Editing Tips for Artists: Part 2

In continuing the theme of this week’s Art Marketing Action newsletter and yesterday’s post, I include Part 2 of my editing tips. While they were written for artist statements, I believe they are equally helpful for your other text. Some things to look for . . .

Opening. Does your first sentence intrigue and lead to further reading? Or would one of your other sentences be a better opening?

Overuse of personal pronouns. Are there too many “I”s, “me”s, and “my”s? Change the sentences to get rid of them. Use "you" in your marketing text. It’s no longer just about you, the artist, but about them, too. Remember "YOU" were the TIME Magazine person of the year!

Clarity. Is it easy to understand what you’re trying to say? Is there a better way to say it? Would changing certain words or phrases make it easier to follow?

Grammar, punctuation, and correct word usage. Not everyone is a grammarian, but we can all use as much help as we can get in this area.

Repetition. Have you used the same or similar word too often? Because are writing shorter text, you seek variety and impact in your vocabulary.

Redundancy. Have you overly described your work? Beware of lists, which are used too frequently in artist statements and seem a lazy way to get more words on the paper.  Example: “I seek morning light that is clear, unfiltered, and bright.” Clear, unfiltered and bright are similar ways to describe the same type of light. A better way to say this might be: “The clarity of unfiltered morning light is my favorite starting point for the landscapes.”

Focus. Do you stick to the point or do you jump around? Are you trying to cover too much territory?

Purpose. Does what you write lead to a higher appreciation of your art? Or are there questions left unanswered?

The Litmus Test. Do the words on the paper compel people to look at your work again and to find out more about you?

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4 comments to Editing Tips for Artists: Part 2

  • In my marketing and advertising business, we always read the text out loud. This allows us to “hear” how we are being interpreted. What you see on the screen can be different than how a hard copy is “seen.” Add to that the fact that we biologically “hear” what we read and well, it’s best to print it out and then read your statement to someone or your self, out loud. Then think about how your statement makes you feel? Does it sound like marketing or does it sound sincere, honest and truthful. That is what makes for “compelling.”

  • Alyson, Thanks so much for this detailed guidance. Writing can be difficult but so important in our professional world. As an artist, images have always come easier than words, but you have helped tremendously over the past months. Now it is a challenge to choose the correct words, and in particular, not too many. Once your thoughtful ideas were presented, it became easier to be concise and descriptive. Sincerely, Margret Short

  • On Grammar, an area I can also use help in, Grammar Girl has become quite popular. Everyone frome CEO’s to teachers and students are subscribing to her blog. http://grammar.qdnow.com/ Just thought I’d pass it on.