Finding Who to Write.
Are you looking to 'write more letters' but don't know who to write? There are great resources out there for you to explore and find the right pen pal or mail exchange program for you. Here at Flea Market Love Letters, I'm a big fan of pen pals - so much so that I've met several of mine in person around the globe! In this post I'll recommend some of the classic ways to find a pen pal in the digital age, as well as a website that will help match your letters with a 'one time' recipient.
I was inspired to write this post when I came across this list of the '5 Best Sites to Find Pen Pals' recently and while I haven't tried them myself it's great to see letter writing (and pen paling!) trending. Here are just a few of the sites I'm familiar with for letter writing:
I've chatted briefly about Postcrossing, the global postcard exchange program, before but if you're looking for a short and sweet way to get started this might be the choice for you! What's cool about the Postcrossing system is how you can track and log your postcards. So, if you're anything like me, and you're fascinated by the journey that our mail makes to get between A and B you can have a lot of fun with Postcrossing! Be aware that the participants of Postcrossing aren't always looking for pen pals more so than collecting the various international postcards so be sure to communicate with your recipient about what is best for them!
And don't forget to celebrate World Postcard Day on October 1st -- Postcrossing every year does a fabulous campaign to promote postcard (and letter!) writing. Some celebrate by getting together and writing postcards on the day, while others might drop postcards in the post a bit before October 1st so they might arrive on the day to friends, family or Postcrossing matches! Whatever your style, Postcrossing is a great way to get started casually writing.
Started in 2020 by New Yorker writer Rachel Syme, the project 'Penpalooza' is how I myself got involved in pen paling during lockdown. Now in it's newest generation, Syme is making matches (at the time of this writing) which you can learn more about here. Using a secret santa service Syme matched over 15,000 pen pal'ers during the height of lockdown and continues to bring letter enthusiasts together around the world.
I found many of my Penpalooza penpals on Twitter (known as 'X' at the time of this writing) where I became involved in the community. It's a lovely space full of stickers, washi tape, and envelope artists. If you're looking to get into a cycle of letter writing with a pen pal, Penpalooza is a wonderful place to start.
A note on mail exchange programs: As always, exercise caution and think carefully about exchanging details with a 'stranger'. If at any point you feel uncomfortable you are 100% within your rights to stop writing. Pen friends can be some of the best relationships in your life but you and your safety are always the first priority.
From Me to You & Donated Letters:
If you're looking to write letters but aren't interested in receiving a note in return, consider the From Me to You 'Donate a Letter' program. Your donated letters will be collected by FMTY volunteers and sent off to people experiencing Cancer at home, hospitals and hospices.
Not sure where you'd get started writing to a stranger, let alone someone living with a Cancer diagnosis? The lovely team at FMTY have you covered with this list of tips on how to open your letter. Once you write one you'll find they come easier every time. And always remember that your letters have the power to make someone's grey day brighter. So turn the self critic down a bit and see what happens when you just sit and let the letter flow!
There you have it -- a handful of ways to get started letter writing, today. Have a question or a pen pal program you'd like to recommend? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.