“When I was younger, I wrote a lot of fan letters and had the good fortune to hear back from several of my heroes. But I’ve realized that the trouble with fan letters is that there’s built-in pressure for the recipient to respond.
A lot of times when we write fan letters we’re looking for a blessing or an affirmation. As my friend Hugh MacLeod says, ‘The best way to get approval is to not need it.’
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If you truly love somebody’s work, you shouldn’t need a response from them. (And if the person you want to write has been dead for a hundred years, you’re really out of luck.) So, I recommend public fan letters.
The Internet is really good for this. Write a blog post about somebody’s work that you admire and link to their site. Make something and dedicate it to your hero. Answer a question they’ve asked, solve a problem for them, or improve on their work and share it online.
Maybe your hero will see your work, maybe he or she won’t. Maybe they’ll respond to you, maybe not. The important thing is that you show your appreciation without expecting anything in return.”