There are times when I go out to grab tea or go to the park and I want take care of some letter writing while I'm out. To save me from having to spend 15 minutes packing up all the things I need before I go out, I just made myself a writing-on-the-go kit that I can throw in my bag when I'm walking out the door. Even if you are writing at home, this a great thing to keep on your desk so you have your basics in one place. Having a to-go letter writing kit is also handy for when you just feel like writing in bed or just can't find your letter goodies! Here's how you can make your own:
I always carry around a pen in my bag, but then, I'm a wee crazy. If you don't do that, make sure to always keep a writing instrument in your letter kit.
Address book/Address cheat sheet
I have a little Rolodex for my addresses, so I carry a little "cheat sheet" or pocket address book in my kit. Jill Bliss's pocket pal set is perfect for this, and what is super keen is that it comes with two, so you can give one to a friend or keep it for yourself in case you lose the first one. You can also use a simple index card and put the people you most commonly write to on there.
Obviously, you need something to write the letter on. As foundation, you should have two sheets of normal stationery so you have something if you are in a rush to get out the door or just forgetful. You can always pop in some fancy stationery right before you leave. By default, I put some colored printer paper in my kit, that way I always have writing material even if I forget to put some "real" stationery in there. If you fold the paper in half you have a booklet-style writing paper, which is quite reminiscent of the golden age of writing.
I love odd & bright envelopes and always keep these in my kit, but any old envelope will do, especially in a pinch. Try to keep your kit stocked with about four envelopes in at least two different sizes to accommodate all letter types.
You're out, the letter is done and sealed in an envelope, why not put a stamp on it and mail it off right then and there? Easiest way to do it is when you buy a sheet of stamps, cut it in half - keep one half at home and tuck the other half into your on-the-go kit.
(There are so many options for your extras, and these are just jumping points to get you thinking.)
Fountain pen/refills, etc.
You all know I have a thing with fountain pens. Just because I'm writing a letter in the bakery doesn't mean I should sacrifice my inky love. With that, I got myself an inexpensive, all purpose fountain pen, the Sailor Profit Super Script Fountain Pen. The nifty thing about this Sailor pen is that depending on how you angle the pen, you can get three different thicknesses of line (thin, medium and thick). This comes in handy when you are writing on different types of papers as certain pulps will absorb or react to fountain inks differently. The pen is also made out of plastic, so I don't have to worry about chipping or cracking it and it also has the option of using a converter so I can use well ink. If you pack a fountain pen, don't forget to bring your cartridge refills in case you run out of ink mid-letter. If you are more of a well ink person, there is a nifty, albeit expensive, option for you: the Visconti traveling ink pot. I don't have any experience with this item, but trumpetvine travels is quite fond of it.
Doll up a letter with stickers, close an envelope with a neat seal (sticker or wax) - store-bought or home-made. Whatever your choosing. Decorative address labels are also a keen thing to keep in your kit.
This may be a bit much for a kit, but it all depends on what you consider writing basics and how big your pouch is. You can keep a simple "top secret" hand stamp in there and get one of those sleek stamp kits that come in a tin, like the Cavallini stamp sets.
Keeping it all together
After you get all the materials together, you need to put them in something so you can just take it with you without worry. This personal pouch from Working Class Heroes is a neat way to keep everything all together, but you can also use something as simple as an expanding check file ("pretty" version) or a kraft envelope. Here are some other neat options for holding all your writing-on-the-go goodies:
• happy in the woods pouch
• snap portfolio (more colors)
• Shantung portfolio (make sure to click alt. view to see the inside)
• fabric coupon keeper
• reusable paper envelope
• leather "envelope"
• Make your own! A how-to from Blueprint.
I hope this little list of materials will get you thinking of making your own letter-writing-on-the-go kit, or at least curious as to other writing goodies! Please email us photos of your kits or upload them on the LWA Flickr group - we love seeing your letter-writing paraphernalia prowess.