Thursday 25 August 2022

How to start pen palling

Following on from my last post I thought I'd do a post on how you can get started with pen palling if it is something you are interested in doing and I can guarantee that you will get much joy from it.

Firstly consider a few things:

  • Do you want to just start writing within your own country or are you happy to write internationally
  • How many pen pals do you fee you can realistically take on to start off with - as you find you enjoy pen palling you can always find new people to write to
  • Who do you want write to? - Age, gender, what the person's interest's are etc. It's important to have pen pals that you feel you have things in common with especially to start with I feel, but then I have a pen pal who isn't like me at all and we've been writing to each other for a long time now! 
  • How much to spend on writing supplies, to be honest you don't need that much and it's better to start with the basics which I'll list below and then as you find you get in pen palling you can grow and buy more bits and bobs.

Where to find pen pals?!

There are different ways and places that you can go to find pen pals. 

The first place is social media. I'm a user of Instagram and you can find people's pen pal/creative accounts like mine @naomi_creates__. You can search for hashtags like #PenPalsWanted and my advice is to check out people's accounts and their posts sharing photo's of their pen pal mail.

On Facebook there are pen pal groups you can join to find pen pals.

If you don't want to commit too much too soon and you have a chronic illness/disability you can join the Chronic Warrior Collective and register to join their monthly card swap and  when you join on your profile you can put that you're hoping to find pen pals through the monthly card swap. That's how I've found some of my pen pals.

Basic supplies to get started

➜ Writing sets which contain writing paper or note cards and then some envelopes alternatively you can buy writing paper and envelopes separately. I like the Paperchase spectroscope collection fore their postcards, writing paper and envelopes. Paperchase also do some nice writing sets and note card sets as well as postcards. On Amazon you can also find a range of writing and note card sets.

➜ Pens, I like to have a range of colours so gel pens work well and it can be fun to use glitter or scented pens. I really love Gelly Roll pens but I found these cheap fun pens to get you started here.

These are your main essentials as you can decorate a plain piece of writing paper with doodles using coloured pens as well as hand lettering. Writing sets come pre-designed. 

➜ You may also want to get a few sheets of stickers - Craft Planet do a great range of stickers. I find HobbyCraft good for washi tape as well as Etsy and Amazon. Though to be honest stickers and washi tape aren't core essentials.

Your main essentials is the enjoyment that you put into putting a letter together and the words you write. I get some mail from one pen pal and sometimes he writes on the most basic of supplies undecorated but it's what he writes to me that counts. Or I have another pen pal that writes to me and she just uses plain paper to write on but draws little basic doodles that she colours in. This just shows that all you need are some pens, paper and and envelope.

When you find a new pen pal decide who is going to write first. If you're writing first...

What to say in you first letter if you're writing first

Initially I like to say something like how exciting it is to have a new pen pal and how I look forward to getting to know them.

I then say my usual hello and how are you and I hope you are well.

In my first letter to a new pen pal I usually write just some things about myself (usually I've already said a little so my new pen pal can know me a little to decide if we feel a match to write to each other). But in my first letter I'll go into more detail about myself to introduce myself more fully to my pen pal. Somethings may include:

  • My age and which country I live in
  • My hobbies and interests
  • Fun facts about myself
  • Things I enjoy doing
  • My favourite things
  • What I do in my free time

Also I may add about what I've been up to recently and any upcoming plans and I'll ask my new pen pal things about them and how they are and what they've been up to and what plan they also have coming up.

Finally I'll add that I look forward to hearing from them and that I look forward to getting to know them and being their pen pal.


Here are some YouTube videos that may give you some inspiration: