The art of bird app bonsai

Illustration by Nate Miller © 2021

I just reduced the number of people following me on Twitter by 62%, on purpose, and here’s what I learned from it.

In this post I’ll break down why people follow you, the different types of accounts I think you should cut, and one simple trick you can use to remove those pesky unwanted followers.

That’s right, when you’re done reading this story you’ll be ready to trim your following like a beautiful little bonsai.

Why do people follow you?

There are a few reasons people follow you on Twitter but most of them have nothing to do with you, which is kind of sad…


And why we should still show his work

Illustration by Nate Miller © 2021

After the prominent artist Chuck Close passed away on August 19, 2021, I wrote a story about the lasting impact his life had on me. As someone who struggles with chronic illnesses, I was inspired by his seemingly unlimited resolve in the face of adversity. He didn’t let anything stop him.

Close was an iconic American painter and a pioneer of photorealism, known for his giant hyper-realistic portraits. He leaves behind a compelling legacy in the art world. The problem is he also leaves behind a number of sexual harassment allegations.

When I previously opined over the work of Chuck…


A man of indomitable will

Illustration by Nate Miller © 2021

On August 19, 2021, at 81 years old, Chuck Close passed away from congestive heart failure.

As an iconic American painter, Close was a pioneer of photorealism, painting super-sized hyper-realistic portraits of himself and others that you’d swear were photographs when you saw them.

While Close’s art has its own place in history, I don’t really care. I’m not what you would consider a “qualified” art critic: I don’t use ten-dollar words, I don’t draw comparisons between art movements, my grasp on art history is not great, and I’m not concerned with who was the first to use a specific…


Illustration by Nate Miller © 2021

At first glance it looks like geriatric millennials aren’t on the internet.

Well, I’m here to assure you that geriatric millennials are online, they just aren’t visible — they’re lurking. It’s all a bit depressing really. Whenever I discover a new artist or writer on the bird app it’s always someone from a younger generation. “Where are my people?” I often wonder.

You see, from their birth the younger generations have had a wealth of knowledge and opportunity available to them through the internet. They’ve become accustomed to social media as it’s the only world they’ve known. It wasn’t like…


Guaranteed or your money back

Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

If you wanna learn how to write faster, you gotta go to the folks with the need for speed who have done the deed.

That’s why I dropped in on Tom Kuegler to read his recent post, How Long Does It Take To Write 1,000 Words Online?

His answer? It depends. But he maintained that eventually, a pro could knock out 1000 words in about an hour. That’s apparently how long it takes him.

So the question is, how does Tom consistently accomplish such a colossal feat?

Well, I read between the lines to bring you the deets.

Write a good introduction

In order…


Your mountain is calling FFS

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

I used to think I could move mountains if I only had the time.

I would fantasize about having one long vacation away from work and family where I was isolated in deep space, I could focus all my efforts on my dreams, and it would be enough to change my circumstances and hand me the life I wanted on a gold-plated silver platter.

I thought maybe if I magically became financially independent through a gruesome workers comp claim, or in the worst-case scenario I reached retirement, then I could finally start doing the work I dreamed of doing and…


Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

You might think you’re a special little snowflake living a completely original life, but you’re not. Your whole existence is boring and predictable and that won’t change even if you manage to wield the magical skills of an artist.

“The problems of today’s artist are the problems of yesterday’s artist — and I suspect, of tomorrow’s also. As the French say, ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.’ (The more things change, the more they remain the same.)”

— Michelle Gaugy, Art Consultant, via Quora

A lot of the struggles you face in life are timeless. You could choose…


Rise and shine Gudetama

“Gudetama Mini and friends” by Kristin ‘Shoe’ Shoemaker is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

I. Wouldn’t you like to be more productive?

There are many people who would rather stay nice and cozy in their cartoon-themed blankets than get up and get to work. They share memes that celebrate giving in to the deadly sin of sloth. They squeeze their plushies tightly and lose the war against resistance before the day has even begun.

But you don’t have to be a silly Gudetama like them. You can rise to the call of productivity and get to work!

II. Wait, what’s a Gudetama?

Oh, right! Let me explain. Gudetama is a popular cartoon character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio.¹ It can basically be translated to English as…


There are only 2 steps.

Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash

Epictetus was a famous stoic philosopher, and I’m a mediocre artist. In this story, our powers combine to bring you artistic enlightenment. What follows is an examination of how a famous Epictetus quote can show us the way to become an artist. It’s pretty epic (if you hold the tetus).

I. Attain Knowledge of Self

“Know, first, who you are,…”

— Epictetus

Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Well, after spending a few hours examining life and what it means to know yourself…I’m not sure I even exist at this point.

And I’m not the only one who’s confused. There are…


Nobody else has either

Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash

The other night I was laying in our filthy bathtub which I barely fit in since it’s a standard size tub (are these made for children?). As I stared past the plunger at a mass of cobwebs behind the toilet I found myself thinking “when is it time to start cleaning the bathroom again?”

A few years ago I saw a video by Gary Vaynerchuk where he was talking to a fan who didn’t seem to have the time to work on his passion project. Gary questioned him to find out exactly what he was spending his time doing instead…

Nate Miller

artist • 39 • he/him • my chronic illness wants to kill me but i’m still gonna draw what i can

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