We have a pen pal sign up running at the moment, and it has prompted a fair few questions. I thought it would be useful today to share the easy way to pen pal, a few simple tips and reassurances so that as many of you as possible can enjoy this lovely hobby.
How To Start to Pen Pal
OK, right now is a good time to get going, as I have the pen pal sign up running.
I only run these once or twice a year and they’re only open for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, so if you’re considering trying this, now is a good time!
If you’re reading this and the sign up has now closed, then I would suggest joining our Bring Back Paper Facebook group and looking for a pen pal there, or pop over to Where to Find Pen Pals for more suggestions.
Finding a pen pal or two needs to be your first step, and after that all the fun can begin.
I shared my guide How To Start to Pen Pal here, with more details.
Just Focus On The Friendships
If you search for pen pal information these days, you can often be bombarded with all sorts of artistic and crafty images. Do not be put off by this!
Whilst some people do enjoy mail art and paper crafts with their pen pals, the vast majority of people don’t. It is about the friendship.
If you want to decorate your envelopes, then go for it! It’s always lovely to receive pretty post and it might be that you spend a happy afternoon crafting and creating yourself. But, if this isn’t what you want to do, do not be put off getting pen pals because you don’t feel you have the time, talent or inclination to create.
I would also stress that people of all ages love to pen pal. You’re never too young or too old for this!
My pen pal sign up has a minimum sign up age of 18, though I know plenty of younger people love this hobby, my daughter included. There is no maximum age and I think from memory, octogenarians are the oldest we’ve had sign up in our swaps so far. There are many people at every stage of their lives looking for pen pals.
Pen pals want to hear from you. A chatty letter is always going to be well received, and if you’re unsure where to begin, do read what to write to your pen pal.
Make An Easy Start
As I get these queries so often, I want to do all I can to encourage people to have a go at this hobby and make it as easy as possible.
This is why last year I launched the original Pen Pal Pack.
As with all products in my Etsy store, the Pen Pal Pack is a downloadable product, so you can get to it immediately. You can then print off as many copies as you want to, so you have writing stationery and fun mail tags to use forever more!
The pack also includes a pen pal log, happy mail tracker and a few pen pal tips. I want to make it as easy as possible to start writing to pen pals and keeping on top of your new hobby.
It can take a while to build up a relationship with your pen pals. Give it time.
Snail mail is all about taking your time to get to know someone. Letters will fly back and forth and gradually you will get to know your pen pal.
People also have different expectations when they write, so be ready to adjust yours accordingly.
Some friends might like to just drop postcards or short notes to you, others might write long letters every time. The variety can keep it interesting! I have pen pals sitting in both of these categories, and many somewhere in between.
Life happens and people’s circumstances can also change. Sometimes you might not hear from them for a while, sometimes they will no longer write back. It does happen.
Some people will become lifelong pen pals with you, others might shoot you a postcard when they grab a moment. Enjoy the happy mail when you can.
I have shared more of my top tips for pen pals in the video below, as this includes more tips and ideas for you.
There are plenty of other pen pal videos over on my YouTube channel too, so do take a look at those for more advice and inspiration.
Having pen pals is a fun hobby to have. You don’t need to overthink it. It’s as big or small a commitment as you make it.
Pen pals are a way to make friendships far beyond your own town or city, a way to connect with like-minded people on the other side of the world, and a surefire way to brighten your mailbox once in a while.
What do you think? Could this be for you?
If you’re new to Bring Back Paper, you can find out more about it all here. You can join our Facebook group here and you can sign up to join my mailing list below, for all the latest news, updates, ideas and activities.