Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Listening To Books On Audio Makes Me A Better Writer

It’s Wednesday again? How does this keep happening? Seems like every time I write a Wednesday post, I scarcely leave the computer before it’s time to write another one. My Wednesday posts are slowly turning into Thursday posts. Fortunately, it’s not quite midnight yet, at least on this side of the pond, so this is still officially a Wednesday post. :)

Over the past several months, I’ve noticed it’s much easier for me to write if I’ve spent the prior fifteen to thirty minutes reading a chapter from someone else’s book. I’m not sure why, but reading someone else’s words seems to kick my muse into high gear and I find myself thinking more like a writer. I don’t always have the luxury to do this, but when I do, the difference is obvious.

Three weeks ago, I attended a writing workshop in Indianapolis hosted by David Wolverton. The site was five hours away by car, and since long car rides drive me bonkers, I stopped by the library to pick up a couple of books on CD (Dan Brown’s Inferno, and Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals). The ten hour round trip wasn’t sufficient to finish one book, much less two, so I’ve been listening to them the past several weeks during my one hour drive to and from work. And what I’ve discovered is that when I listen to a book, my creative juices flow even faster. My descriptions are better. My sentences seem more professional. I don’t know why, but my brain seems far more receptive to picking up the nuances and rhythm of sentences when it processes the sound of the words.

Of course, this doesn’t help much when I arrive for work, but when I return home in the evening, I’m all fired up and ready to write. Maybe I’ll have to download the Audible app for my phone and start listening to all my books. It suspect it'll make me a better writer in the long run.

Like that’s not going to drive my wife crazy…

Do you prefer reading books or listening to them?


  1. I'm not much on audio books, but I can see how they would spur creativity. I might have to try that.

  2. I'm the same way, in that I write more and feel more inspired to write when I'm reading a lot. I only listen to the few audiobooks I have obtained for free, so I rarely read that way. I think just absorbing those words in anyway I can is what helps put me into a wordsmithing mood.

  3. They say that for writers to write, they need to read a lot. I think that's what's happening to you. I'm not much of an audio book person. But I also find my imagination to be more active after reading. Whatever way we do it, reading more I think is still key to writing more and better.

  4. I'm a mix of both. I usually don't have my hands free (I have small children) so the audiobooks are great. But then the children try to talk over them, and I have to rewind, which isn't so great. But I go through more books when I have audiobooks to supplement.

  5. I like audiobooks on long road trips. Usually we stop too much for photos to make much sense of it though. I find reading other work inspiring, too. I feel like I write better.

  6. That's really cool, actually. I bet you're an auditory learner (see I do much better visually - I tend to tune out when I listen to audio books!

  7. That's why reading/listening to books is so important to writers. I think I prefer reading books, but I enjoy audio books, mainly on road trips, but occasionally when I'm exercising too.

  8. That's a great use for your commuting time. Did you know you can listen to your own book too? Not in Office itself, but Windows 7 has text to speech recognition. Ywriter free software does that too. I've been meaning to try it but never have.

    1. p.s. I tried 6 times on Chrome then switched to Firefox. At least now I know my inability to comment is browser related.