Find Your Genre
Then think about your genre of writing. So how do you like to write? What do you like to talk about? Are you trying to inspire people, are you trying to show people how things are done? How do you like to write? You don't have to assume any specific tone. You don't have to be somebody that you're not. If your favorite person online is posting all these motivational things and you love it, that doesn't mean that you have to be that person that posts inspiring quotes and gives advice and stuff like that. Maybe you just love talking about technique. So talk about technique. If you love talking about your gear, talk about your gear. There is an audience for all of these things. It's just about choosing the one that you love talking about and then polishing the way that you talk about it to such an extent that you seem to know exactly what you're doing. This is a funny point that I'm making, because I'm not saying lie to anybody. Let me make this clear. Don't talk about something that you j...
ust hope to know a lot about one day and try to be an authority if you're not, but, the more you can write and rewrite and polish what you're saying, the more professional it will look and the more trust you'll build with your audience because you seem to know what you're talking about. Sort of an abstract point, hope it made sense. There's this quote that isn't properly attributed to anybody, but most popularly attributed to Blaise Pascal which says, "If I had more time, "I would have written a shorter letter." I love this quote. Because it really defines almost everybody's writing issue. Which is that it's so hard to use a few poignant words to describe something that feels so big to us, and what is bigger in our lives than our art? To try to describe what we're creating with the shortest words possible is so difficult, but it's so necessary for the world that we live in. We live in this world where nobody wants to read anything long, so how can we write short, descript sentences that pull people in and is engaging but also that describes properly what you're trying to say. So let me explain different ways that you might need to write for fine art and how long those pieces of writing need to be. We've got the biography, which is like your about me. One paragraph is good. You don't need to go on and on and on. Have you ever been to somebody's about page and it's like two pages of text and you're just like, oh man, I'm sure that you're a great person, but I gave up after like paragraph two. It happens. So keep it short for the biography. The artist statement is generally one paragraph up to a page is quite appropriate for your artist statement when you're writing for fine art. If you're writing about a series, a paragraph to a page is appropriate, so if you've created a new series, maybe you're going to debut that series in a gallery. They'll often ask you to write something about this new series, that's an appropriate length. If you're writing a grant about a page or more is probably appropriate, so if you're trying to get money for a project that you're working on, you're writing a grant proposal, it's good to really go into detail because this is somebody who's giving up a lot of money just for the betterment of your project, so you're gonna wanna convince people of every little detail of why it's so important that you get that money. And then a juried submission. I would say two different things here. One is that you're probably going to have to write about your individual images but also about the series as a whole, and this is where I would say, one sentence per image is very appropriate in those situations, but also one paragraph or more for your series, depending on how much space they give you to write about it. This is my Wingdings example. I have never in my life had an excuse to use Wingdings and now I have and I feel like I've reached the height of a mountain. I've used Wingdings. We speak in Wingdings, as you can see. But really what I mean is that we use symbols for everything. And I have never felt older than joining Instagram and realizing that I have no idea what people are trying to say to me. First of all, I'm like, I can't even see it. What does this say? And then it's like, a person holding a book or something and I'm like, "What does that mean?" And I can't figure it out. So we speak in these weird symbols now and that's just how life is, and our tolerance for reading has become incredibly diminished because of this, because we're finding shorter and shorter and shorter ways of saying things that emotes, hence the word emoticon, emoji and whatnot, what we're trying to convey with our long sentences that we used to use. And throughout history this has been a trend. We used to speak in very long, eloquent sentences and now we simply don't. So how do we battle this? How do we express ourselves eloquently in the written language without losing people? And I have some answers to this and you might have your own answers or you might be totally lost and that's okay too. We're gonna go over ways to do that. An example is when you get a long e-mail. How many of you guys have gotten a long e-mail and you're just like, nope, and you just won't even look at it right then cuz you're just like, whoa, that's a wall of text that I don't wanna read right now. That is the biggest pain to me. When I get an e-mail, now sometimes I get an e-mail that's super, super long and it should be where there is just so much good information in there. But how many times do you think that happens in a week where you get an e-mail that's really long and it should be really long? I get those e-mails and after like two sentences, I'm like, I know exactly what this person's gonna say, and then for five more paragraphs they elaborate on something that's important to them and they feel they need all those words to get it out, but you don't. Brevity is so important these days, because I don't have time to read long e-mails. You don't have time to read long e-mails, we just don't have time to do it, depending on the volume that you get. So that is my biggest pet peeve right now is that not that we shouldn't be speaking in long form or writing long form e-mails and things like that, but that if you are, there should be a point to it, a really clear point. And there usually isn't.