What Love Letters Teach Me about Writing

letters-1390463_1920The other day I watched P.S. I Love You for the first time even though it’s a popular romantic movie. Even though it’s not a movie specifically about the writing process, it teaches three things about writing that I actually already know, but that I don’t mind being reminded of. 

If you have already watched the movie or if you don’t mind spoilers, please continue reading.

After her husband, Gerry, dies, letters start arriving from him as a way to help Holly cope with his death and to remind her of his love for her. Although her mother is initially against the idea, the letters help Holly with the grieving process.

At one point, Gerry tells Holly to only keep his jacket, and to get rid of everything else that belonged to him. And I wonder how much longer it would have taken for Holly to let go of his stuff if he hadn’t prompted her.

Gerry’s love letters to Holly teach me the following:

1. You need to know your audience.

What I like about Gerry’s letters is that he knows how Holly is dealing with his death. Gerry predicts that Holly will visit his parents when she is in Ireland, and his mom gives Holly one of his letters that he left there for her. Gerry also finds the connection between Holly’s love of shoes and her dream of creating. So he guides her to a new job of designing shoes.

2. Your writings don’t have to be read by every single person on earth. They can be written with only one person or specific group of people in mind.

Lately, I’ve been learning that all of my blog posts are not meant to be read by all of the people who follow this blog. Some topics resonate to people more than others, and that’s totally fine! Gerry’s letters which are addressed only to Holly (with the exception of two letters) make me value every piece of writing (regardless of how many people are in our audience.) This makes me think of one of my classmates from university. Any time I emailed her, her personality shone through her emails, and even though the email was directed only to me, the quality of her emails was so rich because she had her signature writing style. I would buy all of her books!

3. Each writing has a purpose.

By the end of the movie, we know that the purpose of the love letters was to help Holly move on after Gerry’s death. Gerry tells Holly in her last letter that it’s okay to fall in love with someone else. 


12 thoughts on “What Love Letters Teach Me about Writing

  1. I haven’t seen the movie but I loved the book. I love how you let the movie inspire you to writing this blog.
    I enjoyed the way you played with words and the thoughts that translated out from those words.

    It was well written. And definitely my style and cup of tea. Great post😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading, Eva! I’m assuming the book is better than the movie? 🙂 I’d say that I’d add it to my to be read pile, but I don’t have one. Without meaning to I tend to find writerly things in moves haha.


  2. 🙂 I loved the movie! Watched it at least twice.
    Re writing for just one person – if my blog helps at least one person know they’re not alone, or gives them a reason to continue, then it’s worth it.
    Do we know what our writing does? Usually not.
    Love and light.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t watched the movie, but I love your post any way. I am not a big lover of romantic movies, but tafter reading your thoughts on it, I think it stands out among the others. I will gladly add it to my movies-to-watch list

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m going to refrain from using all caps, but P.S. I Love You is one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s true love exemplified. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler. 🙂 I love how you pulled such relevant writing tips from the movie. It’s easy to lose sight of your who and why when you’re first starting out. These takeaways are a great way to stay focused and not lose heart. Thanks for the great article!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So many juicy take aways in this post! Yes its powerful to write even to one person in mind. I find that my friend’s text messeges to me are like little (sometimes long) emails/letters – and it never ceases to amaze me the beauty in the choice of words they use. Also this post makes me want to see this movie. Never heard of it before.

    Liked by 1 person

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