The purpose of writing is to communicate ideas. Yet, so much written communication in the arts industry is impenetrable, pretentious twaddle. As a journalist and editor (and artist), I have some tips to set you on the right track. Think of this as “the gospel according to Fiona”.
- Authenticity. You will have a better chance of standing out if you write in your own voice, rather than adopting a tone that you think establishes you as a “serious artist”.
- Stop writing in the third person. Everyone knows you wrote your website material or bio yourself, so don’t pretend you have a team doing your promotions. This also establishes you as an authentic voice (see above).
- Think about what makes you different from everyone else. Do a poll of your friends and family: “what interests you about my work as an artist?” Chances are that they will point out something you have overlooked.
- If you are writing a press release or artist statement, don’t throw everything at it. Decide what is relevant now, what will make your piece stand out and what will interest your audience.
- Dont overwrite. Remember, everyone is busy and won’t scan for more than a few seconds to decide if it is worth their time.
- Think about a compelling headline and first paragraph. Intrigue, surprise and give them something they didn’t expect to see.
- Look at what everybody else is doing, and try something different.
- Think of writing as a stream. Every time a reader has to stop to work out what you mean, it is like putting a rock or log in the stream. A blockage or hesitation may cause you to lose the reader right there, so keep it easy, clear and concise. The writing itself should be invisible so only the message comes through.