February has been cold and snowy so far. I have been shoveling, working in the studio, reading about abstract painters and researching how artists come up with titles and hashtags. I started thinking that for a profession centered on creating art, I spend a lot of my time with words. When you get into the business of being an artist you quickly realize that it requires you to get comfortable with writing.
There is also a lot of MATH, but that is for another post.
There are all kinds of words. There is the title of the work, a written statement describing the work, captions, descriptions, hashtags, key words, posts, texts. tweets and SEO words. There are inspirational words in the form of quotes. Words chosen for motivation like a word of the year. There are plans to write, lists to make and journals to fill. In using all these words, I make mistakes. Lots of them. Spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes mostly. This used to really freak me out. But its ok. Mistakes can be fixed. I also struggle to figure out what to say and how to say it. Thinking who cares what I have to say?
It’s easy to get embarrassed, self-conscious, tired, overwhelmed and quiet. When that happens, it is hard and awkward to start engaging again. But talking and writing about your work is important. In today’s world where self-representation is the norm, writing about your work is really not optional. It helps people get to know you and understand your point of view.
As an artist I use many tools. There are the obvious ones like paint, brushes and canvas to the less known ones like an expired credit card, a heat gun and the occasional condiment bottle. Learning how to use a tool takes practice. When I get stuck, I think of writing as just another tool and think of all the tools I have already learned to use.
If you are thinking of adding more writing to your art practice, start small perhaps by adding a bit more to a post. Take baby steps. It gets easier and It doesn’t have to perfect. Case in point - you are reading this and I am sure it isn’t close to perfect.