Yesterday was National Love Note Day, but I like to think that any day is a good time to tell someone that you love them. Love notes also don’t automatically have to go to a romantic partner – they can go to siblings or parents or friends, anyone that you want to know that you care for them.
Writing love notes – whether platonic or romantic – can be daunting though. Maybe we try too hard to be Shakespeare or Cummings, setting the expectations so high that we give up before we even begin and miss the entire point. In belated celebration of Love Note Day though I say we put those fears aside, break out pen and paper and give our hearts a voice. Still reluctant? I’ve compiled a few tips to help you out. Let’s get romantic, Intent.
- Set the mood – The best love letters are written when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. The only way that happens is if you write from a comfortable place. For me, that’s at my desk in pajamas and listening to a playlist of songs I’ve curated that remind me of the person I’m writing to/about. For you it could be writing from bed or in the kitchen with the TV playing in the background. Maybe you want to light a candle and dim the lights – whatever allows you to get into the head and heart space that connects with how you feel about your love note recipient.
- Find an anchor – Why are you writing the note? Is it an anniversary? Great, start by thinking of your favorite memories over the past year with this person. Are you in a long distance relationship? Then you should be mentally compiling the things you miss about that person. Are you saying thank you for them being there during a difficult time? Begin asking yourself why that meant so much to you and how were they able to comfort you. Knowing the motivation for the note gives it a purpose. This helps keep the note grounded and helps you avoid going on tangents. Words mean more when there’s a reason to say them (and yes the reason can be just because you love them – but you still have to answer why).
- Be honest (and yourself!) – This isn’t your high school chemistry homework, so don’t cheat! Have faith that if you’re moved to be writing your affections and/or gratitude for this person down that they share the same feelings for you. For you – not Pablo Naruda or the sappy movie you found on Netflix. The point of a love note is for you to tell someone you love them, so they should be able to hear it in your voice. When you carbon copy from someone else you’re just telling your note recipient about that other person’s feelings. Why should they care about that? Use your own experiences as inspiration and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to respond to them. How’d it feel the first time you held their hand? What was the first moment you knew this was a person you wanted in your life? How’d you know? The most romantic things to say are already inside of you, you just have to allow yourself to let them out.
- Avoid clichés and euphemisms. Be specific – If you’ve already started and there is a line about your recipient’s “ocean colored orbs” then throw it away right now. We can argue that saccharine euphemisms like that are an example of dishonesty, but moreso they are generic and…awful. It’s fair game to talk about the recipient’s physical attributes, but make them as specific to them as you can. So instead of “I love your smile” try “I love the way you laugh with your entire body; the way your head tips back and your hands clap as if it’s the most hilarious thing you’ve heard. I love that it take such a small thing to touch you but you give your all to it.” Look how much more you’re telling that person! It not only shows that you’re paying attention, but that you appreciate these details about them, that the way they laugh tells you something genuine about their spirit. Be specific and you won’t have to worry about about sounding like a Hallmark card and the details are what can make a good love note truly great.
- Get creative with metaphors – For those looking to take their note writing skills to the next level, try mapping what you want to say over something else you’re passionate about. Since I majored in music in college and spent most of my formative years at concerts or listening to my iPod I often find musical metaphors slipping into affectionate notes I write. Heartbeats become drums, voices are melody and the relationship as a whole is a song, etc. You’re still required to be honest and follow the rules above, but metaphors help you say things in a creative new way, especially if this isn’t your first time at the love note rodeo. I’ve seen both sailing and kite flying as great metaphors for love. I once managed to use eating trail mix as a metaphor for learning patience in a new relationship. You can use anything as long as you’re comfortable, anchored, honest and specific.
Do you have any advice for writing love letters? Share with us in the comments below!