1. A list for the budding art-writer, written for ‘Made in Bed’ magazine
  1. Writing well is time-consuming hard work, and does not gel with being a parent. You need uninterrupted quiet. But the research is fun, and you get to think about whatever artists you like most.
  2. You can not make a living just on your writing. Impossible. You’ll need to supplement with teaching, giving talks, pulling pints, maybe Crowdfunding, Patreon, etc. Or, come up with a great book idea about a boy wizard who fights magical baddies across seven thick volumes, all made into feature films and spawning a massive franchise, and never worry about money again.
  3. Read tons, like 2-3 hours a day. (Yep, you’ve got to read, and know, a lot.) Make sure you’re reading plenty of great fiction and not solely art/cultural stuff, to keep your literary ear tuned up. These days I’m loving Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tana French, Valeria Luiselli, Ottessa Mosfegh, Max Porter, Zadie Smith.
  4. Amazingly, artists and gallerists really do care about art critics’ coverage, and that critics write quality essays+books. Artists and their dealers will read every pearly word you write about them, guaranteed. I am always surprised by this. (On the minus side, the rest of the art world does not care or actually read, aside from the occasional student.) You are basically treated with respect and allowed to write what you want. You have lots of freedom! Take advantage – maybe setting up your own online magazine and single-handedly re-inventing art criticism for a new generation, as Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad have done at thewhitepube.co.uk
  5. Also following thewhitepube’s example: see plenty of art in familiar and unfamiliar places; think for yourself what you like/dislike; and pen one review a week (minimum), without fail. 
  6. What’s nice is you get to travel all over to see art, on someone else’s dime.