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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Letter Writing, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 49
1. a power of incomparable worth

Photo and notes by Vicky Lorencen

Photo and notes by Vicky Lorencen

“Handwritten letters are more special. They’re heartfelt,” my teen daughter said. “They aren’t like texts. You want to read them over and over.”

Such a brilliant girl. [Mom blushes.] She recognizes the power of the written word–the handwritten word.

Eons ago I sent letters to a friend during a dark time in her life. But, to be honest, I had forgotten all about them until I received a surprise in the mail last week. My friend wrote to tell me, “Your loving, tender words were part of the life-saving medicine that kept me alive until I felt like living again.” Wow. I was clueless to the impact of my letters. Incapable of mending her broken heart or fixing her circumstances, all I had to offer were words. And so I did.

Inside her letter, wrapped in a pink ribbon, my friend tucked some of the more the two dozen letters she’d received from me and kept all these years. (See photo.) She said she wanted to return my words to me. How unexpected and exceptional! Re-reading those letters I’d penned ages ago made me grateful to know I was able to do something for a friend in need.

Words are free. Most anyone can draft a sentence. But it takes a willing writer to string those words into something meaningful and soul-touching. You have that ability. It’s a power of incomparable worth.

Whose life will be better because they received a word from you?

Take 20 minutes right now–less time than it takes to watch a sitcom–and write a letter to someone. Don’t fret over revising, critiquing, scrutinizing and all that jazz. Just let your heartfelt words flow. Then address that note, stick on a stamp and send it on its way.

Do it. Don’t delay. Exercise your power today.

To write is human, to receive a letter: Divine! ~ Susan Lendroth


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2. In Your Own Words

First drafts usually contain the words anybody can write. Revision is the key to crafting writing that sounds just like you.

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3. E-mail: A Mini Unit of Study

After reading "Technology and the College Generation," I've come to believe teachers of writing need to craft mini units of study to help kids learn to use e-mail confidently.

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4. E-mail: A Mini Unit of Study

After reading "Technology and the College Generation," I've come to believe teachers of writing need to craft mini units of study to help kids learn to use e-mail confidently.

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5. Ernest Hemingway’s Advice To a Young Writer: ‘You have to catch hell’

hemingwayIn October 1925, a young writer named Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter to a younger Canadian author named Morley Callaghan.

Callaghan was frustrated with his writing life and wrote to his friend: “Have a lot of time and could go a good deal of writing if I knew how I stood.”

Hemingway’s response is included in volume two of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, out this month. We’ve quoted his response below, great advice for writers of any age…

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6. What Would You Write To Your 13 Year Old Self?

Book_Cover_Final_three

Artist and author Allie Brosh wrote letters to younger versions of herself in her new book, including a letter to herself when she was at the bewildering age of thirteen years old.

What would you write in a letter to your younger self? Bosh published Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened this month.

In May, Brosh returned to her popular site for the first time since 2011 with an illustrated essay about depression. She also created a separate book site for her upcoming collection.

 

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7. How To Save Your Letters Online

Wish you could save your handwritten notes or letters in a digital format? Try using the Evernote app to preserve digital copies of your handwritten material.

Simply install the free app and snap a smartphone picture of your next letter–Evernote will save a copy of your letter into a cloud-based server. Follow these links to download the free app for your mobile device: iOS or Android or Blackberry orWindows Phone 7.

Check it out: “Evernote helps millions worldwide remember anything and everything that happens in their lives. Use Evernote to take notes, save interesting web pages, create to-dos and shopping lists, attach images and PDFs, and so much more. Then, watch as it all instantly synchronizes from your Mac to your smartphone, tablet and the Web, allowing you to find your memories at any time from anywhere.”

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8. How to Find a Mailbox for Your Letter

You may find yourself at some point (as this GalleyCat editor did last week) in an unfamiliar city searching for a mailbox for your letter or manuscript.

If you need to find a mailbox, simply visit the free Mailbox Map site. You can search for FedEx drop boxes, UPS stores and simple mailboxes near your address–the site will generate a Google Map showing all the mailboxes around you.

Writers around the world are taking the Month of Letters Challenge this month. To keep the letter-writers in the audience motivated in February, we are posting letter writing resources, tools and inspiration.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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9. How Letter Writing Can Help Novelists

Last month, writers around the world took the Month of Letters Challenge, a month-long letter writing marathon created by novelist Mary Robinette Kowal.

We interviewed Kowal on the Morning Media Menu podcast today, finding out how she wrote more than 300 letters in February. The author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass shared how a month of writing letters influenced work on her novels.

Kowal explained: “I said that people could write to Jane, the main character of my novels and I would answer using an actual quill. She’s been getting one or two letters a day. I’m glad she isn’t getting the volume I’ve been getting. It’s been a great exercise, people will ask me questions about the world that I haven’t thought about … it gives me an opportunity to let my character think of things that are outside the plot of my novel.”

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10. Learning from John Steinbeck Letters

Novelist Thomas Steinbeck received a mountain of letters from his father, John Steinbeck. Over at The Hairpin, the son of the late Nobel Prize winning author talked about what he learned from these letters.

Follow this link to read a letter Steinbeck wrote about relationship advice. Thomas has written a number of books, most recently The Silver Lotus. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

my father sent me this very long letter, and he had very tiny handwriting — he wrote by hand — and it was like an 18-page letter. It took me a week to decipher this thing, because of his handwriting, primarily. And when I got to the very end of it, I noticed at the very bottom, he said, “Son, I want to apologize. I would’ve sent you a note but I didn’t have the time!”

Meaning, that ultimately, the greatest amount of time in all writing is spent editing. My father said there’s only one trick to writing, and that’s not writing, that’s writing and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Like sculpture. I mean, the first thing off the top of your head isn’t the most brilliant thing you ever thought of. And then when you’re writing about it, when you want others to understand what you’re still talking about, then it really requires that you edit yourself really, really well, so that other people can comprehend it.

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11. The Rumpus Creates Letters for Kids Program

Over at The Rumpus, middle-grade author Cecil Castelluci will coordinate the new Letters For Kids program–a subscription service giving readers mail from authors who write for kids.

According to the launch page, participants will receive “two letters a month written by middle-grade authors like Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler, Adam Rex, Kerry Madden, Natalie Standiford, Susan Patron, Rebecca Stead, Cecil Castelluci, and more.” The service will cost $4.50 per month for U.S. readers, and $9 international readers. The project will expand upon The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail program for adults.  Check it out:

Some of the letters will be illustrated. Some will be written by hand. It’s hard to say! We’ll copy the letters, fold them, put them in an envelope, put a first class stamp on the envelope, and send the letters to you (or your child) … Six is pretty much the perfect age to start checking your mailbox for actual letters. And if you’ve waited until you were ten, well, you’re four years behind but still, it’s not too late. And if you’re sixteen, that’s OK, there’s still something of the kid left. And if you’re sixty, well… OK. You’re young at heart.

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12. Month of Letters Challenge Returns

Do you miss writing letters the old fashioned way? In February, author Mary Robinette Kowal will host her annual A Month of Letters Challenge, as writers around the world will try to post a letter a day.

This year, the challenge will include letter writer profiles, forums and lots of extra goodies. You can sign up at this link:

In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items. All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month. Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and write for an audience of one. You might enjoy going to the mail box again.

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13. Bubbles App Creates Handwritten Emails

Tired of sending ordinary emails with unlikeable fonts and impersonal writing tools?

The new Bubbles app lets you send emails loaded with handwritten text, doodles, photos and more. You can turn your most important emails into beautiful digital letters. AppNewser has all the details:

You can use it to create collaged messages which include images, drawings, and handwriting. Simply login to the app with your Facebook account, then begin to create a message. You can use your tablet computer or a digital drawing tablet as a surface to write your messages which will show up on the screen. You can save your work as a PDF which is then attached to the email message. You can send these messages to anyone but if you get your friends to sign up then they can “unhook” your message and add their own doodles and notes to the same page.

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14. The Day the Crayons Quit + a Giveaway

You can use The Day the Crayons Quit as a mentor text to teach everything from personification to persuasive letter writing. Find out how to use this text with your students. Also, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book for your classroom library.

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15. Letters of Gratitude

I am consistently moved by meaningful letters.  When I write thank you notes, I am sure to take time with them so the recipient can feel my genuine gratitude.  However, when I write other notes, specifically condolence notes, I find it more challenging.  (Let me be honest, I’ve even looked for mentor letters to help [...]

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16. Letter to the Author: Part of the “Share a Story, Shape a Future” Blog Literacy Tour

Check out the “Share a Story, Shape a Future” Blog Literacy Tour.  This post relates to today’s theme, “Literacy My Way/Literacy Your Way,” of the Tour, which is hosted by Susan Stephenson at The Book Chook. I loved to write as a child, but never had someone hand me a book and say, “You write a [...]

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17. “The Lost Art” of Letter Writing

I was recently talking with a friend whose daughter was spending the summer at sleep away camp.  I was curious about how she was going to communicate with her since e-mail and texting are so prevalent.  She told me her daughter wasn’t allowed to bring a smart phone and that the computer lab wasn’t open [...]

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18. If It's St. Paddy's Day, It Must Be the Illinois Reading Council

     For the second year, the TA's have been invited to present at the Illinois Reading Council.  There were three of us this time; April, Esther and myself, excited about getting the return gig. ("They liked us. THey really liked us!")

     Then we got our schedules and realized we were vying with some pretty big names to get an audience.  Just off the top of my head; M.T. Anderson (Ironically, the Award Winning Writer from my previous blog!), last year's Newbery winner Rebecca Stead, Jane Yolen, T.A. Barron, Marc Brown, Sara Pennypacker, Robert Burleigh, Mordecai Gerstein and Vaunda Nelson. Yikes! What a line up!  I had a flashback to my very first book conference (at a location I will not disclose) where I discovered I was on at the same time as Garrison Keillor!

     Given all the literary superstars, the TA's were delighted to have a full house (in a small room!) for our talk on modeling creative writing with your students in a school day that is jam packed with everything but creative writing. Or as one of my daughter's teachers told me,"Creative writing is not on the state tests."

    For those of you who were not there, I will be brief in saying that our writing exercise was to write  a thank you letter to someone who had influenced your life in some way. (When I heard the phrase "thank you note" I immediately thought of the ones I wrote as a child ---Dear MeemawThanks for the pajamas. They fit. XXXOOO Mary Ann.)  And that little gem was an actual example in my third grade grammar book!

   Our group did not disappoint. There were letters to parents, former teachers, President Carter, and even one to the Teaching Authors for our program!  We asked only for volunteer readers, and it was a rare reader who did not let their emotions overcome them at some point. Now that is good writing, if you can make yourself cry. However, I would not stress having students share with the class. Fourth grade teachers sharing is a lot different from fourth graders sharing (giggling) with the class.

   I had to leave before all the Superstars spoke, although I was delighted to be seated next to my former
mentor, M. T. Anderson, during the book signing session. Perhaps one of the other TA's will fill you in on the Big Dinner Speeches.

      Here we are, the TA's hard at work!  We were having a planning session...and supper at Augie's.
Esther, Mary Ann and Marie (our mentor/advisor) with April in back.
Same old gang, plus one of our intrepid volunteers in our workshop.

Notice that even though it was St. Patrick's Day, none of us are wearing green!

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman

1 Comments on If It's St. Paddy's Day, It Must Be the Illinois Reading Council, last added: 3/23/2011
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19. Help Me, Mr. Mutt by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

If you haven’t visited my picture book giveaway yet for Chickens on the GO!, please do so now. You don’t want to miss this SUPER CUTE picture book. Click here.

Now on to this FUNNY, FUNNY picture book that dog owners EVERYWHERE have to check out–this is another one of those picture books that are perfect for any age reader.

*Picture book, preschooler through third grader, fantasy–since the dogs and cats are writing letters :)
*Loveable dog and not-so-loveable cat as main characters
*Rating: If you love Dear Abby or any of the self-help talk shows, you will love Mr. Mutt. He solves all the dogs’ dilemmas. See if you recognize any of these going on in your home with your poor, mistreated dogs. . . (I love this book!)

Short, short summary:

Mr. Mutt accepts letters from all his dog fans, and they write him with the most common dog dilemmas of the day. For example, there’s “Famished in Florida” whose people have put him on a diet! He is so hungry his stomach is growling louder than he growls, and he also complains that the fat cat gets fancy food from a tiny can, while he gets tasteless gravel from a giant sack! Mr. Mutt sympathizes with Famished and explains to him where he can get some food–on the counter tops, the trash can, the baby’s high chair (MY DOG HAS LEARNED THAT FOR SURE!), and to top off the meal–a drink from the toilet. Then Mr. Mutt reminds Famished he is a top dog and that cats are spoiled rotten. Of course, Mr. Mutt has a cat to deal with himself, the Queen, and she writes her own opinions down. Help Me, Mr. Mutt continues in this fashion with dogs writing letters full of problems to Mr. Mutt, and he answers them back with the best dog advice, and The Queen cat also gives her two cents. It is so cute and funny, and I really think adults will get a huge kick out of it, too.

So, what do I do with this book?

1. Kids will love writing a letter to Mr. Mutt–especially if Mr. Mutt can answer them back! :) They can either write as a dog OR write as a human with a pet question. Kids would enjoy getting a letter back from The Queen, too. One huge classroom letter would do. :)

2. The end of the book is told in mostly illustrations and “newspaper” clippings. The rest of the book is told in letter form with help from the illustrations. This is a form of organization, one of the 6 + 1 traits of writing. What do kids think about the organization? Can they tell the end of the story, even though it is not traditionally told with words? Also discuss with students how picture books have much of the story in illustrations, too, and how it is important to pay attention to both the words and pictures in a picture book. (Another part of the organization is there is an overall problem–the cat/dog dilemma, and then several little problems with the individual letters.)

3. If you have to teach parts of a letter or letter writing, what a great book to do it with. It’s much more fun to learn about letter writing from a humorous picture book like Help Me, Mr. Mutt than it is from a Language Arts textbook.

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20. How Letter Writing Can Change Your Life

Can writing letters change your life? Over at the Save Snail Mail blog, a writer named Dana explained how her mail-focused blog improved different aspects of her writing life.

Check it out: “When I started this blog only a year ago, I don’t think I had any idea that I could truly transform my mailbox experience so drastically … with a lot of help from my fellow letter writers and mail artists, of course! What a lovely rebirth I’ve experienced–writing letters to people who write back, meeting new people from varied backgrounds, digging more deeply into my creative talents and coming up with some great art I didn’t know I had in me.”

Writers around the world are taking the Month of Letters Challenge in February. To keep the letter-writers in the audience inspired, we are posting letter writing resources, tools and inspiration.

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21. Letter Writing Mix on Spotify

The act of letter writing has inspired countless songs.

For your letter writing inspiration, we’ve created a special Spotify mix with an hour of inspiring music–plenty of time to write some letters this weekend. Follow this link to listen to the whole Spotify playlist.

Writers around the world are taking the Month of Letters Challenge this month. To keep the letter-writers in the audience motivated in February, we are posting letter writing resources, tools and inspiration.

continued…

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22. Letter Writing Mix on Spotify

The act of letter writing has inspired countless songs.

For your letter writing inspiration, we’ve created a special Spotify mix with an hour of inspiring music–plenty of time to write some letters this weekend. Follow this link to listen to the whole Spotify playlist.

Writers around the world are taking the Month of Letters Challenge this month. To keep the letter-writers in the audience motivated in February, we are posting letter writing resources, tools and inspiration.

continued…

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23. Join the Letter Writers Alliance

Writing letters this month? Letter writers around the globe have joined the Letter Writers Alliance, a place to meet new letter writing friends. Kathy Zadrozny and Donovan Beeson founded the group in 2007 to keep the art of letter writing alive.

Check it out: “With a combination of both online presence and in person gatherings we strive to give people the tools to maintain the art of letter writing. With over 2,000 members worldwide, the member site is the biggest part of the Alliance. We offer free printable downloads, exclusive member products, and vintage postal items.”

Follow this link to get a $3 membership. With the membership, you can join the group’s pen pal swap, a way to make new friends at the mailbox. This GalleyCat editor joined last week, receiving the letter posted above in the mail.

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24. Join the Letter Writers Alliance

Writing letters this month? Letter writers around the globe have joined the Letter Writers Alliance, a place to meet new letter writing friends. Kathy Zadrozny and Donovan Beeson founded the group in 2007 to keep the art of letter writing alive.

Check it out: “With a combination of both online presence and in person gatherings we strive to give people the tools to maintain the art of letter writing. With over 2,000 members worldwide, the member site is the biggest part of the Alliance. We offer free printable downloads, exclusive member products, and vintage postal items.”

Follow this link to get a $3 membership. With the membership, you can join the group’s pen pal swap, a way to make new friends at the mailbox. This GalleyCat editor joined last week, receiving the letter posted above in the mail.

continued…

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25. How To Save Your Letters Online

Wish you could save your handwritten notes or letters in a digital format? Try using the Evernote app to preserve digital copies of your handwritten material.

Simply install the free app and snap a smartphone picture of your next letter–Evernote will save a copy of your letter into a cloud-based server. Follow these links to download the free app for your mobile device: iOS or Android or Blackberry orWindows Phone 7.

Check it out: “Evernote helps millions worldwide remember anything and everything that happens in their lives. Use Evernote to take notes, save interesting web pages, create to-dos and shopping lists, attach images and PDFs, and so much more. Then, watch as it all instantly synchronizes from your Mac to your smartphone, tablet and the Web, allowing you to find your memories at any time from anywhere.”

continued…

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