Writing Your Bio.
We get it – writing about yourself can be a daunting task! To summarize your work into a short, engaging text is not an easy exercise.
Chances are that you’ve had to write a bio before – for a grant proposal, press release or social media – but it’s good practice to regularly update it like you would a CV. As you activate your profile in ELAN’s new Member Directory, we recommend that you take this chance to improve your bio by adding current projects and/or new accomplishments!
Think of it as an opportunity to attract interest to your work. We envision this directory to be a tool for arts organizations, cultural workers and artists in any career stage to find other creatives to present, promote or collaborate with. While an individual or organization must be an active ELAN member in order for their profile to appear, anyone can browse, search or filter through the directory.
So, whether you’re writing a bio from scratch or recycling one you’ve used before, we’ve made a short guide to help you out!
What Do I Write?
In case you’re having trouble brainstorming the content of your bio, we have a list of questions to guide you. Keep in mind that because ELAN’s community encompasses many artists from various disciplines, some of these questions won’t apply to you specifically.
- Where are you from? Where are you based now?
- How long have you been making art?
- How did you learn your practice? Do you have formal education, or are you self-taught? Were you trained by an established artist in your discipline?
- What are your biggest accomplishments?
- What are you working on currently?
- What sets you apart from other artists working with the same discipline(s), medium(s), theme(s), etc?
- What is your creative process?
- Have you won any awards or grants?
- Do you have any publications?
- Was your work featured in any exhibitions? Have you performed at any festivals?
- What productions have you been involved in? Have you played any popular roles?
- What exhibitions have you curated? What festivals have you organized?
- What productions have you directed, choreographed, or written?
- Have you been commissioned to create work for an impressive client?
- Is your work part of any public institution’s collection?
- Who have you collaborated with? Have you toured with or opened for any well-known acts? Are you a part of a collective?
- Have any reputable publications or media outlets written about your work?
- Who represents your work?
The key is to find the right balance between common terminology and originality; you want your profile to stand out, but you also want it to be searchable.
Keywords are words that people type into search engines (like Google) to find the specific content they’re looking for. So, if you want your profile to turn up when someone searches our directory, it’s advised that you include some keywords in your bio.
Think about the type of person that would use ELAN’s directory to find an artist like you. What would they search for? What kind of language would they use?
The point is not to simply list these keywords in your bio, but to carefully incorporate them in your text.
- Browse through the profiles in our Member Directory to get a sense of the kind of things you like to see in a bio
- Bios are commonly written in third person (they/she/he)
- It’s wise to ask a peer or mentor to read it over and provide feedback
How Do I Post?
With our new sign-up forms, ELAN Members have the opportunity to add their bio immediately upon joining. Existing ELAN Members can update their bio at any time in account settings.
The buttons at the top of the WYSIWYG editor box allow you to edit the appearance and function of your text. Hover your curser over the button icon to see its label. For example, you could emphasize some words or phrases with bold, italic or underlined font.
The Insert/edit link button allows you to create hyperlinks, so that somebody reading your bio can click on a word or phrase and be redirected to another page on the web:
- Drag your mouse over the text that you’d like to turn into a hyperlink, to highlight it.
- Click the button “Insert/edit link” at the top of the box.
- Copy and paste the URL for the page you’d like to link to.
- Congratulate yourself for creating a hyperlink!
*It’s a good idea to select “new window” from the “Target” drop-down menu, so that the person viewing your profile isn’t directed away from our site.
Check out these articles for more inspiration:
What We Learned From Writing 7000 Artist Bios (Artsy)
A Professional Bio-Writer Shares Tips for Crafting an Amazing Artist Bio (Spotify)
Finally, if you have any questions, you’re welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 514 935 3312.
See you in the directory!