Anatomy of a Long Distance Love Letter

by LDR Mag
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This is a guest post by Devin Redmond of Leafcutter Designs -home of the world’s smallest (and most adorable) postal service! Leafcutter Designs specializes in beautifully handmade tiny letters and packages that can be sent anywhere in the world as a special, unexpected surprise for someone you love!


Contrary to public perception, the love letter is alive and well. While texting may have replaced email as the quick and easy way to conquer vast distances, there’s still nothing like receiving a real letter to hold in your hand and read over and over again.

anatomy-love-letter-1-1As founders of the World’s Smallest Post Service, we’ve helped countless thousands of hopeful romantics send lovely missives to their long distance lovers. For this LDR guest post, we’ve adapted two choice love letters from our archives, and we dissect them in detail below.

Writing a love letter can seem like a daunting exercise. Expectations are a bit higher when receipt and response time are measured in weeks instead of minutes. Where do you start? Should you try to be funny and light or sincere and heavy? How do you make it personal and romantic without going over the top? These detailed examples will give you the inspiration and practical tools you need to put pen to paper and achieve stellar results.


Follow These 5 Principles

Before we take a look at some actual letters, here’s a quick list of what we’ve found to be the most important things to keep in mind when writing a love letter.

 

  1. Confidence is sexy so try to use clear and direct language that reflects a sense of optimism about your relationship. This is a love letter, not an “I’m sorry for…” letter, so don’t apologize for anything. There’s a chance this letter will be around for years or even decades, so make it about everything that’s going well between you and your recipient. Talk about your awesome future together instead of dwelling on the past. You can tell the person how much you miss her or him if you want, but try to only say it once!

 

  1. Write for your partner, not yourself. Think about what you want to say, and then translate that sentiment into an anecdote or story that shows how well you know your partner. Communicating a surprising insight or intimate knowledge of the other person will go a long ways towards making your reader feel loved. Find the intersection of what you want to say and what you think your partner wants to hear.

 

  1. Be open, or even vulnerable. Believe it or not, vulnerability and confidence are not mutually exclusive. It takes confidence to be comfortable with the idea of sharing your feelings and really putting it out there. A love letter is no time to play it safe. If you’re not saying anything that might get you hurt someday, you’re probably not saying enough about how you feel.

 

  1. Clichés are the enemy of a truly personal letter that connects in a strong and enduring way. A cliché is defined as, “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Use your own voice, not the collective voice of history, to communicate how you feel about this one person with as much precision as possible. Aim for specific details and avoid the urge to sum things up with a tidy phrase or general statement. Every relationship is different and has its own set of unique moving parts. Embrace that richness and mine it for details only you can know.

 

  1. Write a shorter second draft. This is good advice for pretty much any writing assignment and there’s no doubt that it works wonders on love letters. Your first attempt might try to cover too much ground or include extra flourishes. Or you might not realize what you’re actually trying to say until the first draft is done. The act of writing a shorter second draft will force you to distill your message down to one or two key themes. If you take the extra time to do this final step, we’re sure your final love letter will be tighter, more concise, and more powerful.

Sample Love Letters to Inspire You

Here’s a quick analysis of two excellent love letters sent via the World’s Smallest Post Service. Each works in a different way, but both are highly specific, revealing, and likely to have been very well received!

Love Letter Example #1

anatomy-love-letter-4

Darling M., 

Just another little note to tell you the simple truth: I love you. I’m so proud of all the work that you do, even though it’s taken you 4,130 miles away from me and I miss you like crazy.

I hope France is turning out to be everything you hoped and more. I think of you everyday, throughout the day. And I look forward to the time where the distance between us may be measured by minutes and inches, instead of months and miles. 

Sending warm snuggles, together-naps, and long comfortable silences. 

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Yours, 

L.


This Love Letter Works So Well Because It…

  • Gets off to a quick start with a simple yet strong first sentence that is direct and full of meaning.
  • Focuses on the recipient: “I’m so proud of all the work that you do,” and “I hope France is turning out to be everything you hoped and more.”
  • Uses specific and precise references like, “4,130 miles away.” This sort of information is easy to get via Google but makes a big difference.
  • Says, “I miss you,” once but doesn’t dwell on this fact. “I think of you everyday” is a more positive way to emphasize this point.
  • Keeps the focus on the future via a nicely phrased sentence that’s not a cliché: “look forward to the time…measured by minutes and inches, instead of months and miles.”
  • Includes very specific words and references that only make sense to the two of them: “warm snuggles, together-naps, and long comfortable silences”
  • Returns to the main point of the letter at the end in a strong and confident way with “I love you” repeated three times. That’s somewhat unexpected and original.
  • Is concise to the very last line (“Yours” and a single initial) with no wasted words.

Love Letter Example #2

anatomy-love-letter-3

Pastry,

 You may well be my favorite person in all of New York City. There simply aren’t enough ceramic vases in the shape of Obi-Wan Kenobi to contain my love for you. And if there were, the world would be a strange place indeed.

 I am so excited to warm up our future home together. We’ll fill it with nothing but fresh orchids, your favorite ramen dishes, and chalk outlines of the really expensive Italian furniture we’ll someday own.

 I love you with those weird spotted gumdrop things you like so much on top.

 We’ll be together soon,

Jessica


This Love Letter Works So Well Because It…

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  • Opens with a unique and personal nickname (“Pastry”) that is likely exclusive to this relationship.
  • Starts off a bit understated, but then launches into a super-random and specific reference to ceramic Obi-Wan Kenobis to nicely illustrate the writer’s feelings.
  • Talks about doing things together in the future in very specific terms that conjure up great visuals and are easy to imagine.
  • Speaks to the recipient and the couple, using words like “our,” “together,” and “we’ll” to talk about shared goals for the future.
  • Avoids a cliché by inserting an inside joke into the common phrasing of, “I love you with cherries on top.”
  • Talks about “love” twice, in clear terms and without caveats or hesitation.
  • Is short and concise with no extraneous explanations or background.

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of inside jokes, random details, and shared experiences that are unique to your relationship. Then weave the best ones into a sincere love letter that conveys one or two essential themes that you want to communicate. Write a first draft. Step away for a few minutes. Then come back to it and do a shorter second draft. Seal it up and send it off!

 Have an awesome love letter of your own to share? Email it to: khiney@ldrmagazine.com

 How did you write it? What tips do you try to keep in mind? Tell us in the comments!

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