i stole this idea from my high school friend, Bob. Bob is an architect and wrote about the presence of music in the studio when he is working. he's got a pretty cool blog. you can find him here: http://networkedblogs.com/4fHt4
i use music when i'm writing my sermons. i'll usually latch on to a specific song that somehow puts the scripture into perspective for me and i'll listen to it over and over while i'm writing. (that and red vines get me through!) most of my sermons have some lyrics from a song in them. sometimes my sermon titles are names of songs. i've even been known to make the congregation sing. (so i don't have to sing alone.)
writing a sermon is a huge undertaking--in my opinion. i read the scripture, go back to the Greek or Hebrew (yes, i can read ancient Greek and Hebrew), consider inconsistencies in translation between sources, read surrounding and referenced scripture, find some relevance to what's happening in the world today, and write a sermon. then i throw that first sermon away and write the real sermon. this takes me anywhere from 10-20 hours.
there is no substitute for music in the creative process. it stimulates my brain and imagination in ways nothing else does.
my tastes run the gamut, not just for listening but also for preaching. in my last sermon i used the song "kookaburra." the sermon before that was James Taylor's "Home by Another Way." I've used Talking Heads, Indigo Girls, John Williams, John Barry, Etta James, Marc Cohn.... I'm all over the map, with music from soundtracks making the most appearances. I think this is because the music evokes images and memories for me. also, just putting iTunes on shuffle and letting it pick up all the things you don't often hear can be interesting. i never know when the inspiration will hit.
so, how 'bout you? where does music fit into your creative process?