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Thread: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

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    Senior Member distracted_mom's Avatar
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    Default Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    And I don't mean in a stalker-ish way...

    How do you guys keep track of to whom you have written and when, what you chatted about, etc.?

    I thought about scanning in the letters, but I'm not sure that's what will work for me.

    Do any of you use spreadsheets, notebooks? If so how do you set it up? I recently started bullet journaling and I am trying to figure out a system for tracking my letter writing.
    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
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    Senior Member Morgaine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    I don't keep track of what I've written about (usually because it is responded to in the letters, and I don't mind reading repetition as long as it isn't in every letter), but I do keep a page-a-day diary for recording incoming/outgoing mail. I may write who I have to reply to on shopping list paper; the sheet currently almost full!

    I had tried to use spreadsheets but it is easier to write in the diary what comes in and what goes out.
    I am a Penpaller and Correspondent. I have a blog. I have a snail mail forum for discussion and postal challenges....
    Best wishes,
    Mia

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    Senior Member katherine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    I've been wondering that too. I worry that I'll write a penpal about something I've already written them about....

    But I figure if I don't remember, they might not either!
    Pens and Perspective for all hands, great and small (including pen reviews by the small handed!)

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    I scan everything sent or received and store the PDFs in Google Drive. Very convenient!

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    Senior Member KKay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    You could put each name of the person you write into a single document. (I use Open Office because it is free) Then next to their name, write what you wrote about. You can put the date you sent it, the date you received a reply, what paper and pens you used, anything you want. Or if you want multiple documents on each person, you can do that too. Or you can do this in a dedicated journal as well. If you want to prevent the document from getting too large, just erase each time a new correspondence has been made. You can also just put this on a flash drive, and keep it with you.

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    Senior Member Lady Onogaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    I generally just respond to whatever is in the letter that the person has written about.

    If I don't remember if I told them something, I just say, "I can't remember if I told you, but ... ."

    I keep a desk diary dedicated to letters in/letters out. Mostly I try to file the letters I have already responded to.
    Lady Onogaro

    "Be yourself--everybody else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    if it is a pen pal I'll just write about things that has happened from the last time I sent something and/or any questions that are on his/her correspondence, mind you I'm normally very chaotic

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Sounds like a problem that can benefit from an online tool.

    (I'm a web-developer, so naturally I think along those lines)
    - Will
    A place to look for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Sounds like a problem that can benefit from an online tool.
    like email

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    I started scanning all my outgoing mail when a letter I'd spent a lot of time on went missing in the post (to China).

    I also have a small journal where I record each outgoing mail, with one line per mail with the date, recipient, and what type of stationery used. This is all outgoing mail, including non-pen pals.

    And then a second journal limited to regular correspondents with one page per pen-pal and one line per message with the date and type of stationery.

    So it is a little overkill, and adds a fair amount of time to the process of writing, addressing, and sending a letter. I'm not sure it is worth it.

    It would be easy to have a journal much like my second journal, but with a short "outline" of a few lines per message where you jot down the major topics covered. Perhaps that would be quicker than scanning; I'm not sure.

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickwick View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Sounds like a problem that can benefit from an online tool.
    like email
    Hahaha...
    No, what I meant was an online tool that allows you to keep track of your penpal-ing activities.

    For example after I write my letter to my friend, say Dr. Watson, then I can take a picture using my phone through the online tool and I can input what ink, what paper, what pen.

    That information will then be stored by the online tool, and optionally, an email could be automatically sent to Dr. Watson telling him that a letter is coming his way (of course you can disable this feature if you want to surprise him).

    Then a month later it's Dr. Watson's turn to reply to my letter, so he wrote the letter, took a picture using the same online tool via his phone, input the ink, the paper, the pen he used, then the tool will email me that I have a letter coming from 221B Baker Street.

    Multiply this scenario by 100 penpals, and not only I can see who do I need to write next, (who did or didn't reply), I can also start to see where my ink went, what paper I use the most, and of course, which pen is my favorite for writing letters.

    And you can start to see how handy this tool could be.
    It's like utilizing modern technology to assist human touch correspondence.
    - Will
    A place to look for restored vintage pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    I don't, and it's complete chaos. I like it that way.

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    Senior Member distracted_mom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by Pickwick View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Sounds like a problem that can benefit from an online tool.
    like email
    Wait. Is that e-word allowed in this forum?
    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Hmmm. The incomings are arranged by arrival date, oldest in front, and filed in a tiny antique glass aquarium. Replies are composed responding to what was in the recipient's letter and whatever is on my mind. I return to certain themes at times but don't often repeat myself and doubt anyone would notice if I did(!).

    Most pens have been rotated out of use by the next batch of letters so I usually don't repeat that part; all my paper is Tomoe but I mix things up with rubber stamps, envelopes, and tuck-ins (love tuck-ins)--I don't record this stuff.

    Once replied to, letters are filed alphabetically, newest in front.

    Occasionally I put a page of a received letter (one with no identifying information) into a library book before I return it. Just imagine!

    "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life"?óMary Oliver

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Some of my pen pals could tell you how disorganized I am.

    Generally, after I respond to a letter, I get rid of it. I try to respond to things in the letter. Yes, there may be some repetition over time, especially in the early stages where a pen pal and I are exchanging "getting to know you" type letters.

    My main thing is to respond in a week or two.

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    Senior Member distracted_mom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by VertOlive View Post
    Hmmm. The incomings are arranged by arrival date, oldest in front, and filed in a tiny antique glass aquarium. Replies are composed responding to what was in the recipient's letter and whatever is on my mind. I return to certain themes at times but don't often repeat myself and doubt anyone would notice if I did(!).

    Most pens have been rotated out of use by the next batch of letters so I usually don't repeat that part; all my paper is Tomoe but I mix things up with rubber stamps, envelopes, and tuck-ins (love tuck-ins)--I don't record this stuff.

    Once replied to, letters are filed alphabetically, newest in front.

    Occasionally I put a page of a received letter (one with no identifying information) into a library book before I return it. Just imagine!

    Oh, I like that idea of leaving something in a library book! Although the controlling part of me would have a hard time with having an incomplete letter.
    I am so new to this (and so completely loving it!)...can you tell me more about tuck-ins?
    Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pickwick View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by penwash View Post
    Sounds like a problem that can benefit from an online tool.
    like email
    Hahaha...
    No, what I meant was an online tool that allows you to keep track of your penpal-ing activities.

    For example after I write my letter to my friend, say Dr. Watson, then I can take a picture using my phone through the online tool and I can input what ink, what paper, what pen.

    That information will then be stored by the online tool, and optionally, an email could be automatically sent to Dr. Watson telling him that a letter is coming his way (of course you can disable this feature if you want to surprise him).

    Then a month later it's Dr. Watson's turn to reply to my letter, so he wrote the letter, took a picture using the same online tool via his phone, input the ink, the paper, the pen he used, then the tool will email me that I have a letter coming from 221B Baker Street.

    Multiply this scenario by 100 penpals, and not only I can see who do I need to write next, (who did or didn't reply), I can also start to see where my ink went, what paper I use the most, and of course, which pen is my favorite for writing letters.

    And you can start to see how handy this tool could be.
    It's like utilizing modern technology to assist human touch correspondence.
    I know what you meant but the joke was just there and I couldn't resist.

    I'm also very impressed that you have 100 pen pals. I am backlogged with my meager 6.

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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by Waski_the_Squirrel View Post
    Generally, after I respond to a letter, I get rid of it.

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    Senior Member Lady Onogaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Quote Originally Posted by VertOlive View Post
    Hmmm. The incomings are arranged by arrival date, oldest in front, and filed in a tiny antique glass aquarium. Replies are composed responding to what was in the recipient's letter and whatever is on my mind. I return to certain themes at times but don't often repeat myself and doubt anyone would notice if I did(!).

    Most pens have been rotated out of use by the next batch of letters so I usually don't repeat that part; all my paper is Tomoe but I mix things up with rubber stamps, envelopes, and tuck-ins (love tuck-ins)--I don't record this stuff.

    Once replied to, letters are filed alphabetically, newest in front.

    Occasionally I put a page of a received letter (one with no identifying information) into a library book before I return it. Just imagine!

    Oooh--I like the idea of putting a page in a library book before returning it (even if it is my letter). You have my permission to do so (as you have stipulated).
    Lady Onogaro

    "Be yourself--everybody else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

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    Senior Member Lady Onogaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tracking Pen Pals/Correspondence

    Tuck-ins are little "gifts" that you send the recipient. I like to send clip bookmarks, clipped pictures from old calendars (sort of mini-posters), stickers, bookmarks, paper samples, ink swatches, etc. I've received paper samples, cards, postcards (some lovely ones and some fun ones), fortune-telling fish, etc. Paper ephemera, in other words.
    Lady Onogaro

    "Be yourself--everybody else is already taken." --Oscar Wilde

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