If you read Mike's post of yesterday, you probably realized that here's a guy who's very disciplined and focused. He's got some great tips, too. So if you haven't read it yet, do so now, because I'm not sure WHAT kind of useful insights you'll gain from my meanderings.
So, how do I prepare for a writing session?
If I'm writing at night, I usually just go to the computer, turn up the music, open the file and plunge in. At nights, I just don't have the energy to procrastinate.
BUT... if I am working on fiction during the daytime (when I am more alert!), I begin by dithering around a lot. I fix a cup of coffee. Read the morning paper (I still get a paper copy, but also get the NYT digitally, so I sit there and shift between print and pixels). Wander in circles and do a load of laundry or maybe empty the dishwasher. Pay some bills.
When I start getting antsy and feel I'd better get "busy," I take my cup of coffee and enter my writing room....
I approach my desk....
I try very hard not to look behind me at the messy bookcases. Organizing and entering my working/research books into a database and shelving them has been a "work in progress" for a couple of years. The un-entered stacks (only a small percentage of which are visible here) sob and cry for my attention. I have to say to them (and myself), "Not now."
I sit down, and look at my maps, to "orient" myself in time and space. San Francisco, 1881. Check! ...
I check my resources in the bookcases to the side. Seems like I'm always looking for my Dictionary of Idioms so I want to be sure I know where it is. Most of my at-hand references on Leadville have been re-shelved (or stacked) and are replaced by books on San Francisco. But I still need books like Dressed for the Photographer and such for period detail.
Then, I turn on some music (what kind depends on what mood I need), and... Hmmm. I'd better check my email first. Whoa, Ann! Better be more conscientious about staying off of Amazon and eBay late at night!
Usually a little more dithering occurs at this point as I answer emails, check Facebook, and try to organize my computer desktop from the previous night's writing frenzy. But eventually, the time comes when I have to take a deep breath and plunge in. I make sure I have my notes at the ready, an object or two to help me channel the past (in this case, it's "Inez's pocketwatch" given to her by Reverend Sands, and a piece of Ghirardelli chocolate because, well, it's San Francisco, right?), and of course, coffee. I duplicate the previous night's file, append the day's date to the file name, open and scroll to the end. Finally, it's time.
Ready... set... GO!
Piece of cake, right? ;-)