Thursday, January 17, 2019

Frequently Asked Questions


The Victorian Letter Writers Guild has been more of a success than I could have dreamed---I'm so thankful for all our fantastic members and all the fun we've had keeping the art of old fashioned letter writing alive. I thought it was time I did an FAQ post to answer some of the more common questions I've received from interested members. If you have a question, please post it in the comments below or email me at sarah@classicalhomemaking.com and I will get back to you shortly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do you do this? (Host free pen friend exchanges, advocate for old fashioned letter writing, keep a postal history blog, etc.)

When I was a little girl, my Grammy Annabelle sent me a postcard every week of my life. They were simple little notes to tell me about what was going on at her house but they taught me the joy of receiving mail and soon we were exchanging full letters. In school, I was always in trouble for passing notes in class and was often horrified when my note would be confiscated and read aloud. I found it easy to express myself in writing and was humiliated more than once due to allowing my heart flow out of my pen. My generation is the last to have experienced life without the internet and I see how so many of life's simplicities have been lost along with it. I'm determined to share this joy of the written word, the sacrifice and peacefulness of taking the time to compose something for someone else, with anyone who is interested. Maybe someday we will be a completely digital society---but that time hasn't come yet and I'm committed to making sure it doesn't come round for a very long time!

2. Who are you?

I'm a 39 year old housewife residing in the US southern state of Arkansas. I have nine children and have been married since 1998. I began my blogging "career" in marketing---working with national and international brands to promote their products on my blog and social media. I've authored the site, Classical Homemaking, since 2008, the literature blog, Belle's Library, since 2014, and started The Victorian Letter Writers Guild in 2017. I am no longer a career blogger and now do it purely for enjoyment and fellowship with like-minded enthusiasts.

3. Is my information secure?

As best as I can in my capacity as a human being, I do my best to make sure your information is secure. Any information you give me is stored on my computer and in file boxes in my home library. I only share it with your assigned partners. I will never share or sell your information with third parties, nor will I use it for purposes outside of Guild activities. 

4. What is the cost to join the Victorian Letter Writers Guild? Can I make a donation?

I do not charge for any exchanges or matching that takes place on the site, nor do I take monetary donations. If you want to thank me, write me a letter! I also accept chocolate by the trunk full and all forms of bound books and paper ephemera. Ha! (Kidding) Another way you can contribute to the Guild is by sharing it with your friends via social media, email, or postal mail. Finally, you can visit Victorian Letters on Etsy for letter writing materials and other fun ephemera for mail art, mixed media collages, etc. 

5. What if I don't like my pen friend?

While I do my best to match you with a like-minded pen friend, it's inevitable that you will not be paired well from time to time. Participation in any letter writing exchange through The Victorian Letter Writing Guild requires only one thing: write your assigned pen friend one letter. If you receive your pen friend's letter and find that she is not a suitable match for you, simply stop writing to her. There are no obligations past the initial introductory letter. If you still want a pen friend before the next round comes up, let me know. I often have members asking for more than one match at a time---or I may even write to you myself! I would encourage everyone to give their partners a chance, though. You never know what great friendships could be born out of a little patience and grace for those who are different from you.

6. Can I have more than one pen friend through the Guild?

Yes. Many members have been with me long enough to have several pen friends at the same time. Just because an exchange season has passed, this doesn't mean you have to stop corresponding. She who finds a virtuous pen friend finds a good thing, so keep writing if you're so inclined! If you would like to be assigned more than one pen friend per round, let me know when you send in your application/confirmation. If you are a member in good standing and have participated in several successful exchanges with the Guild, I will consider assigning you more than one pen friend.

7. What if my assigned pen friend doesn't write to me?

First step is: send your letter anyway. After that, you should attempt to contact your pen friend by email a couple times. If this proves fruitless, please do let me know. While I don't want anyone to feel like a "tattle tale", this greatly helps me keep the Guild a safe and fun thing that everyone can enjoy.

8. Is this a "women only" organization?

Anyone is welcome to enjoy the site, but the pen friend exchanges are for women only. There are several other international sites offering mixed gender exchanges. If you need help finding some, check my sidebar.

9. Does my letter have to be Victorian themed/decorated/written with a fountain or quill/worded with flowery 19th century language?

No. The classification of "Victorian" is used in reference to the "old fashioned" art of letter writing---not so much to the style of letters or art work employed. Of course, many who join the exchanges enjoy this aesthetic, as well, but using it is not mandatory. Please don't be intimidated by believing you must be a fantastic artist or eloquent speaker to participate in our exchanges. We are average women with average lives who share a love for simplicity and beauty. If you can relate, you belong here!

10. How do I get a pen friend?

Visit the Pen Friend Sign Up link above to get your name on the list for the next round of pen friend matches!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2019 New Year Pen Friend Exchange --- Sign Ups Have Closed


This exchange has closed. Please visit the link above to sign up for the Spring Pen Friend exchange---coming in March 2019.

Happy 2019!! 
Hope you're all enjoying a happy holiday season! A new year is coming and with it, a chance for new beginnings, new goals, and new friendships. If you enjoy handwritten correspondence with like-minded women, The Victorian Letter Writers Guild may be for you. Follow the instructions below to be matched up with a pen friend and start the new year right!

 Here's what you need to know: 

*While we are very happy to fellowship with all humankind on this site, this particular exchange is for ladies only. If someone would like to organize a mixed-gender exchange, please do so and let me know so I can give you a shout-out here! 

*This is an international exchange but introductory letters must be written in English, unless you and your partner decide otherwise in a private email. 

*A minimum of one letter to your partner is required. If you decide to continue the correspondence after that, wonderful! 

*I am not responsible for "flakers", but anyone who does not keep their commitment will not be included in further exchanges. 

*Sign ups close January 18, 2019; assignment emails will be sent the following week.

*Privacy Statement: Your information will only be given to your assigned pen friend. I will not share it with third parties or publish it in any form. There is no fee to join the Guild---it's strictly for fun and fellowship. I will add your email to a list for my own purposes and will only send emails regarding the pen friend exchange or other Guild activities I think you might be interested in, such as giveaways or letter writing challenges. I will not add you to my blog subscription list but there is a link on the sidebar to do so if you wish. 

*Are you ready for a new pen friend? Copy and paste the answers to the following questions in an email and send it to: sarah@classicalhomemaking.com. {PLEASE do not send this in a separate document. Copy and paste in an email is much easier for me to search!}

Pen Friend Sign Up Questions 
Send to sarah@classicalhomemaking.com 

1. First Name (how you would like to be addressed)

2. Last Name 

2. Full Mailing Address including zip code and country 

3. Email Address 

4. What is your age group? 
18-25 
26-35 
36-50 
50-60 
61+ 

5. Do you have a preferred age group to correspond with? 
18-25 
26-35 
36-50 
50-60 
61+ 
no preference 

6. Do you prefer a pen friend from your own country or is any country fine? 

7. List some of your hobbies and interests. 

8. What interests you about the Victorian Letter Writers Guild? 

9. How did you learn about the Guild? 

10. (Optional) What is your Instagram username? (Some members like to follow one another...not at all required.) 

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Victorian Reading Challenge for 2019 --- Complete with Prizes!


This year I'm teaming up with Belle's Library to offer a marvelous reading challenge---Victorian style! Check out Belle's Library for all the details. Prizes are on offer! Woop!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Holiday Season 2018 Pen Friend Exchange


Signups are now closed. Please still submit your application and I'll include you in our New Year exchange in January 2019.

If you enjoy handwritten correspondence with like-minded women, The Victorian Letter Writers Guild may be for you! Check out the site and see what you think. Then, follow the instructions below to be assigned a penfriend for this round. Signups close Nov. 16.


If you've participated in the past: Please note that you do NOT have to give up your former pen friends! This exchange is for an additional pen friend, so if you're enjoying corresponding with your match from an earlier round, please continue to do so!

Here's what you need to know:


  • While we are very happy to fellowship with all humankind on this site, this particular exchange is for ladies only. If someone would like to organize a mixed-gender exchange, please do so and let me know so I can give you a shout-out here!
  • This is an international exchange but introductory letters must be written in English. (If you and your partner decide to write in a more familiar language after, that is fine.)
  • A minimum of one letter to your partner is required. If you decide to continue the correspondence after that, wonderful!
  • I am not responsible for "flakers", but anyone who does not keep their commitment will not be included in further exchanges. 
  • Privacy Statement: Your information will only be given to your assigned pen friend. I will not use it for any kind of advertising, marketing, or other commercial purposes, nor will I publish it in any form. 
  • There is no fee to join the Guild---it's strictly for fun and fellowship. I will add your email to a list for my own purposes and will only send emails regarding the pen friend exchange or other Guild activities I think you might be interested in, such as giveaways or letter writing challenges. I will not add you to my blog subscription list but there is a link on the sidebar to do so if you wish. 


Are you ready for a new pen friend? Copy and paste into an email your answers to the following questions and send to the address below. I will assign you a partner after the cutoff date.

Pen Friend Sign Up Questions
Send to sarah@classicalhomemaking.com

1. First and Last Name

2. Full Mailing Address including zip code and country

3. Email Address

4. What is your age group?
18-25
26-35
36-50
50-60
61+

5. Do you have a preferred age group to correspond with?
18-25
26-35
36-50
50-60
65+
no preference

6. Do you prefer a pen friend from your own country or is any country fine?

7. List some of your hobbies and interests:

8. What interests you about the Victorian Letter Writers Guild?

9. How did you learn about the Guild?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

2018 Autumn Pen Friend Exchange


This exchange is now closed. Please visit the tab above to reserve a spot in the Holiday Pen Friend Exchange. New partners will be assigned mid-November 2018.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Come Join the Summer 2018 Pen Friend Exchange!



This exchange is now closed. Visit the Pen Friend Application tab above to sign up for the Autumn round.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Spring 2018 Pen Friend Exchange


This exchange has now closed. Be sure to fill out the pen friend application above to be included in our next round!