Why it’s essential to be a super fan
I was reading about being a fan in the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and it struck me how necessary fandom is in the process of growing your work.
It also made me flash back to the day when the only kind of fan I knew how to be was the kind who doddled Ms. Nick Carter in her notebook and faux-cried every time the camera cut away from his pretty blonde mug in the Backstreet Boys' “I Want it That Way” music video. (I was nine.)
After my fandom eventually extinguished (somewhere between that and catching the E! network’s reality train wreck, The House of Carters) I grew wiser.
I eventually discovered that there are two types of fans in the world:
a. the “moony” kind who thinks someone is greater than themselves and therefore thinks this person can add something to their lives and...
b. the “equal” kind who thinks of a “celeb" as the person they are and admires the road they’ve traveled to share their particular talent or work with the world.
The latter is the essential we’re going to talk about… because we all can’t be Dan Charles, Paul Rudd's character from a SNL skit who's the perfect example of the “mooney” fan :)
So what exactly does super fandom bring to your creative business (and how can you make sure you're not being a Dan Charles)? The best way to answer that is to jump straight into these three "how-to"s...and the advantages + results that come from each.
1. Infuse your work with passion
Create a "things I’m 'fan-ing out' about" list. Write down things you’re a fan of and list all of the particular elements you’re inspired by. For example: You're a fan of One Direction and you can’t stop swooning over Harry Style’s perfectly mussed up long locks... Infuse your work with this intel by making your novel’s lead character have the same hair style. Or if you keep hitting repeat on vintage jams such as “The Rebirth of Slick” then add some hip-hop visuals to your latest paintings (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air graffiti, anyone?)
ADVANTAGES: inspiration, come up with unique ideas, and can call upon this to give your work a second-wind when you’re stuck.
RESULTS: clarity, motivation and super-targeted point-of-view.
2. Connect with others (without ulterior motives)
Don’t shy away from reaching out to industry peers who you fangirl (or fanboy) over. Image how much you like hearing from people who love your own work! It’s a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling to share :) I think of it as the scene on Friends when Rachel’s trying to convince Monica it’s okay to tell Ross that she loves him:
Rachel: Well, ultimately, I was trying... Well, I- I wanted to tell him that-- that I'm still in love with him.
Monica (gasps): What?! You cannot tell him that.
Rachel: Why? Why not? People love to hear that. Come on, I love you. There. Wasn't that nice?”
But do it the right way. Be kind. Be respectful. Don’t expect anything in return. Be honest. Be equal. You never know what awesome bonds can be established just by reaching out person to person.
ADVANTAGES: feel warm + fuzzy, make someone's day brighter, good karma points
RESULTS: make friends...not just connections, find collaborators, get new projects brewing.
3. Gush about what you like!
I remember when I first got to ‘digitally’ know Kimra Luna, a personal branding & online biz strategist, I felt a deeper connection with her when she shared how much she loves Dr. Who (I’m a BBC nut myself) and loved seeing a pic she snapped of a Sherlock-inspired skull on her desk. Talking about what you like gives a community layer to your business because it’s the simplest way to show the person you are behind the biz curtains. It’s not “informal" to do that. It’s real. You’re real and people want to see that (seeing is knowing after all.)
ADVANTAGES: pinpoint your dream customers faster, gives you the opportunity to take a stance on what you like (or don’t like) and it’s fun!
RESULTS: growing committed community, bonding, creating excitement and shining as yourself.
Give some of these a try! Let me know how it goes in the comments below. Plus tell me what you're the biggest fan of! Game of Thrones, Sarah Snyder's Instagram, the Food Network, that scene in Love Actually where Hugh Grant dances...anything!
Sending you lots of 💕 and 🦄✨,