Whether building a brand, connecting with customers on social media, or writing artist statements for exhibitions most jewelers already employ descriptive and technical writing skills. However, for some it can be seen as a grueling task that one only slogs through when required. What if writing doesn't have to be such a struggle? What if I said the field needs jewelers who are also capable writers to contribute their ideas to blogs just like this one? Guest writing for a jewelry publication is easier than you think.
Some of you may be asking, "What would I even write about?" Are you an expert in a technique? Have you developed a unique or clever way to streamline or troubleshoot a process? Have you maintained a successful business for many years by adapting to changing markets? Do you have a collection of archival materials or ephemera that might be of interest to others? Are you interested in preserving and expanding the history of the field? If you answered yes, or even maybe, to any of these questions you should consider writing for a publication, journal, or blog.
Improve Your Writing To Be A Jewelry Guest Writer
If right now you are thinking, "Well, I'm just not great at writing." I encourage you think back to the first jewelry projects you created. As a new jeweler you likely experienced the frustration of repeatedly breaking saw blades and solder flowing where you hadn't intended. However, with diligence and practice, you learned to control your tools to achieve your desired results. With practice, your writing skills will improve and develop much like the muscle memory you already employ at your workbench.
- Here are a few ways to improve your writing skills:
- Set aside time to write daily, even if only for ten minutes.
- Not sure what to write about? Give yourself an assignment! Here is one to get you started: Pick an object, place, or piece of jewelry and spend 5 minutes writing a detailed visual description.
- Read what you've written aloud. This is a great way to catch grammatical and typographical errors.
- Ask a friend or colleague to read your text. Be open to edits and feedback!
- Read! Read about topics that interest you, read fiction, read magazines, and blogs, and poetry. Studies show reading improves vocabulary and language skills. This means you will improve as a writer simply by reading more.
Ready. Set. Write!
Guest writing for a jewelry publication requires some pre-planning. Once you are ready to start crafting a pitch, you should consider the following:
Who is the Audience for the Piece?
The answer to this question will help you determine which outlet is appropriate for your pitch.
- Who is the audience of the publication? Read the publication you plan to pitch!
- What is the submission processes for the outlet you plan to pitch? Some publications accept submissions on a rolling basis; others have limited windows for submission with specific deadlines. This information is usually on the website.
- What have others written on the topic? How is your piece different? What new angles do you explore?
- Can you follow through on your proposal? If you plan to pitch an artist profile, did you establish contact with the artist? Have they agreed to an interview? Similarly, don't pitch a 5,000 word deep dive on a topic if you don't have the time, or the research experience to follow through.
Make it Timely and Appropriate
Editors will have personal preferences about what is timely and appropriate for an outlet, but all pitches should contain at least these things:
- A couple concisely written paragraphs describing the subject of your proposed article. Explain how your pitch fills a need or presents a new angle readers will be interested in. Technical articles might not have a "story" per se, but your pitch should be clear about what readers will come away with. For artist profiles, historical research, and other topics be sure to convey the story and not only the topic.
- Three to four images that illustrate your topic.
- A piece of advice: even if the piece is already written, don't attach a full draft unsolicited. Once you successfully pitch, go back to your draft and reframe it accordingly.
Now that you have tips for building your writing skills and submitting pitches, I hope you will consider pitching me at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information, guidelines, and the variety of content we accept visit the SNAG Metalsmith website.
Adriane Dalton is editor for Metalsmith magazine, a publication of the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG), as well as a maker, writer, curator, and educator based in Richmond, VA. She holds an MA in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons The New School for Design (2014), and a BFA in craft and material studies from the University of the Arts (2004). Adriane has exhibited nationally and internationally at The Greater Denton Arts Council (Denton, TX), Contemporary Craft (Pittsburgh, PA), Snyderman-Works Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), A CASA Museu de Object Brasileiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil), and the National Ornamental Metal Museum (Memphis, TN).
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