I’ve been reading and rereading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way on and off since last spring. Among the most useful tools she recommends are Morning Pages, writing for three pages before you do anything else. I keep my Morning Pages on my nightstand with the pen clipped in on the next blank page so I can even write in the dark if I wake up before the alarm and don’t want to wake up Dalton.
For me Morning Pages are basically a brain dump, alternating between deep philosophisizing and chattering-monkey style to do lists. Getting it all down on the page, even if I won’t look at it again for weeks to come, is key.