Rekindling the Art of Letter Writing | Christopher Mitchell | Skillshare

Rekindling the Art of Letter Writing

Christopher Mitchell, Writing Mentor

Rekindling the Art of Letter Writing

Christopher Mitchell, Writing Mentor

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9 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introducing the Course

    • 2. About our Course Project

    • 3. Modified Block Letter Format & Talk about the Writer's Tone

    • 4. Descriptive Writing: Engaging the Five Senses & Avoiding Purple Prose

    • 5. Descriptive Writing: Discussing Vivid Word Choice, Metaphor, Simile & Personification

    • 6. Sentence Structure: On How to Tighten up Writing & Creating Rhythm in Writing

    • 7. Discussing the Letter of Gratitude/Appreciation & the Letter of Advice

    • 8. Discussing the Love Letter & the Letter to the Future

    • 9. A Quick Review & Thank You!

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About This Class


My new course Rekindling the Art of Letter Writing is available just in time for Valentine's Day.

We live in an era in which instantaneous communication rules our lives. We have email, social media, text messages, phone calls, and more to keep in touch with friends and family.

These are convenient tools of communication, but how much time and thought do we put into the messages we send with them?

From my experiences, the lightning fast communication tools leave little room for reflection or introspection. That’s where the personal letter comes in.

When we write a personal letter, the writing process allows us to slow down and ruminate over the relationships we cherish.

It allows us to think deeply and carefully about what we write to the recipient. Much like a thoughtful gift, a well written personal letter can also be like an extension of one’s personality.

At its core, this is a course about writing great prose. Here is what you will learn:

1. Basic tips for developing a writer's tone;

2. An introduction to modified block letter writing format;

3. Tips for writing great prose including descriptive writing that evokes the five senses;

4. The importance of vivid word choice;

5. How to vary sentence structure to create an engaging rhythm in your writing;

6. An overview of four types of personal letter: a letter of gratitude or appreciation, a letter of advice, a love letter, and a letter to the future.

These are skills that of course will transfer to other forms of writing. By the end of this course, you should feel comfortable and confident writing long form correspondence. 

Please consider enrolling in Rekindling the Art of the Personal Letter today!

Meet Your Teacher

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Christopher Mitchell

Writing Mentor


Christopher Mitchell is a writing instructor with a big heart and an unwavering love for the craft. He has taught writing for more than ten years for Marshall University, Ashland Community College (Kentucky), and Cabell County Public Schools in Huntington, WV.

His writing instruction philosophies borrow heavily from the masters in the field including Don Murray, Peter Elbow, Annie Dillard, and Natalie Goldberg.

Join him for engaging writing instruction across genres.

See full profile

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1. Introducing the Course: hello and welcome to our course, rekindling the art of letter writing. My name is Christopher Mitchell, and I'm your instructor. I'm excited about the potential for this course. Through careful study, we'll explore riding techniques. They'll provide the impetus for writing superb personal letters. Ultimately, I hope that this course will inspire you to write great pros. And if you give the dedication, the necessary time and the compassion for writing, your letter will inspire entertain, express strong emotions. And hopefully it will be something that would be shared and appreciated as keepsakes between friends and family. Before we look at our expectations for the class project, let me explain who I am. I have been a riding instructor for more than 10 years. I've taught writing to adults in college and university writing courses and to middle school and high school students. So I have a wealth of experience working with aspiring writers in many settings have also written professionally for more than 15 years, having contributed to newspapers, magazines, blog's and more. The skills we will utilize in this course are skills that inspire my teaching and my writing. Now let's talk about the class project you may write your letter to whomever you choose, whether it's a friend or family member, perhaps someone you admire from afar or someone you might meet in the future, such as an unborn child. What I ask is that you take the lessons to heart, study them for inspiration and allow yourself the time patients and self confidence to develop great pros. In an age when instant communication through one of many electronic means is possible, I realize some might think the letter is anachronistic, something old fashioned and relegated to a time when communication was slower. But I think this is like suggesting that instant coffee were a place, a traditional brew. For that, a microwaved meal is better than a family recipe. The letter should not have to be consigned to place lower than other forms of communication . The reason is simple. Fast one sentence emails or one phrase text messages cannot take the place of sincere, meaningful letters. Letters in this course could be hand written or typed, depending on your personal preference or what you think the situation dictates. Just remember that the well written letter is an extension of ourselves. Letters gonna reveal great insight about the times in which we live. And frankly, it's a way that future generations might get to know our personalities in ways that other mediums of communication may not show. In our next video, we will discuss the class project in more detail as well as began discussing some of the techniques that we use in the class. I hope you'll join me. 2. About our Course Project : Welcome back to our course. In this video, we will discuss project details and some of the basic elements of great pros before we dive in. Let's talk about the personal letter and what we have such a strong appreciation for it. We live in an era in which instantaneous communication rules our lives. We have email, social media, text messages, phone calls and mawr to keep in touch with friends and family. These air convenient tools of communication. But I wonder how much time and thought we put into the messages we send with them from my experiences. The lightning fast communication tools leave little room for reflection or introspection. That's where the personal letter comes in. When we write a personal letter, the writing process allows us to slow down and ruminate over the relationships we cherish. It allows us to think deeply and carefully about what we write to the recipient. Much like a thoughtful gift. A well written personal letter can also be like an extension of ones personality. When I write personal letters, I prefer to do so by hand. Ah, you stationary, purchased from a local mom and pop shop in a trusted fountain pen. I love how the pain feels in my hand as I write. It's smooth a silk, and the marks looks sharp on the rough hewn stationary I write. Long form letters sometimes take several days to write, not because I struggle for words, but because I want to make sure I find the right ones to receive. A personal letter is just his grand. Here's a quote often attributed to the actor Steve Carell that summarizes the feeling nicely. Sending a handwritten letter is becoming such an anomaly is disappearing. My mom is the only one who still writes me letters, and there's something visceral about opening a letter I see here on the page. I see her in her handwriting. It's a bittersweet statement because the personal letter isn't utilized as much as it once waas. But when we take the time to write thoughtful personal letters, we enrich the lives of their recipients. So that's where you come in. In this course, I will ask you to write one of four types of personal letter. Your choices will include a letter of gratitude or appreciation, a letter of advice, a love letter or a letter to the future, we will discuss how to approach each of these types of letters in later videos. For now, know that you can write these letters to whomever you choose living or dead riel or imaginary. For the letter to the future. You might even consider writing to an unborn family member, such as a future child or sibling. You may write your letters by hand, or you can type them. All I ask is that you post a finished copy toe. Our project gallery doing so allows the course to thrive on skill share so that more and more students confined it. At the core of this course is an exploration of the techniques and tools to write great pros. We will also explore these techniques to enliven your correspondents. These are skills that of course, will transfer to other forms of writing. Among the skills. We will discuss our concepts like riding with the five senses, using local color and literary devices such as metaphor, simile and personification. We will also talk about ways to develop a personal style by tightening up your writing in creating rhythm of language and sentence structure. By the end of this course, you should feel comfortable and confident writing long form correspondents in the form of a personal letter. When you're ready, let's move along to the next video. 3. Modified Block Letter Format & Talk about the Writer's Tone: welcome back to our course, rekindling the art of letter writing. In this video, we will talk about the format for the letter as well as traditionally acceptable greetings and closings. We will also look at ways to open the conversation, ways to keep your reader involved and ways to wrap up the conversation. Notice how I use the word conversation, even though your work will be entirely one sided. Let's imagine that this is a person you were sharing a conversation with, perhaps an old college friend you haven't seen in many years. Maybe it's a love interest or a family member who means a lot to you. Remember that the personal letter is a reflection of great conversation. This is important to understand for another reason. Each letter has a specific audience, and the way you write to that person is key. If it's a distant relative to whom you're writing, you may not know that relative well, so you may keep your writing style more formal or reserved, just as you might in a conversation with someone you do not know very well. If you're writing a letter to your best friend, you might allow the conversation to be more relaxed and jovial. Now let's talk about the format of the letter. There are a few different ways the foreman of the letter is taught, but for the sake of time, I will use just one traditional format. The letter should have a heading. If a reader begins reading her letter from the top of the page, this information will help show them who is writing the letter. You should place your heading with your mailing address in the top right hand corner of the paper. Providing this information makes it readily available. Should your correspondent wish to write back, you should then include a salutation or greeting addressed to the correspondent. You have a few options here for a salutation, including the traditionally acceptable dear, which could be used in nearly any situation and with any audience. Other formal salutations include Greetings, good morning or good afternoon. Less formal salutations include the words hello or hi. Remember your audience, though. How do you know this correspondent? That should be a factor when you choose your salutation. Next, consider how you will address the correspondent should you address them by their first name , or perhaps by more formal greetings, such as Mr or Miss Again. This depends on your audience. How will you know them and how relaxed or how formal you think your letter should be? The salutation sets the tone for your writing tone is often synonymous with the word attitude. In other words, your tone and writing is comparable to your tone of voice in spoken conversation. In writing, your tone or attitude towards your correspondent is important to consider. You might consider a formal, cautious or even a distant tone or an informal, warmer tone in your letter. Again, depending on who you wish to correspond with, it is important to note that we establish our tone through the language we use. We establish our tone in the way restructure sentences and use punctuation. We also established tone when we combined deliberate language choices and sentence structure. Your opening paragraph should begin like a conversation should. You should introduce yourself, of course, and mentioned why you are writing. You might also complement the correspondent or mention a pleasant experience the two of you may have had, just as you might in a typical conversation, the opening paragraph or statements allow you to break the ice with the correspondent. It allows the two of you to settle in for a good conversation. The one thing I would certainly avoid in the project like this one is insincere. Small talk. Nothing is more off putting than receiving a letter full of vagaries or generic questions or statements. You want to use the first paragraph of your letter to make a connection. Do so with writing that hooks your correspondents attention. It makes them want to keep reading. After you established this connection in your introductory paragraph, you could then use the body paragraphs of your letter to provide details. This is where you can ramp up your writing with descriptive writing, varied sentence structure and more. We will discuss these points in depth in the next video. Your closing paragraph allows you to wind down your conversation. This is the part of the letter where you might recap important points or reiterate your purpose for writing. You might also ask the correspondent to keep in touch with a follow up letter. Finally, you should close the letter with a simple statement called the complementary Closing. This is typically a one word or two word phrase that precedes the sender's signature. The complementary closing you choose also depends on your tone again. Is this a formal letter? If so, you might choose a closing like warm regards or, sincerely, a more relaxed tone might call for a closing like take care or love always. Then you sign your name in the next video. In our course, we will discuss some techniques for writing great pros. We will discuss riding with the five senses local color and literary devices such as metaphor, simile and personification. I hope you will join me. 4. Descriptive Writing: Engaging the Five Senses & Avoiding Purple Prose: welcome back to our course, rekindling the art of letter writing. In the previous video, we discuss tone. One of the ways to create a writer's tone is with word choice. In this video, we will discuss techniques to further develop your tone and help you start writing great pros. First, let's define what pros actually is. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it in a way that best fits our goals for this course . Prose is the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing and a second definition a literary medium distinguished from poetry, especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm. And it's closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech. Much written correspondence is typically written and what we might call ordinary language. And while several books have been written on the topic of writing better prose, I want to give you just enough information to write an outstanding letter that conveys emotion, exhibits great vivid word choice, gives great insight into who you are as a person and potentially stands the test of time as a friend or family members. Personal keepsake. Perhaps a letter you write in this course will be passed down from generation to generation in your family. Let's get started with a brief discussion about writing with the five senses touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. Good descriptive writing always comes back to the five senses and using specific descriptive language. Let's look at a part of a letter written during World War. The letter was written by Lloyd Maywood Staley to his girlfriend, Mary Beatrice Grey. The description in the first paragraph plays to the senses quite well. My dearest Mary were in the Army. Now I'm sitting inside our little old tent, listening to the gentle patter of the rain drops on the canvas. It began raining here this morning, and it is still at it. No drill today, so I'll have time to write a letter or two. We got into the city all okay, marched up to the armory and had dinner. They have mess in the armory. We have to march back and forth to eat. You can see more letters written between these two correspondents at this website. I also place a live link to the Web page in our course materials. What works so well in this introductory paragraph is the writers ability to capture a scene . We can imagine the sounds of the general patter of raindrops on a ragged old canvas tent we can hear and see soldiers marching to the armory. What is especially effective here is that the writer uses just enough description to allow readers to interpret the scene for ourselves. The reader is not overwhelmed with too many details. Instead, we start asking our own questions, such as I wonder what he had for dinner. I wonder what the armory sounded like. This example of descriptive prose gives us vivid imagery but also piques our curiosity. That's an important point. Sometimes writers try to create a scene is too busy or overwhelming. They might try to write prose in a flowery, overindulgent way. There's a term for that, and we want to avoid it. It's called Purple Prose. It's a way of describing showy, an elaborate writing. The practically smothers the reader in $5 adjectives at overwrought expressions in an old classic book on writing the elements of style, purple prose is explained as hard to digest, generally unwholesome and sometimes nauseated. Here's an example of purple prose from the 2012 Bulwer Lytton Fiction contest a tongue and cheek competition that rewards intentionally bad fiction writing. William, his senses roused by warm, fetid breeze, hoped it was an early springs. Equinox will thaw, causing rivers to swell like the blood and gorge gum lines of gingivitis, loosening winters, plaque exposing decay and allowing the seasonal potpourri of Mother Nature's morning breath to permeate the surrounding ether. But then he awoke to the unrelenting waves of his wife's halitosis. Again, it's a tongue in cheek passage, but it's a great example of purple prose. Writing. Great description also relies on choosing specific language to engage your reader. We will discuss a few of these techniques, including specific word choice. In our next video, I hope you will join me. 5. Descriptive Writing: Discussing Vivid Word Choice, Metaphor, Simile & Personification: Welcome back to our course. In our previous video, we defined pros and gave some examples of great prose writing and also what to avoid in purple prose writing. I want to continue our discussion in this video about great language choices. Writing great description also relies on choosing specific language to engage your reader. For example, instead of writing about a car, why don't mention the make and model? A black 1993 Corvette gives the reader much more to appreciate than a simple expression, like a black car. An angel food cake sounds more delicious than just a cake. We could hear the chirps of a robin in the field. Sounds better to the ear. Then we could hear birds chirping. All of those specific examples get the reader something to enjoy, and they play to the senses quite well. Also note that local color can be important to a letter. This is descriptive writing that is unique to a location or a region. For example, the local color of the Appalachian Mountains might describe lush green forests, raging trout streams, black bear sightings, strenuous hiking trails and trickling waterfalls. Sometimes aspiring writers neglect their local surroundings when they write prose, someone living in a large city will not have the same experiences as someone who lives a country life and vice versa. Local color cannot great details here, writing. Do not underestimate its potential. Last, Let's briefly discuss metaphor, simile and personification. We don't want to over use these literary devices, but a well placed example. Canoe wonders for the imagination. Here, examples of each a metaphor is a comparison of two different things, but it doesn't use words like like or as it makes a description more interesting or powerful, though you might hear descriptions like he had a stone faced expression or time is money. The's air figurative expressions that obviously are not to be taken literally. But once again they do wonders for the imagination. Assembly compares something to something else, and he usually uses words like like or as. Here's an example of a well known simply from the movie Forrest Gump. Life is like a box of chocolates Forest, then goes on to explain how these two things are alike when he says, You never know what you're going to get. Personification is giving human characteristics or qualities to something that isn't human or something in animate. Here are two examples. The light from the campfire danced across the water and an angry snowstorm attack Knoxville . Obviously, light cannot dance, and a snowstorm typically is not angry, and it certainly cannot attack a city. But these are examples of the way so we can personify to objects. These literary devices Canoe wanders for prose, writing if they're well placed and not overused. But that's key again. We want to avoid purple prose nightmares. So used the's literary devices sparingly in this project. In our next video, we will look at more techniques to make your writing pop. We will talk about using sentence structure and punctuation to create rhythms in your writing who also talk about ways to tighten up your writing. I hope you will join me. You 6. Sentence Structure: On How to Tighten up Writing & Creating Rhythm in Writing: Welcome back to our course. In the two previous videos, we looked at ways that descriptive writing can improve pros. Now let's talk about sentence structure and how you can use punctuation and other literary tools to create rhythms and writing to captivate your audience. Another key point to remember is that great prose writing expresses thoughts and ideas concisely. That means to write great pros. We also must tighten up our writing. We must give it some punch to do so. First, we write rough or sloppy drafts to get her ideas on the paper. We start to organize thoughts and take her with word choice to use assembly to describe the process. Writing is like whittling wood. We carve it repeatedly, looking for ways to shape and reshape our work. I discuss rough drafts more in depth. In another course, I teach on skill share called writing without fear. Please consider enrolling, especially if you like what we've covered in this course, referring again to the elements of style. There are two steadfast rules in this book that we should take to heart be clear and omit needless words. Let's dress these rules in our courses. Well, we want to write clear and concise letters with a strong tone. We want to declutter our writing. Here's how we can do it. Let's avoid week qualifiers. A qualifier is a word that is added to another word to change its meeting. Qualifiers or common in speech. But they make are writing suffer. Here's some examples. This is a very good apple. She was somewhat taken aback. He was probably walking home around midnight. We can improve these examples by deleting the adverbs instead of writing a very good apple . Let's use a phrase that packs more punch. A delicious apple or a crisp sour apple will do the trick. Let's change our second example. She was offended or she was mortified are also improvements. Instead of writing, he was somewhat strolling home around midnight. Try. He was strolling home at midnight or he was ambling home at midnight. Both examples improve the statement and remove any doubt about what he was doing. Not only do we remove the weak qualifiers in these examples are specific. Word choice makes the image pop. Qualifiers are most useful when you must cast doubt on something. If details are fuzzy or inconsistent, you can use a qualifier like probably or generally, if not find a specific adjective. Instead. That brings us to another point about adverbs. Some writers think we should never use adverbs. Others think we should limit thumb. I fall into the latter camp. Do not over use adverbs, I think. Instead we confined specific adjectives that will do the trick. But which adjectives are best. Remember that we said prose is ordinary language, and we should use adjectives that people readily understand. In a previous video, I also mentioned that you should avoid $5 words. The's air elaborate words often words that are rarely used in common speech that can confuse a common reader. There is a time and place to use $5 words, but in the pros we will write in this course, clear and precise adjectives will serve our readers quite well. Let's talk some more about tightening up your writing. Sometimes problems arise when you write in the passive voice here, a couple of examples to write in the active voice. A statement might read. Like this one. The teacher answers the students questions in the passive voice. The students questions are answered by the teacher. Here's a second example in the active voice she slammed, the car breaks in the passive. The car brakes were slammed by her. When you write in the passive voice, you weaken the action verb. And as you can see in examples here, you're writing takes on a stringing wordiness. Learn to spot the passive voice in your writing and correct it you're writing will be more clear and concise. Last, Let's look at ways to create rhythm and writing by alternating short and long sentences. Sentence variety is key. Let's read a short passage together to see how it works. Our rusty Chevy pickup truck sounded like a Niang Bronco as we lurched forward onto the sun baked blacktop. It was 90 degrees that afternoon. We had eaten to toaster pastries each for breakfast, and that was several hours ago and we still had another 50 miles to travel. We were on our way to Cincinnati, the Queen City, the home of reds baseball. Did you hear the sound of the punctuation in this passage? Did you hear how the short, abrupt sentences broke up the passage right before it started to sound monotonous? In some cases, I'm breaking long help rules about proper writing. I have abrupt phrases, standing alone, a sentences and a potential run on sentence tossed into the mix. However, this is not traditional academic writing were practicing here. Great prose. Writers break these rules all the time because they have an obligation to the reader toe hold their interest to excite them, to entertain them, to make them feel powerful emotions with practice. Your writing voice will do so, too. I encourage you to try it in our class project. These are a handful of tips to consider for our letter writing project. In the next few videos, we will discuss briefly the content of great letters. I hope you will join me. 7. Discussing the Letter of Gratitude/Appreciation & the Letter of Advice: welcome back to our course. Is there a better feeling than receiving a gift, especially when the gift giver has taken great pains to make it? Letters are no exception as we begin discussing components of great letters for our project . Remember this. A good letter should make the recipient feel special months or even years from now. People may not remember what you wrote in your letter, but they will remember how you made them feel. Let's talk first about the letter of gratitude or appreciation. There are a few ways we can approach this type of letter. The more practical thank you letter should be written and delivered promptly. This type of letter is polite to send after a CD in Gift, a special favor or a job interview. Let's look a little deeper, though. Let's look at a letter of gratitude that transcends practicality. Let's talk about writing a letter that is deeply personal, evokes emotion. It makes the reader feel special. Maybe it's a letter to a grand parent, a caring mentor or a former teacher. Take the memories about this person and craft a letter that explains why they have inspired you. Molded or shaped your thinking or taught you something invaluable above all right from the heart. This type of letter requires a lot of reflection. It is also a letter in which you can demonstrate vivid word choice because this type of letter allows you to slow down and think about what you want to say and how to say it. In the first paragraph, you might consider opening with a vignette. A vignette is like a short story or passage retelling. A particular moment in time website called Literary Devices sums it up nicely. Evan, yet is a carefully crafted verbal sketch that might be part of some larger work or complete description in itself. You might write a vignette describing a particular moment or retelling a memory you share with your correspondent. Here's where you should express your gratitude. Also mentioned how you remember what this person has done for you. You can write as many body paragraphs as you wish. The body paragraphs allow you to expound or explain in more detail the feelings you have expressed in your first paragraph to use a metaphor. The body paragraphs also allow your writing to breathe. They allow you to dig deeper into your memory and into your heart. You should use your last paragraph toe wind down the conversation, tie up any loose ends you want to mention before you close the letter. You might also ask your correspondent to write back when they have time. A lot can be said about the way a letter of gratitude will make the recipient feel. But just as importantly, it can provide overwhelming happiness. For the writer to express deeply held feelings is wonderful for the soul. The letter of gratitude is one of the four types of letters you may consider writing for our class project. The second type of letter you might consider for our project is a letter of advice. This type of letter can be a wonderful tool to help guide a friend, colleague or a child. And interesting, perhaps even more challenging letter for this project might be a letter of advice to yourself. You might imagine writing a letter to encourage or inspire yourself toe, learn new skills or change your lifestyle in some way. It's important to maintain a warm, caring tone in this type of letter while trying to avoid a tone that feels more like a lecture. Otherwise, your correspondent, my tune out what you have to say. This type of letter also allows you the opportunity to be a change agent. Perhaps someone you know has fallen on hard times. Maybe they find themselves stuck in a rut. Maybe they need to make a decision to improve their lives but don't know where to turn. You can provide encouragement to help someone in need. This letter might also be a good alternative to a phone call, because you can invest your time and focus on choosing the best pieces of advice you wish to share and, of course, to finding the best words to express them. On the other hand, you should also way the sensitivity of your message. Consider your role in the person's life and do make sure that you are clear, consistent and constructive. If not positive. You should also strive to be direct and on message. If you find yourself veering off message, steer back quickly. Otherwise you risk losing your reader. There are a lot of ways that you can approach a letter of advice. I hope to see your example in our project gallery in the next video. We will talk about the love letter and the letter to the future. The final two types of letter you might consider for our project. I hope you'll join me. 8. Discussing the Love Letter & the Letter to the Future: Welcome back to our course. Next, let's talk about the love letter. Can you imagine a better Valentine's Day gift than a love letter to a girlfriend or boyfriend? A spouse? Or you might even put a spin on the traditional love letter and write a letter expressing love for one of your Children. The latter would be a wonderful keepsake for them as they get older. It might even be something they will share with their own Children. Many years into the future. You might begin your letter by telling your correspondent you have been thinking about them recently. You might retell a moment you shared together describe why it means so much to you. You might talk about a recent event in your relationship or a good gesture on their part that made you feel special throughout the letter. Reaffirm your affection for the correspondent. The key to a good love letter is to express yourself in a way that sounds and feels real to your reader. You might even use some humor in the conversation to recall the carefree time or a funny moment in your relationship. You will draw out strong emotions when you write a love letter. As with any form of writing, it is best to allow your writing to cool off before you send it. Give yourself a day or two away from the letter and then read it again to ensure the content still rings true and that you were comfortable sharing near the end of your letter . Tell you recipient that you cannot wait to see what the future holds for the two of you. Talk about how you imagine your time together will be. You might discuss potential life moments or simply describe the feelings you have when thinking about your future again. The Love Letter is the third type of letter that you can choose for our project. Last, let's discuss the letter to the future. This type of letter could be a positive, inspiring experience, especially if you choose to write a letter to your future self. You might also choose a general audience, such as the youth of tomorrow or a specific audience, like a family member or close friend. If you choose to write the letter to your future self, think about the many ways you can do it. You might use it as a form of motivation to move to a new city, to graduate from college or to overcome personal hardship. Imagine riding to your ideal self. This could be five years from now. 10 years from now, Really, any time that allows you to place distance between your current self and your future self. Do this to allow time for personal reflection when you open the letter again in the future . In this type of letter, remember, though, to stay grounded. Setting lofty goals is admirable, but try not to set them too high. If you fall short of unreachable goals when you re read the letter, the experience might not have the desired effect. What is wonderful about a letter to your future self is that it also requires time to assess what you presently value. Another take on the letter to the future is to focus on the present moment. Are you about to take a new job? Perhaps a life adventure full of potential surprises? You might write about how you're feeling in the present moment and talk about those expectations and the related emotions you are experiencing. This take on the letter may prove exhilarating reading in the near future. The letter to the future is the fourth and final type of letter you might consider for our class project. The next video will also be our last for this course in it, we will summarise some points to take away from the course that will set you on your way to write in great pros in your personal letters. I hope you'll join me. 9. A Quick Review & Thank You!: thank you for joining me. As we have explored the art of letter writing, I hope the lessons prove valuable as you craft your own personal letters along the way, I hope you learn some techniques and ideas about writing great pros before you go. Remember that taking the time to write a personal letter can brighten someone's day. It might be the recipient, or the sender's personal letters show that someone cares. They show that someone has taken time from their busy lives to think about us enough to write. And that's an exalted feeling. Personal letters, air also potential keepsakes. They could be saved, preserved and passed down from generation to generation. This is important because we grow as people, and a letter we save can shed new light on our lives. Letters can also teach future generations about the time in which we live. Remember that your life is unique. Some of its best moments are terrible and worth documenting in this fashion. It also gives your reader a feeling that you are alongside them in spirit, even when you can't be there physically. As we wind down our course, keep these points in mind, writing great prose is an attainable skill. Consider the tips and techniques we covered in this course, including ways to write vivid descriptions. Remember to use the five senses to paint a picture in your reader's mind. Good descriptive writing always comes back to using the five senses. Also remember the importance of your word choice. Always choose a specific descriptive word over a general one. As I mentioned, an angel food cake is always tastier in the reader's imagination than just a cake. We also talked about sentence structure and rhythm and writing. In his course. Remember the two important rules from the elements of style. Be clear and omit. Needless words you're writing will leap off the page if you do so. Also remember to write in the active voice. The passive voice weakens your writing. You should also vary. The length of your sentence is to create rhythm in your writing. Be brave. Toss in a short sentence here and there. Your writing will then exhibit a musicality that will carry your rear to the end. Thank you again for taking this course. Please consider uploading one of the four types of letter to our project gallery. Doing so will allow the course to grow. My name is Christopher Mitchell, and I hope we meet again