Cooks know there’s something called a mise en place: You read the recipe, if there is one, and assemble your tools and ingredients. It’s another way of saying that the cooking begins before you begin cooking.
The same thing is true for writing. The writer’s mise en place is in fact a place. Do you have a place where you can think, where you can dream and explore? A private office is wonderful, but it isn’t essential. I’ve written several books on various dining room tables. . . . Your writer’s mise en place will help you settle into your creative mind, reduce outside distractions, and signal to your subconscious that you’re about to begin. Instead of avoiding all the heavy thinking and struggling that you might be putting off, you can let the physical world gently lead you into the story.