Monday, March 11, 2019

Benefits to Listening to Audio Books for Writers

By Melissa Chan of Literary Book Gifts

Writers are some of the most avid readers around. It's an obvious way to develop such a love of books, reading, and literature—by reading for years before starting write a book. As an aspiring writer I know that a healthy and continuous amount of reading is the best thing for putting me in the mood to write.

I spent much of my childhood reading mainly paperbacks and hardcovers. Library trips every weekend helped me to replenish a continue stream of reading material for the week. Around high school I discovered audio books and have chosen them as my preferred form of reading ever since. The switch from reading with my eyes to reading with my ears may seem like a dramatic one, but if I reflect back, even before picking up books, my parents would read stories aloud to me, often before bedtime. I’ve fond memories of listening to tales of the past from my grandparents, relatives, and family friends over meals and during long summer afternoons. So I think perhaps I always listened to audio books in a way, and am simply returning to that form of reading.

Upon reflection of both forms of consuming literature, I have noted upon a few benefits that I would like to share with you today.

I find that no matter how much writing is done conceptually in the mind it always eventually takes place typing on the computer. Even those with the clearest of handwriting will eventually have to get it onto the digital page. Audio books offer a definite change of pace from the long hours of sitting upright to type and the possible eye strain that can come from staring at a screen. Audio books let you close your eyes and relax. It's the most ergonomic form of reading because you can read while lying down, taking a walk, or while doing some simple stretches. I find that audio books can be even more relaxing than television, since all your senses besides listening have the possibility of resting. With a pair of headphones, one has the possibility of physically removing themselves out of the places they write and even enjoying the outdoors on a hike.

As a writer working on your own manuscript it's impossible not to see words and construct sentences visually. Audio books let you consume a story in a different medium than the one you are writing in. The auditory processing as opposed to visual processing allows for a sort of separation in your mind.
My final and favorite reason why writers should listen to audio books is to get ideas for then they might want to record their own. Not every story gets recorded into an audio book. It is my hope that eventually more stories will be recorded, audio books exist as a completely digital goods. Unlike their written counterparts which are read in various physical formats or as eBooks, audio books exist only as sound recordings.

Sometimes if I am lucky I will find an author has read aloud their book and recorded it for all time. In some cases the author is now deceased. In this case the audio book is now a preserved copy of not only their work as an author but also of their voice.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a few ways in which audio books are beneficial for writers. I encourage everyone to read, listen, and tell stories aloud. Do you listen to audio books?

Written by Melissa Chan, lifelong reader, aspiring writer, and designer of bookish items with a wide selection of gifts for writers. When I'm not attempting to write a novel, I spend my time listening to audio books and browsing for new reads at the library.

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Special note:

We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning videos.

The first one is Episode 234: A Master Class on Character — Interview with David Corbett.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, Melissa!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It does give you a chance to relax or do other things while listening.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - excellent recommendation by Melissa ... and I'm sure many a commuter listens to audio books; and I'm sure they could be used for interaction in various places ... nurseries, care homes etc ... I hope to get to listening soon - my lifestyle doesn't really allow it and needs to be adjusted. Thanks to you both - Cheers Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

Can sure help with multi tasking as one listens.

nashvillecats2 said...

I've been promising myself to listen to audio books but have never got around to buying the player. Must get up to date.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I still like print books but like to listen to audio books when I walk.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've never actually listened to an audio book - I think my brain is a little too bouncy for them, but you've convinced me to give them a try! :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I enjoy audio books. It helps me knock books off my to-read list that grows faster than I can keep up with.

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Sherry Ellis said...

It's interesting to hear a story come to life through a narrator. Sometimes we don't get the same experience just reading a book.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love these reasons to do audiobooks! I stopped by yesterday via my phone and sent out a bit on it on Instagram.

Mark Koopmans said...

Interesting ideas on new ways to listen to audio books, but sadly I will never have the focus to listen and follow along, plus I love dog-earing my books!

Juneta Key said...

I love listening to story especially ones that are dramatized such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and several others. The BBC does a great job with some they produce with a full cast. I also like just listen to an audible book too. Kevin Hearn was a fun listen and Jim Butcher.

Fundy Blue said...

You made a great case for auditory books, Melissa. I've listened to a couple of books in the car on a long trip, but I found that the story distracted me from the landscapes. Given my geological background, that didn't work! I'm much stronger visually than auditorily, so I guess I'm a physical book reader. You mentioned constructing sentences visually. It's ironic that when I'm typing or handwriting, I actually hear the words rather than see them. Whatever works, reading and writing are awesome ways to spend time. Thanks for posting!

Lynda Dietz said...

I love audio books, whether they're read by a voice actor or dramatized with background SFX. Listening to recorded books helped us pass many hours on car trips with our children without boredom.

LD Masterson said...

I enjoy listening to audio books sometimes but not while multi-tasking. If the story doesn't completely draw me in, my mind wanders and I lose the thread. If I'm totally engrossed, I tend to either shut my eyes so I can concentrate or stare at the source of the sound (if I'm not wearing headphones). This is a definite problem if I'm listening while driving.

Elias McClellan said...

I'd humbly suggest that audiobooks also afford the author an opportunity to "get" the cadence and rhythm of their genre. Thanks for posting.