For a long time I wrote in silence. I needed silence. No music, no TV, no whistling tea kettles, nothing. If my phone buzzed, I let it go. If someone walked into my room and asked me a question, I would get visibly upset and answer them in a rather annoyed tone. Most of this is still true today. Except the part about music.
One of the many things Clarion taught me was to write with headphones on. I don't know if it's a good idea or not, but I do it now...sometimes. I've been asked numerous times what I listen to while I write and, before Clarion, my response was a blank stare, which occasioned a reciprocal blank stare from the questioner. Well, now, host of hosts, I have an answer, or: answers!
There are still things I cannot listen to as I write. Music with an upfront lead singer - that is, a voice loud and clear and "on top" of the music - nope, can't do it. I reverbed-to-hell voice though? Yesh. Perhaps that's why I've been digging so much "new" music lately, i.e. bands with reverby vocals and no discernible lyrics. This is music I don't really have to listen to. I can zone out, let the mood of the song take me if it fits whatever I'm writing.
Some of these bands are as follows: Smith Westerns, Fresh & Onlys, Tame Impala, Woods, Deerhunter, Avi Buffalo, Sigur Ros (in Sigur Ros' case, I have no idea what Jonsi, the lead singer is singing about because it's in Icelandic or his made-up langauge, "Hopelandic," most of the time; therefore, the melodies of the singer blend with the melodies of the music), etc. I still like these bands' music even when I'm not writing, but when I am, there is no greater power "getting me going."