10 Tips for Effective Letter Writing (Informal or Personal)

Think of the letters and postcards that move through the mails; the news they carry, the joy and relief, the sorrow. Think of the letters you receive. Some you read with interest and delight, others disappoint you, if they are carelessly written and with little or no news in them.

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Make of your mind today to answer mail promptly and to become a first-class letter writer.

  1. Whenever you feel like or are inspired to write to a friend, do it. Don’t delay. Always keep a few postcards at hand.
  2. Don’t wait for an immortal first line. Start writing.
  3. Fill your letters with news; what you’re doing, friends you have seen, interesting incidents, lively questions. News is what makes a letter.
  4. Let your style be informal, punchy, filled with images.
  5. Try to answer questions you know your friend is interested in and, as you do so, make every words count.
  6. Avoid phrases that you hear time and time again. Examples : “Hope you are fine.’ “With these words I end my letter.”
  7. Do not start your letter with ‘I’, have a ‘you attitude’
  8. Write your address; this is a helpful courtesy.
  9. If you are not sure whether you should write a letter or not, write it, keep it aside for a day or so, and then decide.
  10. Letters make a difference. You will be surprised what one letter can do: the useful information it can convey, the change it can bring about, the encouragement it can give.

Sample personal Letter



Dear Kalyan,

As I start to write this letter you must be going to class with a great sadness in your heart that I am not with you. Many people must be wondering anxiously., ‘Where is Bhaskar ?’ I just wanted to let you know that I’m not dead, only sick. Therefore I’m unable to attend college. No need to grieve.

The doc has been unable to diagnose my disease, or rather, he had diagnosed it a dozen times. I’ve swallowed pills for malaria, typhoid, urinary infection and what not. But despite his treatment I’m better now. Should be able to come to college in about two weeks.


I suppose ragging must have started. Kuchu must be enjoying himself. Thukral, I suppose, will be getting ragged, even by the Juniors.

About things here; the election are over, the rains have come, prices are rising and the same old stuff. And Yes ! Remember L.K Ashok ? The fellow who embezzled the funds of the Dramatic society and ran way from college without paying his fees and mess bills ? He has gone and told his father than he ran way in order to escape from the police. His father thinks the police were after him for his anti-emergency activities and thinks his son a great student leader, hero, ect.

Of course, when I talked to Ashok we were both very polite and avoided that topic entirely and exchanged pleasantries in the Anglo-Saxon tradition.

By the way, we will have a method of relieving the boredom of old Srini’s classes. I’ve invented a new game and we can easily play it in the classroom. It is called “Grerao’ and is being produced by XLRI. Suits the present industrial climate, doesn’t it ? Should sell like coconuts in Kerala and assure its inventor, the Great Me, of a small fortune.


Better come and meet me at the station when I come. I’ll let you know when.



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