A funny thing happened a few weeks ago. I wrote my first fan mail.
I’ve never been a fan mail writer, although it’s possible I wrote a love letter to Devon Sawa in my confused middle school days and have since blocked it out of my subconscious. I do remember writing J.K. Rowling a very, very long letter in the spring of 2004, after I reread the first five Harry Potter books as a coping mechanism after my dad died.
I never sent that letter. I never saw the point in reaching out to famous individuals who probably receive a ton of fan mail. What would be the point?
I changed my mind recently. It happened after I finished binge-listening to all the archived episodes of a podcast called The Girl Next Door. This podcast was recommended to me by a dear college friend after I put out a Facebook post BEGGING for suggestions for non-news-and-politics podcasts.
This podcast was PERFECT. It’s my favorite format – two friends with great banter and wonderful insight talking about interesting topics. The hosts, Kelsey and Erica, are wonderful and hilarious. I felt as if I knew them both by the time I finished bingeing – I related strongly to Erica, who is a Rebel (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies) and an adoptive parent, and to Kelsey, a minimalist and an environmentalist. PLUS they’re both writers.
So, when I finished listening, I decided to send them a Facebook message thanking them for their podcast. AND ERICA WROTE BACK IMMEDIATELY. Like, within minutes of me pressing send.
Now, these girls are not J.K. Rowling. But I still thought of them as celebrities who possibly would not even read my message. I have complicated feelings of jealousy and insecurity when it comes to published writers and successful creatives that I read about or listen to.
But – they wrote back! Because, as it turns out, they are just people, like me, and they are happy and excited to hear from readers and listeners, just as I am when someone comments on one of my blog posts.
I ended up following up with an e-mail to both Erica and Kelsey, asking for some writing advice. They were incredibly sweet and helpful.
Since then, I have reached out to two other podcast hosts: Sarah of The Mom Hour, who gave me advice about an intro to freelance writing course I could take, and Jess Lahey of #AmWriting – I sent her a personal message and got a very sweet reply that same day.
This really warms my heart. First of all, it’s a wonderful example of Shine Theory. This theory was coined by Ann Friedman, cohost of my first favorite podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, and is all about women helping other women, because “I don’t shine if you don’t shine.” Secondly – I really, really need help and advice! I’m taking steps toward following my dream of being a writer, but they’re baby steps and I have lots of questions. Even just hearing from these women reminds me that they are people, just like me. And that the success they’ve attained through hard work is obtainable for me, too.