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I'd like to engage in a more extensive letter-writing correspondence. However, I'm so tied to being able to see the "history" of any exchange (instant messaging, email, texting, etc.) that I find it very difficult to keep up with "paper". Eventually I put off responding for so long that I've forgotten entirely the thread of conversation, and it seems awkward to reply.

I'd love a simple system for motivating myself to correspond regularly, help me keep track of letters sent and received, and the gist of each "conversation".

closed as off-topic by vladiz, holroy, Luke, Mooseman Aug 23 '15 at 19:15

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When reading your request I immediately thought about using a tickler archiving system.

In the tickler system you have multiple folders: one inbox folder, one for each day of the month, some have one folder for each month, and one folder for each archive key (in your case the recipient of the letters).

The key to making this work is that when you receive a letter you read it and decide when you want to answer it. If you receive it on the 12th and decide to answer it in a weeks time you put it in the 19th folder. If you want to answer in a few months time, put it in the corresponding month folder.

When you answer it, take a look at the corresponding recipient folder, and put both received and, (copies of) sent letters in there when finished.

The last step is to change your daily routine so that you'll check the tickler system each day to see if there are letters to be written. When switching months you also check if there are something for this month and distribute that to the days of the month. The inbox can be used for received unread letters, and should be cleared at start of routine.

Added bonus: You can use the same system to keep track of bills to pay, invitations you need answer, maybe even keep the grocery list in there, or other stuff you need to keep track of with reference to days or months.

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I use Evernote. If you use a smartphone, there is an app. The app lets you take a photo of the letters for storage, (Also the text in the photos is searchable).

Alternatively there is OneNote, which also has an app.

  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. – MrPhooky Aug 18 '15 at 15:08
  • @MrPhooky you're right I will edit this answer. – slvjoe Aug 18 '15 at 15:20
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Either use carbon paper to generate a copy of every letter you write or

Create an electronic image of every page you write using either a scanner, photocopier, or ideally the camera on a smartphone.

Either way you get the record of what you write, now you need to organize it. Assuming you get letters back using paper copies of your outbound letters lends itself well to a simple binder in chronological order. If you use electronic versions then file names and folder structure gets it done.

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