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Have you been knocked out of your groove? Write a letter

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy finding a letter in their mailbox from a friend or relative. But in this age of e-mail and text messaging, writing letters has become a lost art. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your writing, distracted, or out of your groove, penning a letter or two is one way to warm up your writing muscles.

If you frequently talk to or e-mail the person you’re writing to, you might think you don’t have much to say in a letter. And who wants to talk about the weather, unless there’s something drastic about it? Instead, think about how you might tell your friend a story about what’s happening in your life. Maybe you met an interesting person when you were out and about, experienced something funny in your workplace, or observed something odd on the way home from work. Be poetic. Think of just the right words to tell your stories.

Other ways to enhance or add to your letter:

  • Draw a picture to illustrate something you’re writing about in your letter.
  • Write about something you learned recently.
  • Tell something amusing about your child or pet.

Write to another writer. Write about your dilemmas with your current project, as well as what inspired you to begin it in the first place. You might write yourself out of your funk. Even today, we can find insight by reading letters of famous writers, including Ernest Hemingway, who often warmed up by writing letters. Hemingway and Anton Chekhov both wrote about mundane aspects of life, as well as their creative process.

If you don’t feel like writing a letter to an actual person, write a letter to one of your characters. Or have one character write to another character. Make some sparks fly. You just might have an epiphany about where you’re story is headed next.

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