It always seems so romantic to talk about “back in the day” when couples wrote each other letters during war time, but it’s quite another to actually have to do it!  Happily, modern technology allows us to talk with our loved ones in lots of ways, but there are still times when only letter-writing is allowed or possible.  Even when other kinds of communication are possible, letter-writing still has a special sentimentality.

Don’t let your times apart go to waste!  Continue to communicate with each other and build yourself a fantastic stack of letters to cherish for years to come with these creative letter-writing tips and ideas:

1. Military letter writing 101 – Do not decorate envelopes.

Although you may be tempted to add a sticker, doodle, or fun ink color to the outside of an envelope, don’t do it!  Especially if your warrior is at training, it will attract unwanted attention from instructors that may very well ruin the day.  Keep all of your decorating and creativity for the inside of the envelope.

2. Engage the senses.

Particularly if you’re writing to your significant other, spraying perfume or cologne on your paper can add a romantic touch he or she will definitely appreciate.  (It’s classic.)  I’ve found it works best to spray the paper before writing, since any liquid drops can make ink run.  If you do it after, be sure to hold your letter far enough away that it is misted with the scent, not directly sprayed in one spot.

3. Doodle in the margins.

Doodles and drawings are a fun addition to any letter!  It doesn’t have to be museum-worthy art; just draw pretty designs or little pictures that illustrate what you’re writing.  Heck, I drew a shrimp in the margins of a letter to Jacob once.  Just have fun with it!

4. Fold some origami.

If you’re skilled in paper-folding, make something that can be folded flat and tucked in an envelope.  A paper crane, flower, or hopping frog aren’t too hard to make and can be “fluffed” to sit on a desk or shelf nicely.

5. Include a photo.

Photos are great to send with letters because they’re flat and light.  Service members can carry them around or hang them up when they receive them.   If you go somewhere interesting or hang out with friends, take a picture holding a sign saying something like “We miss you!” or “I love you!” as a new way to share the sentiment and let your loved one know you’re thinking of him or her during daily life.

6. Embellish with calligraphy.

Do you like trying out fancy lettering?  Use markers, calligraphy pens, or colored pencils to decorate the words you write.  Highlight special phrases or important updates that your loved one can skim quickly until he or she has time to really pore over the letter.

7. Pick a random postcard.

Find a random postcard and pop it in an envelope to send to your warrior.  I always like to find really cheesy or especially lame ones.  You know, the ones that are so awful they’re awesome!  Even if you’re not traveling you can find them locally in gas stations.  It’s something interesting and different, and they’re really great for shorter notes and quick hellos.

8. Never write in pencil.

Over time, letters written in pencil will fade and the words will wear away.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be keeping these letters until the day you die, so ensure their readability by skipping the pencil and writing in ink.

Do you have any tried-and-true letter-writing tips or tricks?  What creative ideas have you used to make your mail correspondence lively and fun?