Today I'm thinking about music people listen to while they work on their own art, be it fiction, poetry, painting, graphic design, whatever.
A former professor of mine listens to very complex orchestral music when he's doing a first draft, claiming the music grabs the attention of the left side of his brain leaving the creativity of the right side to run rampant. When he starts revising he listens to free jazz, supposedly with the opposite result.
I usually shoot for mood. If the part I'm writing has a lot of action, I'll listen to something that's more rhythmic like industrial or techno. If it's supposed to be sad I'll usually put on ambient or goth, or maybe Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits. For the horror piece I just worked on I pretty much listened to the Black Box the whole time, which is a collection of early industrial and techno put out by Wax Trax. For editing I guess I just put on something that won't distract me, which could be anything really. Film scores to jazz to regular rock or metal, depending upon mood.
Very very rarely, when I'm either really stuck or I'm working late at night and need to stay awake, I'll turn on a talk station on the radio, put on a cd and turn on the t.v. The odd blend sometimes brings things out of me I can't pull out on my own.