While so much of writing is actually about hunkering down and doing the work, I think so much of what gets those creative juices really flowing is effectively setting the scene.
Like an actor "getting into character," it's incredibly helpful to immerse yourself in whatever will help you best capture what you're writing about. For instance, I'm working on a novel about a group of women who find unexpected friendship in an Italian cooking class, so in order to get into that frame of mind, I have Italian dinner party music playing in the background as I type away today.
And yes, it's entirely in Italian, which helps me get a flavor of that boot-shaped country while I'm actually in the land of cowboys, a.k.a. Texas.
Long before I even wrote a word of my current work in progress, research was a huge priority. In addition to signing up for a slew of Italian cooking classes (if that's suffering for my art, well, I'm happy to do so), watching Fellini films, Roman Holiday and Under the Tuscan Sun and making sure to take a gazillion mental notes when my hubby and I visited Rome last year, I'm constantly cooking and sampling the cuisine I'm writing about so I can describe it with authority.
While Google is certainly a great little resource that I use each and every day, nothing can beat old-fashioned hands-on research. So whenever you're deciding what you're going to write about, make sure it's a subject you're passionate about because when you're a writer, eating a delectable plate of spaghetti can be "research" depending on what you're writing about.