I have a problem. I know I should write everyday — and I am happier when I do — but I can’t simply sit down for 30 minutes or an hour and start writing. I need a “warm-up.” Basically, I need a (lengthy) period of time before I actually put words to paper in which I let my mind wander and my imagination imagine. I need to visualize things, play around with story ideas, and just basically get lost in my own head for awhile before I can start writing. And this presents a problem because my warm-up time often exceeds the actual time I have to get my writing for the day done.

Since my little one arrived (she’s four months old), I don’t have hours to devote to warming-up and then writing. I have maybe a half-hour, maybe an hour total, but that’s not enough time to rev up my imagination and get through my daily word count (which at this point is 600 words a day, IF I want to make my deadline of December 30).

Does anyone else need a “warm-up” time before she can actually sit down and start writing? Or am I alone in my sorrows?

One thing I’ve found helpful — since I don’t have enough time to do my “warm-ups” — is to basically immerse myself in stimuli all day long that keep my imagination flowing. For example, my current novel is a retelling of Arthurian legends (basically, Merlin trying to save the world, but in the present day), so I listen to Celtic-sounding music all day, read books and watch T.V. that are fantasy-based, and try to only read and look at things that put my imagination into the world of King Arthur, the Middle Ages, dragons and monsters, magic, etc. etc. So far my total immersion plan has been going pretty well. I feel like what I’m doing is “feeding” my imagination all day long so that when I do finally get a few minutes to sit down and write, my imagination is “full” and I can get to the business of writing without wasting time.

The difficulty, however, is when I can’t do total immersion. At the moment, I am completely stalled with the novel because I haven’t been able to immerse myself in stimuli. So as a result, I haven’t written in over a week and I’m not feeling the “heat” of the story anymore. I need an emergency dose of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, two doses of my Sandman comics, and a flip through the new Brandon Sanderson book I just downloaded (The Way of Kings). If nothing else, I need to start listening to my old Clannad albums (Legend for the win!).