When you're writing?
I've often wondered if I'm alone in my need for outside stimulus while I write. I used to think the habit started in college, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I did it when I was a kid, too. While I did hole up in my room to write in one of my many spiral-bound notebooks, that wasn't until I had a TV of my own in my room. Before that I wrote in the kitchen or the basement where there was a TV. I didn't even have to like what was on the television; I wasn't really watching it. It was on more to provide a soundtrack, I guess, than for any other reason.
In college I did the same thing. My roommates used to call me the Incredible Sleeping Kid because I could lay down and veg out in the middle of the day, with the lights on, in a room full of people. I credit that to working in the same conditions - I wrote all the time with the TV and VCR going, usually with the cheesiest, worst, action or horror B-flick on that I could find. Again, I didn't really watch them. I could tell you what songs were on their soundtracks and quote you lines from the movies, but scenes escape me.
And there's no rhyme or reason to what inspires me. But sometimes something will click, and then I'll have to have that particular movie or series on in order to finish the story. Just as an example, when I was working on the prologue to the "Read My Mind" series, I probably played the DVD for the musical Rent over two hundred times. Does it make any sense that I wrote an epic fantasy to a contemporary rock opera? Nope. I'd originally put the Lord of the Rings trilogy on and ended up pulling it before Gandalf got to the Shire. It just wasn't working for me. Rent worked.
So I'm going to ask, just generally, what other things do people do while they're writing? Not because you have to (checking the baby monitor doesn't count) but because you can't do your best writing if you don't do this particular activity at the same time. I'm just curious.
Now, I'm on an 80s movie trend at the moment. I have the Back to the Future trilogy in the player, and a scene to finish. Happy writing all!