It took me a few years to figure this out, but my muse loves music. Loves it. I've always known that certain music can stir my emotions and sometimes even spark scene ideas. But I had no idea it could actually help me write. I used to think music would distract me from my work. Turns out, it was just the opposite because my mind is a chatterbox, constantly talking to me, one stream-of-consciousness riff after another. Unless there's music playing. My internal chatterbox is enchanted by music and quiets at the sound of it, allowing my muse unfettered access to my brain. Plus, the right music delights and excites my muse.
I've experimented with a number of different types of music, all instrumentals. I've written to movie soundtracks (Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Samurai) and any number of other artists' collections. But I've discovered that my ear and my muse prefer the new age jazz of Keiko Matsui. My friend Lynne turned me on to her when she brought a Matsui CD to exercise class to listen to during cool-down. I loved it and borrowed it, but when I began to listen to it as I wrote, I had to ask our instructor (a good friend) to cool us down to something else. Once it became my writing music, I couldn't listen to it at any other time for fear it would completely foul me up.