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Articulation - September 8 2005 ~ 31 Creative Ways to Earn a Living by Being Artsy ~
September 08, 2005
Hi ~


Our hearts go out to those who are affected directly and indirectly by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. If you are looking for ways to help, we recommend the wonderful list of compassionate ways to make a difference at The "Artful, HeartFull Links" section at the bottom of this newsletter contains two very valuable projects that deserve your attention. Or please considering joining Compassion Fruit, the online group that Artella co-hosts with Benevolent Planet, which is now discussing ways that creativity can be used to help the victims.

Thinking "Outside the Gallery" to Earn A Living With Your Art

Not surprisingly, one of the most common questions I hear is from artists, and other creative folks, who are wondering how they can make a living from what what they love to do. While the process of doing so is not cut and dry, I believe the answer of right livelihood is actually quite simple: it takes ideas and leverage. If you have enough ideas (enough creativity to keep thinking and tweaking) and enough leverage (enough passion and drive to want it bad enough) it's gonna happen. I have story after story to illustrate this, but that's for another time. Today, it's all about the practical pieces of combining ideas and leverage in, perhaps, a new way.

Please note that while the specific examples here will be talking about art, this material is relevant for earning a living with ANY "off the beaten path" endeavor: writing, music, cooking, coaching, or any unique business.

When we announced the WildChild Wisdom Weekend, we also posted a Brainstorming Spinner Game that was designed to help people brainstorm how to help pay for their trip. You can take a look at the "Where There's a Will, There's a WildChild" Game here, as the exercise in this article mirrors the process of that game. The purpose of the game was to be a catalyst for hopping on trains of thought that folks had never taken before. And that's the purpose of this exercise below, if you feel drawn to give it a try.

Below are four lists of things that artists might do to earn money. For this exercise, you look at one idea in the list at a time and answer 4 questions before moving on to the next item in the list. It's a good idea to do this in several sittings so that you don't get frustrated or burnt out, or find yourself repeating the same things over and over. Perhaps you can work in 5-10 minute sessions, each one covering 3-5 items on the lists below.

For each item, answer these questions:

  • In what ways is this idea POSSIBLE for me, as a way to earn money? Don't say NO – just push yourself to ask "what if?" (Remember, it's just brainstorming--)

  • How could I adapt this idea to make it MORE possible for me to do?

  • If you had a 100% guarantee that this idea would make you a substantial income, what would you be willing to do to make it happen? Now raise the stakes even higher: what if you were guaranteed that you could make $90,000 from this idea. NOW what would you be willing to do to make it happen?

  • What other ideas come to mind, after answering these questions? Really allow yourself to SOAR as you brainstorm, finding unexpected places the money can come from!
Then go to the next item in the list.
    (1) Design It:
  • Pattern books
  • Licensing Art
  • Stencils
  • Photoshop brushes
  • Web site templates
  • Rubber stamps

    (2) Make It:
  • Home décor: (cabinets, pillows, lamps)
  • Furniture
  • Murals, floorcloths
  • Gifts
  • Stationary, greeting cards
  • Office Supplies
  • Craft fairs
  • Craft parties
  • Consignment stores
  • Trade shows

    (3) Teach It:

  • Craft Stores
  • Bookstores
  • Writing books & eBooks
  • e-Courses
  • YMCAs, community centers
  • Women's groups
  • Niche groups (book clubs)
  • Retreat centers
  • Religious groups
    (4) Express It:
  • Columns
  • Creating Radio shows
  • Motivational Speaking
  • Charities
  • Creativity Coaching
  • Creating a company that combines interests

When artists ask me how they can earn a living with art, they are usually already pretty exhausted. And that's a major problem. A process like the one above takes time and energy to do wholeheartedly. This deceptively simple exercise can do so much, in terms of opening you to seeing new possibilities, not just in ideas, but in seeing how much motivation you really DO have, when you can imagine the stakes being high enough. Whether real or imagined, the leverage doesn't change; you can do ANYTHING. It's already in you.

To have a great idea, have a lot of them.
-Thomas Edison

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.
-Richard Bach


I wrote this haiku during the Haiku Café Chat in the Artella Chat Room, which was hosted by Mary Gray, whose Doing Haiku e-course is a venture that I highly recommend. We were discussing writer's block, and this haiku came out. I added the art to create this Art-Splash, called "Writer's Walk". You can view it at:

The next ARTICULATION art splash with be our 100th Art-Splash...and a big celebration surprise for everyone!


Next time you are decluttering your art space, use the opportunity to give yourself a creative challenge: enjoy your cast-off art supplies one last time, seeing them in a brand new way. Gather the supplies that you want to get rid of, and give yourself a creative challenge to actually make something with them. You can play around with different "rules" for your challenge: give yourself a time limit; make yourself use EVERYTHING in the pile; don't let yourself use anything EXCEPT what is in the pile; etc. It's a great way to recycle your art supplies in an innovative way, and even if you don't end up doing anything with your creation, this exercise is guaranteed to get you thinking about art techniques and supplies in a new way. Perhaps invite an art buddy to do the same with you, or even set up a virtual party! For example, perhaps invite artists and crafters in the

ArtellaVision group to meet in the Artella Chat Room for an art party on a certain date and time, and let the recycling begin!


We've heard it so many times, some of us have begun to block it out: we have to write regularly in order to really discovery our writing voice. Nothing gets you writing regularly like knowing people are expecting it. Starting a blog, or just a simple email list of a few friends who are game to receive your writings on a regular basis, is a great way to build a simple writing practice.

How to start? Go to a blog service (we for the Artella News blog because it's so easy), pick a template, and start writing. You may want to pick a general topic to write about, or just start by writing your general thoughts about daily life. You may find that a topic or sub-topics emerge as you begin writing. Start to invite your friends to come and read your writings regularly. You'll be surprised at how quickly your audience will grow (most blog services have stats services, so you can see how many people are visiting you), but more importantly, you'll be accountable for your writing, because you will know that people are reading it!

Poetry Contest News! What was formerly known as the Free Bi-Weekly Poetry Contest is now the Free PassionPoetry Contest. Winners will be judged monthly, and announced in the monthlyPassionPoetry newsletter. We're updating the prizes, too; you can get all the latest news in our new PassionPoetry Portal.

Our judges are judging the wonderful entries for the Poetic Idol Competition; awards will be announced soon.


Now it's easier than ever to get Artella news several times a week in the Artella News Blog. And what's more…with almost every post, there's a BlogJog "sneaky" Special hidden in the post, which is a sale or freebie that's listed exclusively in the blog, and only for a few days. So check the Artella blog for full, hot-off-the-creative-presses Artella News!

Quick Links to our current hot items:
  • e-Artella #e-8 is here! It will be emailed to subscribers and contributors tomorrow, and can be downloaded for just $4.95 at the above link.
  • Discuss how your creativity can help Katrina victims on our Compassion Fruit online community
  • Participate in the Remember September Mail Art Project, which takes place in just a few days, to artfully remember the tragedies of September 11th.
  • There's still room to sign up for the WildChild Wisdom Weekend; while you're on the retreat page, download your FREE WildChild Primer for Kids of All Ages
  • It's Focus Group time again! This Monday, Artella's famous YOU * U Focus Groups will be announced; bookmark the page to sign up for your favorites on Monday!
  • This Monday, don't miss Major Marney's Space Craft Adventure in the Artella Chat Room, co-hosted by the amazing Danno!.
  • Our newest featured artist in The Shoppes of Artella is L'Tanya Durante, whose interesting, intricate crocheted jewelry is just breathtaking.
  • Our Dreamworld Reverie Sale continues, with subscriptions at 50% off the price of individual issues, plus a bounty of gifts!
  • And lastly...Artella is hiring a new Administrative Assistant. This is a paid position that will report to our Adminstrative Manager, Zura Ledbetter. If you are interested in more information, please contact Zura at


  • The Quilters Comfort America Project is a cooperative effort to help comfort Katrina victims. The International Quilt Festival, based in Houston, is matching every donation made to the Red Cross, and is also calling upon quilters to finish unfinished quilts to donate toward the serious shortage of bedding among refugees in Houston and other areas. Please look at this site for more information about this important effort.

  • The A Passion for Peace Web site encourages us to use our creative gifts to express our highest desires for the planet. Please take a look to see how you can participate.

    And remember, if you love finding great places on the Internet, you don't know what you're missing if you don't get our LinkLatte emails, that come to Artella Members every single day!

  • ~on the walk

    Artella Founder/Editor

    Artella - PO Box 78 - Johnson, NY 10933

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