It’s a joy to write a letter. Choosing what paper to write on. Selecting a pen. Settling down in a favourite chair, or at a desk or even in the garden. Then there’s the satisfaction in constructing the sentences, scribbling furiously to get you’re your thoughts done on paper before you address and possibly embellish the envelope. Applying a stamp and making a last check before popping it in the post box is a moment to be savoured.

But like everything else letter writing is a habit. So what if you’re not in the habit? Maybe you never have been or perhaps your teenage pen pals were lost with the rise of email, text messages and social networking.

So let’s look at what stops you from writing and get you back into the correspondence game.

I don’t know who to write to…

Go through whatever you use for storing contacts and see if there’s anyone who you have an address for. Maybe someone you only ever send Christmas card to. Look at your friends on Facebook and consider sending a letter to someone you knew at college or an old school friend who has since moved away. Or consider getting involved with a project like More love letters and let letter writing take you away from your usual networks.

I don’t know what to write…

Stop worrying and start practising. Write a diary every day. Start small with a single line and see where it goes. If you’re filling a postcard then you barely have space to say hello and wish you were here. So keep expectations low. Remember other people’s lives always seem interesting. Think about how you tell things. Add illustrations. If you really feel that you do nothing worth writing about either start cultivating small pleasures or start doing things. Consider joining a meetup group connected to your interests (warning: this may leave you too busy to write even your one-line diary).

I don’t have any time to write…

You don’t have to write an epic saga. Start with a postcard, progress to a notelet and then move onto foolscap paper. Consider writing a small amount every day and aiming to complete the letter over the course of a week. Chances are you write at least one text or status post most days so imagine those all put together. Make use of idle moments while you queue in a shop or in the shower or as you drift off to sleep to think about what you could say if you were writing a letter at that very moment.