So I'm sitting down to write, and I realize that I'm doing something that we've discussed at Wyrdsmiths, namely, using what I call a "sound curtain". (Yes, I put the damned period outside of the quotes--I prefer the British format, as I feel it more accurately represents what is intended to be quoted and what is external to the quote. We can argue about that later.)
Basically, I put on headphones and pump the music, effectively cutting me off from any distractions. I use this generally in two distinct ways. Either A) I put on repetitive, mindless energy music (Gnarls Barkley "Crazy"; Bodyrockers "I Like the Way"; Pink "Don't Let Me Get Me"; Britney Spears "...Baby One More Time"; etc.) with a good beat, which I find helps keep my energy up when I am sitting still for hours at a stretch, or B) I find one or two songs with a certain mood to them and put them on repeat, allowing the feel of the song to inform the general mood of the story. The best example I have of this is working on my recent novelette, "Tug-of-Mind", which has a fairly angry, dark mood. It was written to a background of 267 repetititions of Kelly's Clarkson's "Behind These Hazel Eyes". This format yeilds a much wider variety of music used, of course: Sister Hazel, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald, Fountains of Wayne, etc. Whatever I'm shooting for with mood.
I know some writers can't work with music going, and some think that the music actually interferes with the process. I'm wondering what folks think about the use of "sound curtains" and how they impact the writing process, and why people do or don't use them.