How to write a romantic love letter

February 4, 2010 4:21:06 PM PST
Give a romantic gift on Valentine's Day that's free, memorable and personalized!

Love letter writing tips:

  • Choose the stationery ahead of time.

  • Find a quiet place to write - turn off television, radio, phones.

  • Find a time when you can be alone and uninterrupted for at least one hour.

  • State your goal out loud and then write it down on a piece of paper kept next to you as you work.

  • Don't promise more than you are prepared to deliver or ask for more than you are prepared to get.

  • Remember that it's about the other person, not about you.

  • Don't write anything negative.

  • Always use your own handwriting (unless you have a physical limitation that makes it hard to write).

  • If it helps you organize your thoughts, write a rough version or two on the computer before setting the final draft to stationery.

  • Stick to the specifics - write about tangible feelings, events and memories instead of just saying "you're so special to me."

  • Start by writing down three simple things you love and remember about the person.

  • You don't have to wait for a "special occasion."
Love letters do not necessarily need to be romantic. How (and in some cases, why) to write a love letter to:
  • Babies and children
  • Someone serving overseas in the military
  • A stranger who did a random kindness for you
  • A public figure, artist, celebrity, or hero
  • Your partner's ex-spouse
  • Someone who is in prison
  • Someone who has hurt you
  • Someone you have hurt
  • Someone you hope to meet
  • Someone who is ill or dying
  • Someone who is deceased
  • Yourself
Love Letter Anecdotes:
  • A 40-something single woman discovers that her high school boyfriend, whom she had been thinking about for years, is newly available. She writes him a frank and friendly love letter inviting him on a Valentine's weekend adventure. He accepts, and after a roller coaster start they are now happily married.

  • A father presents his college-bound daughter with a journal he had kept over 18 years of her life - 200 pages of handwritten love letters from both him and his wife.

  • A woman writes to her deceased parents to tell them for the first time about the baby - their only grandchild - she gave up for adoption. She mails the letter to her now-grown son so he will know the story of his birth.

  • A woman sends 14 love letters, on 14 consecutive days, to her husband as an anniversary gift. He keeps them permanently stacked up on his office desk.

  • A woman mails her mother 60 letters for her 60th birthday, each one a simply stated lesson she had learned from her mother.

  • A mother writes to a Vietnam war veteran whose story of unconventional heroism taught her own young sons the meaning of courage.

  • On her 50th wedding anniversary, a woman writes her husband a love letter and leaves it (along with a box of chocolates) on the bed for him to find. When she returns home she finds him sobbing with all his heart. In all their years of marriage, she had never before seen him cry. And in the following days, the already sweet and loving husband treats his wife with even more tenderness than usual.

  • A woman writes to her sister-in-law who is sinking into the depths of Alzheimer's Disease. For as long as she is able, the sister-in-law reads the letter every day for the love and memories it invokes.

  • A young woman writes a love poem about the summers she spent with her grandparents. The letter is framed, and for years hangs in their home. The poem becomes a central part of the grandmother's memorial service.

  • For 60 years, a woman has kept the courtship letters from her deceased husband. In her dying days, she rereads them for the joy of remembering how much she once was loved.

  • A son writes to his single mother on her retirement from a career in public service. For the first time, he thanks her for her sacrifices in rearing him and for inspiring him to achieve. The letter forges a new and enriched relationship.

  • A woman writes to her deceased mother to pour out her love and longing. After writing the letter, the woman reports that she is able to enjoy the religious holidays for the first time since her mother's death 10 years ago.

  • Fifty years later, a woman writes to her former college roommate to reminisce and to tell how much she has valued the friendship. The roommate responds by mail, saying it is the most wonderfully touching letter she has ever received.

  • A man writes a birthday letter to his wife, listing the 110 things he loves best about her. He leaves the letter on her pillow, and later finds her reading it and crying tears of love.

  • A man writes a love letter to his tiny hometown and mails it to the town library as a public tribute and sign of appreciation.

  • A woman whose family immigrated to the US from India when she was young writes to the African American teens who were her best friends in high school. She sends it to the Chicago Tribune hoping they might see it and know how grateful she was for their friendship.

  • A man writes to his former partner, apologizing for his actions and taking responsibility for their breakup. The letter allows the two of them to remember the good in the relationship.

  • A woman writes a letter to a boy she met 30 years ago in Poland as a teenager traveling abroad. She mails it to his hometown's newspaper.

  • A woman writes her father a love letter just weeks before he dies. The minister reads the letter as part of the service. The father had obviously been very proud of the letter, because so many people approached the woman after the service to tell them her father had shared that very letter with them.

  • A young woman writes to the four siblings she raised after the death of their parents.

  • A mother writes to her gay son to let him know how much she admires his relationship with his partner and how she delights in his sensibilities and heart.
About Love Letter Squad:

Write a Letter, Change a Life
In this two-thumbed era of constant texting and compulsive tweeting, the hosts of KUSF's inspiring and compelling Love Letters Live radio show, are bringing the vanishing art of letter-writing back from the brink of extinction. San Francisco's Janet Gallin and Tresa Eyres, who call themselves "The Love Letter Squad," joyfully preach the importance, and teach the craft, of writing personal, heartfelt, meaningful letters to loved ones.

Gallin and Eyres have a knack for finding radio guests with fascinating personal backgrounds, and eliciting their stories while coaching them in the writing of a love letter to someone significant. While a love letter can be romantic, regular listeners know it can also be an expression of gratitude and appreciation to a parent, child, friend, teacher, doctor, public figure, hero, hometown, or institution. It can be anything from a light-hearted reminder of affection to a sublimely healing gift for someone in need of an apology or forgiveness.

The hundred or so guests interviewed over the past three years include a woman writing to her deceased parents to tell them for the first time about the baby (their only grandchild) that she gave up for adoption; a man writing to his doctors and support network to thank them for helping him survive cancer; a young woman barely out of her own teens, writing to the four siblings she raised after the death of their parents; a jazz musician writing to the music conservatory that changed his life; and a mother writing to a Vietnam war veteran whose story of unconventional heroism taught her own young sons the meaning of courage.Through their affecting radio interviews, as well as their informative blogs and lively workshops, Gallin and Eyres make one thing irresistibly clear: a great love letter has the power to change lives, including the writer's.

KUSF 90.3 FM, San Francisco
Tuesdays, 7:30 - 8:00 PM, Pacific Standard Time