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Omphaloskepsis Blog

The Power of Naming: Guest blog by writer Gigi Rosenberg

Oct 22, 2014

The Power of Naming: Guest blog by writer Gigi Rosenberg

"Give your project a title," I often advise the artists and writers in my workshops, "even if you change it later." In proposals, in conversations, as soon as you contemplate your next creative endeavor, title it.

A title helps for many reasons including:

  • A title gives you something to call it besides "that thing" you're working on, which helps you take it more seriously.
  • A title helps you (and others) remember what your project is really about.
  • A title makes your project official. That's essential when you're pitching it, fundraising for it, or even just chatting about it to potential audience members.

So how do you come up with a title?

A title can be mundane or poetic. The best titles are a little mysterious, sometimes provocative and often hint at the conflict explored in your project.

The best way to pick a title is to brainstorm and make a list, letting your mind wander. Some ways I dream up titles include choosing:

  • A phrase from the work
  • Two words that seem in opposition to one another or seem to contradict one another
  • A phrase that sums up what the work is really about

The most fun way to invent a title is to brainstorm with a group of friends, each adding onto the idea before. Let the list sit overnight. Then, pick your three favorites and try them out.

Following my own advice, I'm delighted to announce that the memoir I've been writing for more than a year finally has a title: How I Lost My Inheritance: A Mother/Daughter Memoir. My title has helped me sharpen the story arc and now when I talk about it, I don't have to refer to it as "that thing."

What are you working on now that you can title? Whatever it is, give it a name! And see how it helps you and your work thrive.

Gigi's Upcoming Seattle Appearances:

Saturday November 8
Seattle Central Public Library
2 p.m.

Sunday, November 16
Bushwick Book Club
4 p.m.


Gigi Rosenberg has performed at On the Boards in Seattle, been a guest commentator on Oregon Public Radio and wrote The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing (Watson-Guptill, 2010). This year she’s a writer with Jack Straw Productions in Seattle where she’s been reading excerpts from her memoir. She’s also Editor of Professional Artist magazine. For the latest, visit gigirosenberg.com. (photo by Larry Stillman)

Tags: Guest Blog, Books
Category: Art Business
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