Writing can be an incredible outlet to expressing your emotions, feelings, and desires without necessarily causing an argument, feeling frustrated, or having your thoughts come out wrong. This article contains some tips on how to express yourself in writing.
WHEN TO WRITE A LETTER
There are many times when a letter to someone will do more good than just saying the very first thing that crosses your mind. Our mouth is like unfiltered TV. Without the right filters anything, good or bad, gets spouted out. This leads to passionate arguments without any substance, anger, bitterness, and resentment.
No matter if you are good at writing or not, a letter can help you to get your point across in ways that you may never normally be able to do. Here are times when writing a letter is a good idea:
1. Write a letter when you know the subject is likely to start an argument.
2. Write a letter when you don't think the other person will hear you all the way through.
3. Write a letter if you struggle keeping your thoughts in order.
4. Write a letter if you fear face to face confrontations, but still feel you need to express yourself.
5. Write a letter if you are likely to say or do something stupid.
6. Write a letter if you are not clear on your own thoughts.
7. Write a letter if you can't calm down.
There are other reasons to write a letter, but these are the most common. Communication is the most basic and essential ingredient to any relationship. There are times, when a letter is your best option.
BENEFITS OF WRITING A LETTER
One of the great benefits to writing a letter is that it can't be interrupted and your train of thought lost. A letter will allow you to get everything you want to say out in an order you want. An argument won't. A letter will give you the chance to avoid contradictions and the opportunity to leave out saying something that may haunt you later.
Some people feel it dangerous to write down anything because, once it is written down, people can always bring it back up as proof of what you said. This is true, but if I had to weigh the dangers of that against the dangers of saying something wrong in the heat of the moment and damaging my relationships to a degree I never really intended, I'll take the letter every time.
Another benefit of letter writing is it allows you to become clear in your own thinking, and to organize your thoughts correctly--even if you never give the letter to the intended party.
Strangely, people usually read a letter all the way to the end no matter what the content is. It is a great method for expressing yourself.
TIPS ON WRITING YOUR LETTER
You may want to write two letters. The first is the one you would like to say if all inhibitions were removed. It would be exactly how you feel, everything you really wanted to say, and all of the venom and anger poured into it. Sleep on it for a night, reread it, and then destroy it. The second letter you write afterwards will be much better at expressing yourself in a manner that will salvage and strengthen your relationships.
It is okay to start your letter with a warning that you may not say everything exactly right. Ask for forgiveness for anything that may not come across as you intend it to. This will make the intended party more acceptable to your words. They won't get as offended or defensive at what you write.
Use the sandwich method of writing. Start out with something very positive about the person you are writing to, move into the negative areas you are concerned about, but end with something very positive about the person. Don't make your letter all negative. Sandwich your concerns and the negative subjects between positive words. It will make your letter much easier to digest.
As mentioned above, sleep at least one night on any letter you write. Read it the next day when you are calmer. You will quickly note areas you want to change and alter so they sound closer to what you really want to say. Remember, words spoken in anger can never be recaptured. Written words, however, can be changed if you haven't yet delivered the letter.
Avoid curse words in your letter. Someone once said, not sure who, that profanity is an attempt by a feeble mind to express itself forcibly. Be more creative and intelligent than having to resort to profanity. Profanity will often set a reader on edge, even subconsciously, and distract from what you really want to say.
Practice writing. Start a diary or journal, write a novel or articles. The more you write, the easier it will be to transform your thoughts, feelings, and emotions into words.
In the end, letter writing is one of the better forms of communication to express yourself to others.
Greg S. Baker is a Pastor, Counselor, and Author specializing in building and strengthening relationships.
For more books and resources on how to communicate better, express yourself, and strengthen social skills. Check out our book, 'Fitly Spoken', a Christian based book that explores the intricacies of human communication and expression in relationships.