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Six tips for writing a love letter

No matter how much we strive to polish our writing skills, it’s not always easy to find the words we want to say, especially when the stakes are high. Finding the words though is worth it and a gift that money can’t buy.

On this Valentine’s Day, as you search for just the right words to write to your beloved, find inspiration in these words Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to his wife Josephine De Beauharnais.

“Dearest Josephine, I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry?  Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried? … My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for your lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives! You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.  Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire. –Bonaparte”

These tips might help you write your own love letter:

1. Write a draft. Think of your first words as a draft that you will adjust. This takes some of the pressure off and frees you to fling those words down on the page.
2. Think of special shared moment that illustrates your bond. It could be pivotal moment, happy or sad, where your beloved was present for you and it strengthened your relationship. Write about what brought you together in the first place or the small things that make your relationship tick. Show the scene — recreate the moment — and then tell what about it touched you.
3. Note unique characteristics or qualities you love. These could be the way he or she has of doing something, a mannerism, or habit that is especially sweet.
4. Use terms of endearment. If your loved one has a nickname, use that somewhere in the text of your letter. Maybe you have a private joke that no one else would get.
5. Now, just throw your heart on the page. Use sensory images to describe a shared moment. Draw on all your emotions without fear. You can be a little over the top — take a risk here. Just be yourself.
6. Write your final missive on nice paper. (Even in this electronic age, we still like something we can hold onto and save to read again later.) You might want to even draw on the envelope — hearts, XOs are nice. Get out your red crayon and go crazy.

You’ll find more letters from Napoleon Bonaparte in this Napoleonic Guide.

If you like the idea of Valentine’s Day poetry, read my post, Craft a Valentine’s Day poem for your beloved.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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