Peggy Klaus is the author of Brag! How to Toot Your Own Horn Without Blowing It, which I recommend for every artist. I was thrilled to interview her about this book back in 2008 since it’s a topic artists struggle with: bragging about themselves and their accomplishments.
Klaus says brag is not a four-letter word: “Remaining quiet about your successes only leads to being underappreciated and overlooked.”
On her book website, Klaus offers a free questionnaire to help you brag better. I’ve adapted her questions here for your use. The answers you construct will help you write a better bio, media release, blog post, or brochure. I’ve also noted uses for your responses alongside some of the questions.
Your Bragging Questionnaire
1. What would you and others say are five of your personality pluses? [Your responses will come in handy when you're interviewed for a job, workshop appointment, or any position that requires working with others.]
2. What are the ten most interesting things you have done or that have happened to you that have contributed to your art career?
3. How did you end up becoming an artist? [This is a frequent topic of conversation. Be prepared to respond with a good story.]
4. What do you like/love about being an artist? [Substitute the specific medium if you prefer: What do you like/love about being a sculptor, painter, fiber artist, metalsmith, photographer, etc.?]
5. What projects are you working on right now, and why are you enthusiastic about them?
6. What career successes (education, exhibitions, collections, . . . ) are you most proud of having accomplished?
7. What new art or business skills have you learned in the last year? [This is something you'll want to document if you're an instructor in any capacity.]
8. What professional and personal obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today? What essential lessons have you learned from any mistakes?
9. What training/education have you completed, and what did you gain from those experiences? [Include self-education. How have you taught yourself? Also include non-art training/education that contributes to your worldview.]
10. What organizations are you associated with and in what ways? (member, officer, founder) How does each organization contribute to your art career or personal development?
11. How do you spend your time outside of the studio, including hobbies, interests, sports, family, and volunteer activities? [This kind of information can spice up anyone's biography.]
12. In what ways are you making a difference in people’s lives?
FINAL WORD: Brag better about your art by spending time reviewing your accomplishments. If you can’t stand the word “brag,” just think of it as truth-telling. You’re not going to embellish or lie about what you’ve been up to. You’re just going to be able to provide a more coherent response that doesn’t beat around the bush.