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.
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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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.