This isn't the first time I've tried something along these lines, but it is the first time I've tried doing it in precisely this way. The idea is that before I do anything else in the morning I spend approximately half a hour writing in this blog, thus free up my creative juices for writing some of my novel later in the day. I suppose you could look at it as letting the taps run for a few minutes before running a bath - so don't expect anything spectacular here; it will probably be the wrong temperature and will have bits of grit in it.

Of course this is by no means a new idea. Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way recommends doing just this; spending x amount of time first thing writing your Morning Pages. I did try and follow this method for a while but the main problem I had with it was that Ms Cameron describes the Morning Pages as "three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing" and I have a problem with writing longhand - it takes me so long that my brain is usually several sentences ahead so I end up missing out letters, syllables, sometimes whole words and occasionally clauses. If I speed up it quickly becomes illegible too. I had a lot of trouble at school and university taking notes in class. I still can't work out what I was on about half the time. Just as well I got glandular fever in my final year and didn't have to take the exams.

The whole handwriting thing could just have been me making excuses though. Someone else also had the same idea as Julia Cameron and doesn't mind using a computer; comedian Richard Herring has written his Warming Up blog every day since 2002, and started it for the very purpose of combating writer's block. I am sure my life isn't as eventful as his, but surely there's at least one thing from the previous day that I can focus on for half an hour? It doesn't have to be from the previous day; my mind is always rambling away in the background throwing up odd non sequiturs and nonsense phrases.

For example; take the title of this entry. It reminded me of Joseph Wright's painting "An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump", which set me thinking. What did he mean by "THE air pump"? Was there only one air pump in existence in 1768? Was it the prototype? If so, what on earth were they doing using it to asphyxiate pigeons and upset the delicate ladies of the gentry? Surely it would have been better put to use experimenting with the concept of the vacuum cleaner; An Experiment on Some Dirt in the Air Pump.

Also, what is that guy thinking? You know the guy. The one with his arm around the visibly perturbed young woman. Surely he can see she's distressed, so why is he continuing to try and get her to look at the dead bird. You can almost hear his voice.

"No, look, this is really good, see, there's no air in there now and the pigeon's dead! Amazing! Why are you crying?"