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Articulation 8/26/04 - "Tiny Words, Tiny Art"
August 26, 2004
Hi ~

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"Tiny Words, Tiny Art": A Mini-Article

Newsflash: EVERY creative person gets stuck sometimes. Everyone is challenged by writer's block, jitters, self-doubt, procrastination vices, and dust bunnies in the imagination.

I don't think it matters how many books you've published or how many paintings you've sold...the musty twists of "stuckness" just go with the territory.And let's not forget it.

Why is this important to remember? I've come across so many creative people who are so hard on themselves when they get stuck. They doubt their creativity, doubt their talents and abilities, and then their fire burns out.They think that if they get stuck, something is wrong with them, that they "must not be cut out for this, after all."

I actually believe it's the other way around. If you're experiencing the sensation of "stuckness", it means that your creativity is right on the brink of something wonderful, IF you dare to let it happen.

Given the fact that this happens to all of us, the important thing is not to beat outselves up when we get stuck -- that just triggers a dead-end cycle of self-doubt and non-productivity. So the trick, then, is to recognize that we're stuck, and then get unstuck as quickly as possible.

One of the best antidotes to being stuck is very simple -- THINK TINY. We all know this, but do we practice it?My father, an extremely prolific writer during his lifetime, once shared with me that writer Annie Dillard compared writing to fiber-optics: each word sheds light on the next. What a great metaphor for building a sentence, one word at a time.(Side note: please see The Shoppes Corner section of this newsletter for information about the new Artella Artist Scholarship program that we've launched in memory of my father.)

I say that it's time to take the pressure off! The blank canvas may seem overwhelming, but one little half-inch stroke is doable, right? Fulfilling your dream of writing a book is a BIG task, but "write 2 sentences" is a tiny one.

Think modular...block by block, step by step, word by word, stroke by stroke. Tiny tasks can bring about big dreams.

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. "
-- Walter Elliott

"I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves. "
-- Earl of Chesterfield

  • What project is on hand that you can break down into smaller pieces?
  • Can you take a break from your creative project to just PLAY in tiny ways? Tiny canvases, tiny stories? (See information about Artella's"Tiny Fiction" ATC swap, below!)Can you partner with a friend to help support one another in thinking "tiny"?
  • What can you do to remind you think modularly, and give yourself a break when you get stuck?


This week's Articulation Art-Splash is borrowed from the archives of the Weekly PoemPaintings, which are watercolor meditations sent to Artella Members every single Friday. There have already been 21 PoemPaintings sent, with a new one each week.This one is called Playing With Blocks, and I hope you enjoy it.

You can find it at

Get a PoemPainting every Friday and and enjoy tons of other juicy benefits by becoming an Artella Member for only $3.00 a month!


1. Retreat Schedule Available and Keynote Announced! The full schedule for Artella's "Creative Manifestival" Retreat, to be held in Connecticut on November 11-14, is now posted! I'm thrilled to announce that Jill Badonsky, author of "Nine Modern Day Muses (And a Bodyguard)" will be with us for the weekend and presenting thekeynote speech on Friday night! I know that Jill will WOW us all with a dynamic dose of her wisdom, enthusiasm, and inspiring advice.

The "Creative ManiFestival" retreat is unique because you can COMPLETELY customize the experience by selecting your choices for workshops and activities all weekend long.Visit to view the full schedule and read descriptions of each offering.NOTE: If you plan to attend, tour reservation is requested by September 1. If you want to attend but cannot make the September 1 deadline, please write me asap to discuss options. We want to make it possiblefor as many people to participate in this event as possible!

2.Tiny Fiction ATC swap! Here's a great challenge for "thinking tiny"...Artella's "Tiny Fiction" ATC (Artist Trading Cards) swap. The deadline has already passed, but Deb is accepting last-minutesignups for this week only. The swap involves make ATCs with art on one side, and short stories about the art on the back. Firm deadline is September 30. For all the details, email Deb at more information about ATCs, see the Artful Links section, below!

3. Remember September! Artella is proud to help spread the word about the Remember September mail art project, hosted by curator Gail Ellspermann. This wonderful project is open to anyone of any age or art experience level, and is a meaningful way to remember the lives lost and heroism demonstrated on 9-11-01. Please take a look at for the guidelines for participating in this project.

4. Poetry Contest Winners! This week's winners in the Free Poetry Contest are:
  • 1st Place - Sudha Suri for "Only Butterflies"
  • 2nd Place - Ann McGovern for "No Vember"
  • 3rd Place - Chelsea Rose for "The Dark"
  • 4th Place - Ashley Fothergill for "Hello Loneliness..."
Congratulations to our winners! You can see these winning poems, AND the winning poemsfrom our Quarterly Poetic Idol contest announced last week, in theArtella Poetry Gardens.

For information on all our contests, visit

5. Enlightened Entrepreneuring! We have two new teleclasses that will totally change the way you think about making a living by doing what you love: "Optimizing and Awesome-ize Your Web Site" and "The BusinessBlitz Intensive", both premiering as one-time only classes in September. You can read more at

6. Subscription Sizzle for one week only! Remember our famous "Sizzle into Summer Sale", back in early July? Lots of people have written to say that they missed the sale while they were away on vacation, and this week seemed to be the perfect time to bring back the sale for one more week!So...which are you an Adventurous Artist, Wild Writer, Hip Entrepreneur, or Inspired Seeker? Take our quiz at and then select your Pack of complimentary gifts worth hundreds of dollars when you subscribe or renew your subscription before midnight EDT on next Tuesday, August 31!


SPECIAL SHOPPES ANNOUNCEMENT: I am pleased and proud to announce the new Lonnie Kliever Artist Scholarship Fund, created in memory of my father.By covering or supplementing their setup fees, the fund will allow artists and creative sellers with financial needs to sell products and services in The Shoppes of Artella. Donations of any amount are welcome, as are applications for scholarship support. See all the details at, and please spread the word about this worthy cause.

To kick-off the new fund, our featured artist this week, terri st. cloud, is very generously donating ALL profits on sales of her beautiful "bone sighs" to the fund, today through August 31. These illustrated meditations are extremely profound, provocative, and make sensational gifts. Share terri's uplifting work, and consider supporting Artella artists by purchasing an inspiring bone sigh this week!

Check out all all of the weekly specials by clicking the sunflower on our home page

MY FAVORITE DEALS? All decadently dazzling jewelry by Melissa Chapin is delightfully discounted!Every piece comes with free gift wrapping that just overflows with elegance...I've seen Melissa's giftwrapping, and it's quite something to behold!

Dave Powell has added a special limited time bonus: purchase any of his hypnosis CDs and receive a free60-minute guided meditation CD for free. Customers have been very pleased with Dave's CDs, and I hope you'll take a look.


Try something new and play on a small canvas. A small canvas challenges us to rethink the way we work withcolors and composition, and it also allows us to complete artwork quickly and easily. ATCs (see below) are a great place to start,but you can work even smaller, too. I like making tiny collages on post-in notes...even the super-tiny ones! A fun way to make use ofthe mini-collages is to tape them on envelopes or packages when you mail cards, letters, or even bills!


Participants in a recent YOU * U focus group, Mary Gray's "Doing Haiku", have been discovering the enchanting world of haiku poetry. If you've never played with haiku, or if you haven't tried one since elementary school, this art form is a wonderful way to simplify thought and intuit understanding of imagery. A haiku is technically a 3 line poem with less than 13 syllables, and is often written on the subject of nature.Here are some of Mary's words from one of her lessons:

"The essence of haiku (is) the distillation of a moment in time. Perhaps it is the written equivalent of a perfect photograph. It captures something you want to remember, freezes time, and brings back not only how things looked but how they sounded or tasted or felt. Although the purists say you should not reference emotion in a haiku, I believe that a really good haiku evokes emotion. If you read much about haiku, you will soon come across the phrase "haiku moment." These are moments that reveal themselves, in a sudden flash of understanding or clarity, that make you want to write a haiku about them. If you do, they become a haiku moment twice over: one that inspires and one that is commemorated."

Look for haiku moments and express them through writing. It's a wonderful way tobring your "tiny words" to life! (And note that Mary will soon be offering her "DoingHaiku" course in the new Education & Enrichment section of The Shoppes of Artella!)


1. The ATC page at includes a wonderful overview and introduction to Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). If you are new to the art form, this is a great place to start!

2. Subscribing to's Word of the Day list is a great way to inspire word-by-word writing.Deb swears this is the best "word of the day" resource she's seen! If you're a word lover, be sure to give it a try.

Have a great week!

~stacking blocks to get unblocked,

Artella Founder/Editor

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