Life in the Box: Letters to the Editor

I’ve been writing a lot lately, sometimes to let off steam, but often to express sentiments in my local newspaper. Quite a few have been published, too. So I thought I’d do a quick summary of how to write those letters, to newspapers, senators, representatives and any other sounding board.

Hint one: short is best.

Hint two: make one point.

Hint three: think about who you’re addressing. Assume they might listen to reason. Otherwise, why are you even writing?

Hint four: along the same lines, when writing to a local paper, talk about local issues or at least give a local angle to national issues. 

Hint five: when writing to your representatives, what you write will be summarized by an intern or secretary—so just say what you’re for or against and maybe a statement of why. It will likely just be a hatch mark on someone’s tally to tell the representative: “two voters are for the bill, twenty against.”

Hint six: if you have humor, try it, although in the “post irony age” this is harder than it might seem.

Think bumper sticker. A friend of mine recently commented on President Trump’s slams against Michael Bloomberg’s height. She wrote: “Pay no attention to President Trump. He loves Putin, and Putin is 5’7”–the same as Bloomberg.”

I like one statement being used lately: “Vote Blue, no matter who.” Of course, there are a few Republicans hiding in the Democratic Presidential race right now: Tulsi Gabbard and Mike Bloomberg. Let’s hope we can weed them out during the primaries. Bloomberg (who was also a Republican and an Independent in various years) is not as Trumpian as Tulsi, but he is the sort of guy Elizabeth Warren has been warning us about—big money wanting power to get more big money.

My letters to the editor are usually about three to eight sentences long. The editors often trim them a bit for publishing. I’m okay with that.

When I’m outraged about something, it’s hard for me to summarize my feelings and thoughts. Often, I will write long diatribes to get my thoughts untangled. These long writings are letters to myself. After I get the thoughts aired, I can then pick out just one top point to send out. It never seems like enough, but I can’t stand doing nothing.

I like to think of my writings as a drop in the bucket that sends thought waves out to others. And I hope the waves rock enough other waves to overturn the Republicans’ misguided power boat.

Nancy Heather Brown is a retired, Emmy Award-winning television producer whose career has included interviewing, writing, narrating and editing for a span of four decades. Today, she enjoys learning new things and reflecting upon the creative process and life issues, both inside and outside the box. Her opinions are her own, and are not necessarily those of this web site.


Is Bloomberg a Republican? New York Times article:

Is Tulsi Gabbard a “Trumpian?” New York Times article

P.S. I recommend supporting newspapers that do remarkable reporting, the likes of which keep us in the know about this horrible administration. I just subscribed to the digital New York Times at $4 per month (first year,) and the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. I also buy my local paper. I feel it’s like a membership to Public Radio or Public Television—which I also support—but the real investigative journalism of our times still occurs in the newspaper business.

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