How exactly do you tell a story about your art? What should we talk about? How do we start?
If you want people to connect with your work, tell stories.
I’ve been writing in journals since I was in kindergarten. It’s blessed me with my distinct voice that shows in my writing. It also makes it easier for me to turn on my writer’s brain and write. For example: I’ve written 5 of these articles in under 2.5 hours on an airplane from Muscat to Doha and in the Doha airport. Once I know what I’m writing about, I can put pen to paper and go.
It’s easier in environments where I have “nothing” to do, like an airport. But sometimes, no matter where I am or what mood I’m in I feel stuck. When that’s the case I use an outline I found out about from Jonathan Fields based on The Hero’s Journey (a la Joseph Campbell).
I’ve also seen article about this on The Abundant Artist, I encourage you to read both and develop your own style, but I have created a worksheet for you today to help you out. We will walk through it today here.
(Sign up to be part of our amazing community and get the worksheet below here.)
Pain can be literal or figurative. I look for an emotional touch point when I’m writing. Last week when I shared the story about Frida I opened with dreaming about art. Several weeks prior I started with: “Life is short.” What is an emotional trigger in your artwork and the story of it’s creation? Tease that out.
This is the moment that triggered everything. Last week it was the specific dream of Frida and her big, gold halo. Other times it may be a moment of frustration, clarity, or the big spark that started you on your journey.
There are always bumps on the road. What kinds of obstacles did you face as you create your art? What pushed your buttons or challenged you?
I let these categories overlap in my writing. Here I write about the allies who helped me move through those previous tests. It could be people who help you, or about the lessons learned from those obstacles. Last week, Frida became my ally and teacher. She helped guide my decisions when I felt stuck, reinforcing the connection I feel to my inner artist.
This could be where you write about the largest obstacle you face in the creation of your work; I generally focus on issues of mindset. My audience happens to be a bunch of artists so that may allow me to talk more specifically about techniques without explaining them. Consider your audience as you share details! For Frida Strong in last week’s article, it was trusting in those imaginary conversations to lead me to a finished product.
This is where you talk about the icing on the cake. What was the magic fairy dust that appeared to fix everything? How do you come to the other side? Again, using last week’s article as an example, I built trust with Frida and I gave her (me) space to ponder. I also had faith that the answers would come to me.
This is where you write about the renewal or celebration of realizing your lessons and the story of your art. It’s a summary of what’s happened and where you are now because of it.
Share my Story
This category is a little different because the whole time you have been telling the story of your art. Last week I decided to share more of Frida’s story in this part of the outline.
Here is where we wrap things up: what can viewers take from your work? What can they see in the work? What can they be reminded of when they look at it?
Remember: there is no one formula for the perfect story. It’s about finding your voice and teasing out the story behind your art.
Be Creatively Courageous: Today I made a packet that helps you create an outline of your art’s story and offers you prompts. I hope it gets you started on sharing the wonderful stories behind your art!! Sign up today and join our community to receive this worksheet.