Make the next Postcard You Send Fun to Read!

When you are on holiday, mailing postcards to family and friends is a fun way to keep in touch.  But if the thought of writing, in the tiny space a postcard allows makes you cringe, try something different.

First think about who will receive the postcard and pick something that will interest or amuse that person. For foodies pick a card that shows the local produce, for a child find a card that has a cartoon, or for an art lover pick a museum card.

Before you put the pen to the card, think about what you would find interesting about your locale.  Postcards have only a small space for writing, so you will need to limit your words and sentences. Try one of these ideas:

Write a haiku.  Haikus have only three sentences, and each sentence has a limited number of syllables.  The first and third sentences have 5 syllables each, and the second sentence has 7 syllables. Haiku is traditionally written about nature, but it doesn't have to be.  Here's an example:

Parisian men wear

woolen scarves and overcoats

and carry man bags.

or for the more traditional haiku:

Stepped from the bank

Onto flat smooth river rocks

Covered in slick moss

Describe a scene through only one sense.  Pick sound, smell, or touch over sight to make your postcard note more vivid.  All you need to do is write down your location and list some words that describe.


honking horns

roaring scooters

lyrical speech

espresso machine spitting

The important thing when writing a postcard is to not try to write too much.  Try to limit your message to three sentences. Think about what you might say and cut the first three lines of your intended message.  That way you get right to the action.

I'm in New York. Weather is bad. Food is great.

Yesterday I attempted to eat a hotdog covered with onions and

mustard while standing on

a New York street in a blinding snowstorm.  My hands were so numb I dropped it.

My jacket is now covered with yellow spots.

Recount something that went wrong. Pick a debacle that is humorous, or at least will be to the recipient.

Got stopped by the Paris Metro police.

I was traveling on a child's metro ticket. Oops!

Had to hand over the 25 Euros that I had intended

 on spending on a gift for you. Sorry!

Describe exactly what you are doing at the moment. Describe the action:

Drinking hot chocolate in the lodge.

Watching all the other relaxing skiers eating chili or

 chocolate doughnuts, limping along with their buckles loosened and parkas unzipped.

Wow! It's cold out there.

If you are writing to a child left behind, look for something that has to do with children or an interest that the child has:

 Six boys are kicking a soccer ball around the

 dirt street in their bare feet.  They're using 2 garbage

cans for goals.  The score is 3 to 2.

Here are some tips to remember when writing a postcard:

  • Make the picture on the card and the message personal to the recipient.
  • Limit the message to no more than three lines.
  • Start in the middle of the action.
  • Use vivid details to show rather than tell.
  • Don't end your message with "Wish you were here." unless you really mean it.
  • Write addresses on labels before you leave home so you can just paste them on the card.
  • Buy enough stamps at your first opportunity.

Next time you hear the words, "Send me a card!" make it more interesting  for yourself and for the lucky person who will find in their mailbox.