The way I hold my pen makes me a serial ink-smudger, too! Often, when I’m reasonably certain that the address ink has dried, I still cover it with a scrap piece of paper while I write my message, just to be safe!
On that rare occasion when I happen to have THE magical wish-fulfilling card, I feel like I’ve–to use a very American expression–knocked it out of the park!
Team Washi Before Stamps forever!
I am amazed. Even when the address is a non-Latin alphabet?
Fantastic! It really is a cross-cultural, community-building ritual, isn’t it?
Oh no, I always use the Latin alphabet. I tried writing Chinese characters some days ago and they ended up really big. ^^ So far, pretty much all cards have arrived with my handwritten Latin addresses.
This is my routine:
When I have free slots and I am in the mood of sending a card, I request for an address.
First thing I look at is where the card will be going to. Now I have the ”repeated countries” - option on, so most often it is either to the USA, Germany or Russia. I read through the profile and see, if anything there picks my interest. I look at the favourites, if there are any. If not too many, I look through all of them; if there are lots, I search for the cards from Finland. If I have any of those cards, I check whether it was received or only favourited. Then I look at the first page of favourites to get a feel what type of cards the receiver likes (colourful or black and white, photos or illustrations, if some theme dominates or not). Then I check what cards the receiver has already received from Finland. Often I also look at first pages of sent cards. That tells a bit about the receiver as well.
Often I already have an idea, which one of my cards the receiver might like. I may have a few options so I re-read the profile and check the favourites again. Sometimes I choose a theme the receiver seems to prefer the most, sometimes I choose more unusual a wish that I can fulfill. Occationally I don’t have quite “perfect” a card and try the get a vibe, which card could be suitable. Most often I follow my intuition and pick one. If there is no profile, no cards on the wall, no avatar and no ”revealing” username, I will send a viewcard. (Once I saw that the receiver was living near a national park, guessed he might like nature and sent a card of a local national park).
When I have decided on a card, I write the address on the card, always by hand. And yes, I always write the non-Latin address if available (and I try to write the Russian addresses in Cyrillic letters even if that option hadn’t been given). My Chinese letters are quite big… I try my best to fit them all in the right place. I have no idea how they should be handwritten, so I just copy them as I see them, like copying an image. (My Japanese friend gave me a tip that certain small ”ticks” depend only on a font and do not need to be copied). Sometimes I get a message saying my Chinese writing is ”cute”. I wonder if it means that it looks like a child wrote it… Might very well be, but at least my Chinese is readable as all of those cards have found their way to the receiver.
Then I write the ID-code twice. Usually vertically on the left side and horizontally in the bottom of the textside. If the card goes to USA, I write it horizontally on the left and right side of the text part. Then I write my name and wishes in the bottom of the card (to make sure there is space for it). Again, if the card is going to USA, I leave some empty space under my name.
Then I select a stamp. If I have a stamp of a theme the receiver likes, I choose it. (A lot of our stamps are animals, flowers and childrensbook characters, so if the person doesn’t like those themes, I have fewer options. I don’t usually by stamps that I am not too fond of myself or aren’t a popular theme. Finland issues out so many pretty stamps, that I am already buying so big amounts…Luckily most of them are forever stamps. Nowadays I attach the stamp first so I know I won’t cover any text with it.
Then I write the date, weather if requested, greeting and start writing. I decorate the card when especially requested. Usually I write so much I use all the space available. In the end I take a photo of the front of the card and upload it.
I don’t request for a new address until the card is written and ready to be mailed as I want to concentrate on one person at the time. Writing a card may take more or less half an hour, from requesting the address ’till it is ready, depending on how easy it is to pick and write the card. I always want to send cards either on the same or the following day, so I need to have enough time to write cards. I don’t want to rush but enjoy the activity.
I will try to write routine/ritual with writing a postcard.
First of all, I have to have stamps or/and free “slots” to send cards. Especially the second is quite tricky nowdays while staying at home almost all the time. And now I don’t want to buy new stamps, but it seems I will have to soon (after month of last order… I went bit crazy with sending)
Anyway, we got a new profile to send… so, as @PinkNoodle said, clean hands are important! So washing them if I haven’t did it before requesting.
Reading profile. Several times. Sometimes I already choose card in my head knowing I have that card (worse is when I don’t!). If I can’t decide because of blank profile – I choose classic touristic or at least something similar to their favourites. If there is their age, I decide to send childlish one if they are young. But completely blank profiles usually get touristic.
Choosing postcard while I can not decide is hard. For example they like Harry Potter and nature and I have both. Then I usually can’t decide at all and I have no idea which I send, so I just decide somehow in my head.
Writing down the address. Sometimes they are way too long, sometimes shorter; different alphabets. If it is latin, no troubles with it. Sometimes I write two lines in one line printed on the postcard; for example majority of Czech ones have only four lines and one of them is shorter than others! Then I put the stamp, or I do it before writing the address, depends actually on its lenght. Different alphabets I print out or if it seems to be easy to write down, I try to write it.
Sometimes, when I am in mood, I draw a flag next to country name.
Writing the ID, date and distance. Usually in colours, nowdays it is green (IDs) and red (date and distance). If postcard is big enough, I draw the flying postcard and rule as on website. I am bad in drawing, but those are simple images enough.
Writing the message. Sometimes it is long, sometimes it is short. If we have something in common, I write it down. If there is a wish for recommendation, I give it. If there isn’t much to write about… I just write how was my day. If newbie with a empty profile I write them it was hard to choose postcard for them and they should write down at least something to their profile.
In the end I write our greeting: “Happy ” often with colours as well. Then I write down my nick-name, which consists of my real name. I use now a orange which looks like the stripes on some postcards!
I used to use stickers and/or washi tapes, but I usually find out there isn’t much space left for it. I write quite big letters, as smaller would be hard to read… and sometimes my handwriting is bad as well.
And in the end before I left my house, I scan the postcard. Usually the one on the printer; but if I am somewhere else (travel mode) or too lazy, I use Google PhotoScan app on mobile
If it is ready, I usually go to nowdays, if I don’t have stamps, I have to go to which I don’t really enjoy going, unless it is my favourite outlet where they know me already as I am almost only one who sends something and don’t receives the packages as many others. But if I have to go to post office, I usually pick up 5 addresses in row (that should be in first part)
Ohh, I write maybe too much?!
I don’t have any set routine about requesting addresses - sometimes I do a lot at once, sometimes I just request one or two.
I read the profiles and consider the options from their preferences. If I have cards that fit, I’ll pull out the possibilities and decide which one to send to who (often one postcard will fit more than one profile I have open). If the person likes handmade cards and I feel like drawing or making something, I might do that too.
Then I stamp the date on the cards, write the weather, and the Postcard ID (so I don’t forget - if I don’t do it right away I tend to fill up the whole left side with a message and have to squeeze the ID in there somewhere).
Next I decide on stamps - I do this before I write the address because it will influence how big I write the address if the stamps are going to take up a lot of room. (This is also why I don’t write the message until after I put on the stamps.)
Messages can be anything from a simple comment about the card to answering questions they ask on their profile, to general statements about the day or where I’m writing from. I sign it with my real name and my username.
Sometimes I add in stickers or a little sketch on the message side as well.
Finally, I write the address, then scan and upload the card to the site and then I’m done.
When I draw for a new card, I always:
- Read the profile of the user as well as see what they got from Japan and any favorites.
- Then, I pick the card out or go and buy it.
- I put the stamp on first and then the Airmail seal.
- Write the address.
- Add washi tape, if possible.
- Write a message and the ID number
- Add stickers and any other decorations.
@aisasami I smiled when I read your post because you explain the same way I do in general with making a list of short sentences step by step.
I don’t have any special day to write, just write when I can and feel like it. I can send 42 postcards from main website now, so, sometimes, I can write many postcards.
All my touristic postcards and favorite cards scan are already saved in my laptop. I have so many postcards and stamps.
Here is my routine:
- Read the profile
- Choose the postcard
- Put the “priority mail” stickers I did myself.
- Put the ID sticker I got there. Una Photo on Etsy
Or, I just write the ID in banner I draw. But I’m thinking about using a stamp.
- Choose the stamp.
- Write date, and temperature. I started writing this last one as I saw some people requesting it.
- Write the message. Almost always the same. “Hello” always written in brushlettering type.
- Write the address at the end because it can smear when I’m writing the message.
- Put some stickers decoration.
- My dad posts the mail.
Thank you to everyone for sharing your routines; please keep them coming! I am noticing many commonalities in your processes, but the one that stands out most to me is the amount of care and thought that you all put into each postcard. As I said before, you are all such lovely people and it shows in what you have written in response to this topic.
@Kanerva, it is wonderful that you hand-write Chinese characters, no matter how big they turn out! It is so sweet that the recipients tell you that your letters are “cute”–I believe it is a compliment, and I am certain that the effort you make brings them joy.
I am curious to know more about the space you leave under your name when sending cards to the US. I know that on postcards purchased and sent within the US, there is sometimes a small box–usually on the bottom right, underneath where the address goes–where you are instructed not to write, as it will be covered by a bar code. Just to be safe, I try to leave that space clear. But I don’t see a bar code on postcards that I receive–is the USPS unique in placing a bar code on mailed items, in addition to the cancellation? Does the bar code ever interfere with your ability to read postcards you receive from the US? How did you learn about leaving a blank space, if it is not regular practice for other countries? I need to know!
@Martin-CZE, no, you did not write too much–I enjoyed every detail.
This is an interesting point to bring up. I am tempted to do this with long addresses (some requiring 7-8 lines!), but I am afraid to combine lines, as one time a letter I sent within my own city was returned to me as undeliverable because I had written the postal code on the same line as the city and state (which I thought was common practice). Maybe the mail carrier who picked up my letter was cranky that day? In any case, I am afraid that combining lines on international addresses will prevent them from being delivered. Am I overreacting?
Like you, I also like to write certain elements (the ID, the address, etc.) in different colors of ink! However, I am cautious in doing this now, after reading that in Korea and Japan (and perhaps in other Asian countries?), it is inappropriate to write someone’s name in red ink, as it evokes the tradition of writing a person’s name in red ink after they have died. I was horrified by the thought that perhaps in the past, I had shocked a Korean or Japanese Postcrosser in an attempt to make my postcard more colorful. Once again, making mistakes in sending mail has traumatized me.
@saintursula, I also sometimes hand-make a postcard for a single recipient if I am so inspired, and if time allows. US-7018833 was my attempt to capture a fond memory to share with a Postcrosser who seemed to appreciate artwork and nature. My drawing didn’t turn out exactly the way I had hoped (they rarely do!), but I think he really enjoyed it!
Again, thank you all for sharing your reflections with me!
I have seen many American cards with a text: “Please do not write below this line - for postal use only” or something similar and I did wonder about that. Sometimes the required space covers the whole lower part of the card, not just the address side.
I think I read about it, either in the forum or from American profiles, that one should never write ID-code in the lower end of the card as the bar code can make it unreadable. Of course I didn’t want any of my message covered by black ink either, so I started leaving that empty space.
Now I got curious and checked some of the cards I have received. Nearly all cards from the USA have black bar code (occationally some numbers too). It may only be the signature that ends up under the bar code, but most leave that space empty. Sometimes cards from e.g. Italy, UK, France, Canada have a bar code, but it is neon orange in colour so there are no problems reading the messages.
I do enjoy writing those Chinese characters. They take a bit more time, but it is fun trying to copy them as precisely as I can and I am glad they really are readable. Sometimes I wonder what the local postal workers think, when they see those addresses on cards…
Tsk–those pesky Americans and their opaque bar codes!
After receiving address I go to the that postcrosser’s profile and read it and look for his/hers sent and received postcards.If she/he didn’t receive any postcard from my country I can write something about that too.So I can learn about him/her and write accordingly to the profile.Then I start to choose postcard.
I love writing long.After writing sometimes I decorate the postcard.
My first reading of the addressees profile is always apart from writing the card. Then I figure out which card to take and what to write just for fun.
I wash my hands several times a day, that is not part of my card writing routine, but be sure they are clean when I grab the card.
Then I take another look at te profile and get a nice card from my pile which the addressee might like, look for a nice or interesting stamp, put it on the card and put an air mail sticker on the card if it goes abroad.
Now I start to write. The left hand side is for my text including ID and date - and the right hand side is for the address. I start with the ID, in the next line I write place and date. Next thing is “Hello” and the name and then my text begins. I always try to find something that me and the addressee have in common, that is why I really like if the addressee tells something about his or her hobbies and interests in her/his profile or I write about what can be seen on the card, if the addressee seems to be interested. I do not have cards that I don’t like myself, so my cards always say something about me and I always try to find a connection to the addressee. Sometimes the profile shows just a wishlist but nothing about the person. In those cases my message can be very short, down to just a happy Postcrossing. I close with best wishes and my name.
The last thing I write is the address, so I do not sweep with my hand over the address when writing my text.
I like to send a postcard as soon as one of mine arrives and frees a slot.
After reading the profile I take time to choose a card. It’s great when you read the profile and just know you have the perfect card and great waiting for it to arrive so you can get a response. I also like it when a profile matches a card I have that I never thought I would find a home for. I work in a charity shop and often buy postcards that come in. As I live in New Zealand I have to try and resist all the Hi from Florida, Fiji, Austria, Canada cards even though the pictures are nice. In the past I bought everything but I’m getting a bit more discerning. Meanwhile if you are happy to get an ugly card from a random tourist spot in a country I’m not from that was made in the 80’s…I probably have one.
I then put some Washi Tape along the bottom of the card if it doesn’t go over the description. I add extra glue so it doesn’t come off. I was given the Washi Tape and like to use it up. I then put stamps on. As a stamp collector I have lots of unused stamps and try to use at least 4 on the card to add up to the correct postage. Sometimes I need to use more and it’s a mission to get them to fit. I also have an airmail sticker in the left hand corner.
I then write the address or print and glue on if in another language.
Next comes the Postcard ID and a date. Now the card has the important details on it I can concentrate on a message. I have quite small writing when needed so try to fit a few lines to say Hi, or comment on the card or something specifically on the profile. Sometimes I have way more I could write and other times it is a little harder but I think a message is important.
Then I add some stickers to fill in any gaps. I have a supply of stickers that I’ve accumulated from friends, my children etc and I’m a little OCD about using things up.
All these steps appeal to my OCD tendencies. Using up cards, washi tape, stickers and stamps. But I try to match this to the person I’m sending to where possible.
Lastly I scan the card and upload the picture. I do find this step a bit boring but I do like to have a picture.
I post my cards at the National Philatelic Bureau which is just down the road from my home. The lovely staff there hand cancel the postcards for me and then they seal them in a plastic slip so that they don’t get damaged in transit. I get a lot of compliments on this but really it’s the staff there that deserve all the credit. I just benefit from location and the fact I’m a collector who is known there. I don’t have to pay for this service.
Sadness is when a card I have specially selected that matched a rare request or was special to me before sending then doesn’t arrive. This doesn’t happen often fortunately.
Love this hobby. Thanks to you all for making it so much fun.
I have an envelope full of cards separated by themes.
Choose card after reading profile
If I have stickers I add the ID, date and distance from my address to theirs
Walk 3 houses down to postbox
Rinse and repeat most days
To be honest, I have no idea. I don’t write back address, so if they go lost, they go lost. But usually it isn’t a problem at all. I have rather problem with too short lines. Then I something write smaller and just under the line, but somewhere to align it to the right.
I think that mail carrier just saw: “It’s not according rules, I can return it, I will.” (Not my job award)
I have done it even in international mail and luckily without problems.
That’s certainly an interesting thing! I never thought of it and well, I should avoid using red ink for name. I don’t do it often, I usually write whole message with one ink, blue or black. We are learning a lot every day with
And that brings completely different topic, but important as well. As I am writing postcards, my handwriting improves every postcard written!
@MariceNZ, I think we’re now all a bit envious that you have achieved V.I.P. status at your post office! Ever since Covid started to spread in the US, I have avoided going into the physical post office to send mail, so I do miss seeing the employees at my favorite post office branch. I can no longer tell my husband that I’m off to visit my secret mail boyfriend…
There must be a home for these in one of the games and activities groups–or maybe you can create one!
@Martin-CZE, this is true for me unless I have recently had coffee (my letters become inconsistently-sized and jagged) or beer (my lines of text start to droop over time).
he must be a good friend of my one!
I think I should update my wishlist!