Valentine's Day

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Revive the art of letter-writing

Getting a handwritten letter nowadays is extraordinary, as people often do not take the time to write letters in an age when emailing, texting and tweeting have revolutionized the way people communicate with one another. However, writing notes, letters and exclamations of love can be more intimate, especially on Valentine's Day.

In France, love letters are called billet doux. The French are known to be romantics at heart, but that doesn't mean people from all over the globe can't put pen to paper to express their feelings. Handwritten letters are often seen as thoughtful gestures, especially when those letters are expressing intimate sentiment. Here are some guidelines for writing a love note or letter.

* Visit a stationery store and find a nice piece of stationery and envelope to use for the letter. If you are putting forth the effort to create a beautiful, handwritten letter, you can add to the experience by selecting a fine paper on which to write. There are many different types of paper, including some that are embossed. Some may even feature flower petals or leaves embedded in the paper.

* Brush up on your penmanship. A letter will be rendered useless if it isn't legible. Therefore, practice penmanship before sitting down to write your letter.

* Have a picture of the person to whom you will be addressing the letter nearby. This may provide some inspiration.

* Jot down ideas on a piece of scrap paper. Think about how your romantic partner makes you feel and the qualities he or she possesses that you find appealing, and use concrete examples why you love and care for this person.

* Write a rough draft of the letter and be sure to proofread it for misspellings and grammatical errors.

* Always write from the heart and be sincere in what you say. Try to call out specific examples that recall particularly fond memories.

* Write your final copy of the letter on the good paper. Make sure it is neat and legible. Be sure you date it because it is likely the note will be saved.

* You may want to wait a day or two before sending the letter to be sure the sentiments you expressed are truly what you want to say. If so, mail or hand deliver the note.

Love letters and other handwritten notes are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as technology has largely replaced pen and paper. Yet, those who want to add a special touch to any occasion can choose to write a letter and make a lasting impression.