We sell them in plain or lined paper. I pick lined over plain because when writing, I can anchor the letters to the lines and find it makes my handwriting look neater. Certain fountain pen inks ‘shine’ on ivory paper, others look great on bright white paper. My top 3 inks for ivory paper are KWZ Honey, Diamine Syrah and J Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre. Pages tear out easily, one by one, and it does look rather smart 🙂

Incowrimo 2017 letters with clips and washi tape

Last year we were part of Letters Live 2016 which was a spectacular event, defo check out www.letterslive.com for a spark of inspiration and get on incowrimo.org for further information.

Next week we’ll be helping you out with some ideas and creations we’ve been prepping for our own contribution to Incowrimo 2017 🙂 See you soon!

Incowrimo 2017 letters and ink
Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar
Ideas

Incowrimo 2017 – Writing Letters – Part 1

Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

February, the shortest month of the year is almost here... For many stationery geeks this is the time when we sit down and write one letter a day to someone. INternational COrrespondence WRIting MOnth aka Incowrimo here we go...

In the beginning it was a simple idea – write more letters. Vintage social media beats email/text every time. It is without a doubt more romantic and personal.

February was picked because it is the shortest month of the year. So if you commit, you will only need to write 28 (29 during leap year) letters, cards, postcards, notes, post-its, napkins…

Who you write to is up to you, of course. This is a fantastic way to reconnect with old friends and family. Write to loved ones, write to strangers…or write to us if you like 🙂

To start off Incowrimo, I make a list of 28 souls 🙂 Next step is my favourite one – grab all the stationery which I can find around the house/office and start brainstorming 🙂 The usual ingredients are: envelopes, paper, cards, postcards and stamps. Extras like shimmering inks, washi tape, wax seals, stamps are the cherries on top.

Bullet Journal with Incowrimo calendar

In part one of this letter writing series, we will be looking at envelopes.

Envelopes are the first thing that your recipient will see, so I try to make them stand out.

Colour usually does the trick – your bank would not send you statements in pink envelopes 🙂 Silver and gold envelopes catch the eye and say “you are special.” Plain envelopes are okay – Decorate! Why not recycle any old ones too?  Incowrimo is prime time to open that stationery drawer grab the cute stuff which is too good for use in your journals.

Check carefully that you have the correct address and also write a return address – you never know, one letter can be the beginning of beautiful pen-pal friendship 🙂

Make sure you use some kind of waterproof ink – this goes especially for fountain pen users in UK where we get a lot of rain. Iron Galls should do the trick, if you don’t have such inks, hack it with clear tape over the address or use clear wax to make it waterproof 🙂

I participated in Incowrimo 2016 while I was working on improving my handwriting. Those two go hand in hand and it was really rewarding to put all those hours of practice to some good use. Commiting to do something for a month became a lot easier as soon as I put my mobile away. Go offline and take time to unwind. Sit down, surround yourself with stationery, put nice music on and focus on someone and then just write… It is a very happy place, trust me 🙂 What are the chances that you will start a new hobby after writing 28 letters?

One last piece of advice. If you think that 28 letters is a lot and you will struggle, set yourself some kind of reward – a beautiful pen or new ink works for me every time 🙂

If you would like to join and pledge to write one letter/card/note a day please head over to www.incowrimo.org

In Part 2 of Writing Letters for Incowrimo we’ll focus a bit more on what goes in the envelope… (Hint: It’s paper!)

https://www.bureaudirect.co.uk/blog/2017/01/writing-letters-incowrimo-2017-part-2/

Stories

Who Would You Receive a Letter From?

In a recent competition we asked entrants who they would rather receive a letter from. Our process for choosing the possible letter-writers was of course a tough process of elimination and deliberation.

After receiving the much awaited results we thought to expand upon some of the most popular answers with a little bit about some of the letters they had already written in their lives. Below are the results, scroll down further to find out a little more about them.

letter results

William Shakespeare

A choice that would no doubt have yielded the most valuable letter of the bunch, since there are in fact no surviving or verified letters from the playwright himself that we know of. However what we do have is the fact that his plays themselves are stuffed with letters, like a bursting postbox. Of all his plays just 5 don’t contain letters, and there are 111 letters in total. What would you hope to hear about from Shakespeare? A secret from his plays, something about life in the Renaissance, or a love sonnet to you?

My favourite example of a letter in his plays comes from Twelfth Night, in which Malvolio is tricked into believing he is finally receiving a letter from the noble lady (Olivia) he is enamoured with. It’s a letter that contains the great line ‘be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.’ but also the letter hilariously encourages Malvolio to smile endlessly and wear cross-gartered yellow stockings, which Olivia actually hates (who wouldn’t?). Sadly Malvolio ends up being locked in a dark room and thought insane for the way he interprets this letter’s commands.

MALVOLIO
M, O, A, I; this simulation is not as the former: and
yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for
every one of these letters are in my name. Soft!
here follows prose.
127
[Reads]

‘If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I
am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some
are born great, some achieve greatness, and some
have greatness thrust upon ’em. Thy Fates open
their hands; let thy blood and spirit embrace them;
and, to inure thyself to what thou art like to be,
cast thy humble slough and appear fresh. Be
opposite with a kinsman, surly with servants; let
thy tongue tang arguments of state; put thyself into
the trick of singularity: she thus advises thee
that sighs for thee. Remember who commended thy
yellow stockings, and wished to see thee ever
cross-gartered: I say, remember. Go to, thou art
made, if thou desirest to be so; if not, let me see
thee a steward still, the fellow of servants, and
not worthy to touch Fortune’s fingers. Farewell.
She that would alter services with thee,
THE FORTUNATE-UNHAPPY.’ 142

Daylight and champaign discovers not more: this is
open. I will be proud, I will read politic authors,
I will baffle Sir Toby, I will wash off gross
acquaintance, I will be point-devise the very man.
I do not now fool myself, to let imagination jade
me; for every reason excites to this, that my lady
loves me. She did commend my yellow stockings of
late, she did praise my leg being cross-gartered;
and in this she manifests herself to my love, and
with a kind of injunction drives me to these habits
of her liking. I thank my stars I am happy. I will
be strange, stout, in yellow stockings, and
cross-gartered, even with the swiftness of putting
on. Jove and my stars be praised! Here is yet a
postscript.

[Reads]
‘Thou canst not choose but know who I am. If thou
entertainest my love, let it appear in thy smiling;
thy smiles become thee well; therefore in my
presence still smile, dear my sweet, I prithee.’ 158
Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do
everything that thou wilt have me.

Winston Churchill

Churchill came a very close second in our poll and as a well admired figure in British history, known for his rousing oratory skills as well as his wit I’m sure he would have written a very entertaining letter. For the time of year I chose an example that shows a rather different side of Churchill, in what is a very touching letter to his wife Clementine.

Their marriage was a lasting and happy one but they also had fiery arguments. Clementine was a determined, dignified, loyal, sympathetic and yet also challenging partner. She was the critic Winston heeded above all others. During their fifty-six year marriage, Winston and Clementine wrote warmly to one another whenever they were apart. They even wrote love notes back and forth to each other while living in the same house. Their letters and notes often ended with drawings illustrating their pet names for each other. I think we could all learn a little something from them.

My darling Clemmie,

… you wrote some words very dear to me, about my having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love… What it has been to me to live all these years in your heart and companionship no phrases can convey.

Time passes swiftly, but is it not joyous to see how great and growing is the treasure we have gathered together, amid the storms and stresses of so many eventful and, to millions, tragic and terrible years?…

With tender love from your devoted,

W.

J. K. Rowling

J.K Rowling receives numerous letters from adoring fans, but always seemed to find the time to respond to those who truly needed the support of someone to whom they so looked up to and appreciated the work of. Such was one tragic example of a girl who wrote to her to thank her for creating Harry Potter, her ‘best friend’ after both of her drug-addicted parents were murdered and she was left to care for her siblings at just 16 years of age.

To see this touching correspondence click here. I think letters like these show a glimpse of how much of an impact writing can have on people’s lives.

Don’t wait to receive, go and write!

Now whilst we can’t actually get you a letter from any of them, we hope you will be inspired to write some of your own letters to whomever you like, and whether it be funny, romantic or supportive, receiving a hand written letter will no doubt have a positive impact.

 

hannahbloveletters
Films

Love Letters to Strangers

In a heartfelt talk given at a TED conference several years ago, Hannah Brencher the founder of a company called ‘The World Needs More Love Letters’ gave a talk about the impact of letters in her life and what inspired her to start her very unique organisation that aims to send as many letters of love to strangers in need as possible. Whilst we at Bureau Direct have been thinking a lot lately about letters, love and (of course) stationery, we found the talk to be a moving and motivating one that made us wonder why we didn’t ourselves write or receive more love letters these days.

The thought that just a simple idea that helped one person cope with a tough time in their lives could snowball into something global and heartfelt was really touching. Many people nowadays have grown up in a world where every message we send is transient, efficient and some might even say shallow, but like Hannah says ‘what if it’s not about efficiency?’. A message of love committed to paper, even to a stranger, can be more powerful than you know.

My first thought upon seeing this was that it was simply an idea that did not fit with the English temperament and our habits of avoiding all but the most vital interactions with strangers (although that may just be a characteristic of Londoners), but if by taking just a little time to engage in something as enjoyable as writing a letter can be, one could perhaps immeasurably improve the day of someone out there. When we all face tough times in our lives, isn’t it the human thing to write and communicate some positives through writing.

Let us know about times in your life where a letter or message helped you in tough time. If some of you are inspired, why not go out and write some loving notes to strangers, or simply to your loved ones that you may not have written to in a while. You never know how big a difference it could make.

Isaac.