Last year, one of my chat lists has a thread asking what we do while making ATCs. I drafted a blog entry on the topic but realized I had never published it. So here it is.
If no one else is playing something like a TV or music I will put on an audiobook. I have been listening to some classics that I had never read before. I also listen to some juvenile fiction that is okay for my kids to hear which is good literature. For example, The Chronicles of Narnia and unabridged classics like Heidi. I borrow these from the library.
I also tried out some 'old time radio shows'. I borrow these from a nearby library with a huge amount of audio books. I just listened to the unabridged Heidi, Spider Sparrow, 10 CDs of old time radio shows.
I also listen to those while doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. I found that having the TV on while I make ATCs such as when my husband is in the room and is listening to Fox News Channel squashes my creativity. Hearing bad news and complaining is not good for the creative process.
Sometimes I'll try to listen to a TV show, such as old reruns of shows I watched when I was a child (Andy Griffith, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, etc.), or current reality shows that happen to be on at the moment, but I also find the mind-deadening shows on TV to squash the creativity. More importantly the commercials bother me.
I also listen to music sometimes. I listen to old 80s music that I've owned for years since that music was current. Some of the music is depressing and uninspiring, though. I also listen to some Contemporary Christian music which is uplifting. Right now I am listening to "Beetoven's Wig" which started with my children wanting to listen to it inside the house and now the songs are in my head and I keep listening to it since it is so upbeat, funny, and lighthearted (good for making art to).