Several years ago I had a high school student who created a piece of sculpture consisting of hundreds of wadded up sheets of used typing paper which she bound together with nylon fishing line into a neat cube shape. It was entitled Writer's Block. This work came to mind as I sit in front of the unblinking monitor, keyboard at hand, reference sources all over my desk, wracking my brain for a decent subject for tomorrow's Arty-fact. Unfortunately, writer's aren't the only ones who face the blank page, wracking their brains as to what they might do to create the great American masterpiece.

Artists have been known to take blank paper or stare at blank canvases and go through similar trauma. Of course if you happen to be an artist who writes or a writer who draws, then you know this feeling doubly well. Psychologist have even come up with a name for it, "Blank Page Syndrome." Their advice is something like that of the doctor whose patient complained that it hurt every time he crossed his eyes: "Don't DO that." What they mean is, don't put yourself in that position, staring down a blank canvas, or blank paper, or blank computer screen. THINK before creating. Nothing can make the creative process more difficult than the blank canvas. It begets a blank mind and the only use I've ever been able to find for a blank mind is in getting to sleep. With that in mind, here are a ten suggestions to help avoid the dreaded "Blank Page Syndrome."

1. Draw your left hand doing something (presuming your right-handed, right-brained, and in your right mind of course).

2. Draw your romantic ideal of the perfect face (just don't label it as such).

3. Draw something to eat (then avoid eating the drawing).

4. Draw how you WISH you looked (then compare it to the perfect face above).

5. Draw a picture of your home from memory (use a large piece of paper).

6. Draw a maze in the dust on your end table, then sketch it from a bug's eye view (presuming, of course, your REALLY desperate).

7. Draw your worst nightmare (unless this IS your worst nightmare).

8. Draw yourself the way your dog (or cat, or parrot) sees you.

9. Draw how your think one of your children will look in ten years.

10. Take the best one of these and paint it.