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(ARA) – For centuries, people have expressed their words of love and affection through love letters, a meaningful tradition that continues to this day. Though much has changed since the days of Shakespearean sonnets, love letters are still a personal and inexpensive way to show someone special you care this Valentine’s Day. Today, jobs, family and jam-packed schedules mean that not everyone has time to sit down and pen the perfect sonnet – which helps explain the recent trend of love letters going digital.

A recent survey of busy young professionals (ages 22-35) conducted by Microsoft indicates that more people are trading in calligraphy and scented stationery for e-mail and even text messages. In fact, 79 percent of busy young professionals surveyed have sent or received an e-mail love letter within the past two years, with more than 77 percent reporting that they love receiving e-mail love letters, since e-mail is their primary means of communication.

Sending a love letter online doesn’t mean that it’s less sincere or romantic than a handwritten note. In fact, there are major advantages to sending or receiving a love letter via e-mail, including the ability to refer back to it easily, and from anywhere. Eighty-six percent of people surveyed who have received an e-mail love letter say they saved them in their inbox. With very large storage limits available through free e-mail providers like Windows Live Hotmail, it’s especially simple to access an old love letter from any computer, a Web-equipped mobile phone, or print them out as a permanent keepsake, as one survey respondent did. "I saved all of the [e-mail] love notes that my boyfriend-at-the-time wrote while we were in a long-distance relationship – now he’s my husband. I printed them out and have them in a binder that I look at on occasion."
A love letter doesn’t necessarily have to be a lengthy soliloquy professing your eternal love – it can be a simple "I love you" – in fact, more than 27 percent of people surveyed report that they’ve been told "I love you" for the first time over e-mail or instant messenger programs like Windows Live Messenger – or a short note recalling a fond memory you share. Another survey respondent recalled a particularly sentimental love note she received: "The day after my husband asked me to marry him, he sent me a beautiful e-mail saying how great he felt asking me, seeing the ring on my finger on the way in to work the next morning, watching how excited I was to show it off to everyone and how excited he was to spend the rest of his life with me."

Thanks to the convenience of e-mail, you don’t have to be Casanova to send a memorable love letter that will make someone’s day. With the recent trend of love letters going digital, these five simple tips will have you well on your way to sending a memorable e-mail love note that your significant other will cherish for years to come.

1. Set the mood: Find a quiet place and a dedicated time to write your love letter. Be sure to minimize distractions so you can focus your thoughts on your loved one and put your emotions into words.

2. Be your most romantic self:  A well-written love letter should make your beloved fall more in love with you, so think personal. Focus on the other person and express your emotions, dreams and vulnerability. Never be negative, but try to avoid being too funny. A love letter shares deep and often difficult-to-express feelings and should always sound like it comes from you.

3. Be specific and sincere: Highlight unique quirks or characteristics you love about the person, recall special memories you’ve shared, or write about the reasons why you fell in love with him or her in the first place. Don’t be too casual and don’t be afraid to let your true feelings show.

4. Spice up the presentation: Try adding color, special photos of the two of you or graphics. Using e-mail features like Hotmail Quick Add, you can easily search for and add images without leaving your inbox. If your relationship is long distance, or if you’re looking to add some more creativity to your letter, you can make and edit a short movie of yourself, a recent trip, or a favorite outdoor spot using free movie-making programs like Windows Live Movie Maker, available at

5. Double-check details before hitting "send": Don’t let writing errors distract from the meaning of your words. Read over your letter to make sure it conveys what you really mean and check for spelling and grammar errors. Most importantly, before sending an e-mail love letter, double-check that the "to" line is correct – 1 out of 10 people surveyed have sent love letters to the wrong person by mistake!

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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