I spend about an hour every day pacing around the streets of New York, playing my favorite songs over and over on my headphones. Life is not a musical, but I do absolutely everything possible to fool my writing brain into thinking that life is a musical.
If I'm blocked, I listen to a song from high school or college, and I write about what I remember when I listen to that song. It's the best way to make myself write.
Think you can't do it? Run, don't walk, to Largehearted Boy's wonderful site where the journalist Jeff Gordinier shares his favorite songs--delivering a story with each tune. Gordinier is a friend from Details magazine, and next week he'll be our special Five Easy Questions guest--discussing music, family and book promotion, and his new book, X Saves the World.
Until then, here's a largehearted sample:
"'Good Morning, Captain,' by Slint. This comes from an obscure-but-influential 1991 album called Spiderland, which is a perfect title, because Slint specialized in weaving meticulous, ritualized, delicate-yet-deadly webs of sound. I once went down to Houston to write about a conference attended by hundreds of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Spiderland, intentionally, was the only CD I brought along in the rental car."