I'm going out on a limb here but I'm going to declare my preference for shorter first letters.
What do I mean by shorter? Well, not super short. Probably about two pages. or the inside of a card plus a sheet of writing paper... roughly speaking. Less can work well, too... because sometimes less is more.
Prescribing the length of a letter is always a controversial area, so I want to make it really clear here that this is just my personal preference. If I get a super-long first letter I'm okay with that, too. But I do have a preference for shorter ones and here are my reasons, put pretty succinctly:
1. We don't know each other yet. A really long first letter is a bit like a really long one-sided conversation with someone you just met (reminds me of some dates I've been on!).
2. If we're going to be regular correspondents perhaps it's better to leave a few things for later letters. If you tell me everything about you in letter one, what can I ask about when I write back? I'm a fan of the gradual reveal, where we get to know each other a bit at a time.
3. I feel like if I get a really long first letter, then the expectation is that I'll write a reply letter of similar length and content. I'm not great at telling you everything about myself in one letter. I really prefer to share information in a more organic, gradual way... that seems more natural to me.
4. Sometimes things don't work out. For some reason or other we might decide we're not suited as pen pals. This happens rarely, but still it could happen, and if that's the case you've just spent several hours writing me (a relative stranger) your whole life story for no very good reason.
Is this too harsh? I have really been hesitating to write this... but I've seen lots of stuff on the interwebs lately on this very topic and thought I'd add my thoughts. Of course, I've risked offending some people who have written me long first letters... I really don't mean to do that. Like I said, I'm not about telling people what they should and shouldn't do... this is more about me voicing a particular point of view. My hope is that it will promote some thoughtful, respectful discussion.
So tell me what you think...
Love from Kaz
PS I completely forgot about my regular give away this week (told you I've been busy!)... but it doesn't seem that anybody noticed? Anyway, I have decided that I will draw it next Monday. Remember, all followers are entered automatically and one is drawn at random to receive a surprise package of stationery and various papery items from me. This 'usually' happens every three weeks. If you know people who'd like a piece of the action, they have til Sunday night to follow.