Your Unique Story: tips for figuring it out and getting it out there

Happy September!
Whether it's back to school time for you or not, this time of year never-the-less makes it feel like it's time for a fresh start. We are feeling it, and are excited to dive in with you and help you refresh your story and your materials. This month we'll be sharing advice and ideas on how to hone in on how you tell your story, both in writing and verbally. Once you have that down, you'll find that it'll be easier to pursue and get opportunities and reach your goals!

Fact: you are the only person in the world who does exactly what you do in your unique way. As artists and creatives, we all occupy so many different roles in our lives that sometimes we need a boost in seeing the big picture. We need to assure that we stand out in our vibrant, saturated, creative communities. So, how do you let your audience know who you are, tell your story in a compelling way, and genuinely show that your artwork or creative products are so incredibly unique? We’ll cover a step-by-step process below.

Sharing your unique story in a professional, genuine way is undoubtedly important because potential customers and patrons want to know who you are and where you come from; it gives them confidence to know about you, makes them comfortable and interested, and they can connect with you and your work in a profound way. Your story is part of your identity, whether that’s a brand identity for your product or who you are as an artist.

By confidently conveying your professional creative self, you will be able to reach several goals that come along with having a strong story and identity:

  • You will sell work. If there’s a strong story behind your work, it’s going to be a lot easier for people to hold on to it, remember it, and want it.
  • People will be more inclined to follow you on social media if they can connect with you and recognize themselves in your story. You want to form a bond with your audience and the best way to do that is by sharing.
  • With your story loud and clear on your website, people will feel comfortable reaching out to you for commissions, purchases, or to collaborate on projects.

The first step in feeling confident in telling your unique story is to set aside quality time to write. Set aside one uninterrupted hour on a timer and answer these questions:

  • Who are you and how do you want to be defined? For example, you might work a day job as an accountant, but make jewelry in your spare time, with the hopes of eventually launching a jewelry business. So you would state that you are indeed a jewelry maker.
  • Write out your professional bio as a creative. Look back at the work you’ve made, where you’ve showed it, who has purchased it, and any press you’ve received and sing your own praises. Just starting out? Don’t worry about it. Definitely touch on any education, workshops, and experiences you have along with your passion for the work.
  • Write out a detailed description of your work or project. What does it look like, how is it made, what kind of materials do you use, what does it feel like? Be as specific as possible.
  • What is the inspiration behind your work? This can be anything and everything, don’t hold back.

Next, after a short break, read over what you’ve written and highlight the parts that are unique to you. Make a separate list of these unique traits and translate these facts into a written story about yourself in the first-person. For example, you might have started out by describing yourself as a jewelry maker (of which there are thousands), but now you are able to describe yourself as a jewelry maker who uses brass fittings and rope from the hardware store to make bold, sculptural statement necklaces inspired by your life growing up on the New England coast helping your grandfather repair his boats. It’s pretty likely that no one else can claim that exact story, and this specificity will make your audience want to learn and see more.

The added bonus of adding specific details to your story is that they can also help shape your logo and the look of your website if you are getting ready to launch an online store. The jewelry maker in the above example might be inspired to incorporate nautical elements into her logo or decide that she wants all the product photography to be taken on a weathered dock to reference her story.

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