This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. All opinions expressed are the author’s own, so blame him accordingly.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Stephen King

I’ve thought about the above comment several times since I first heard it and, generally speaking, I find myself in agreement. The trick, of course, is in finding the time, which is where my love of audiobooks comes in.

I can remember getting audiobooks out from the library when I was young, back in the pre-digital days when they were still on cassette. One of my favourites was Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, as read by Tom Baker, who I maintain has a fantastic voice for narration. (I found a version of it online, and you can judge for yourself here.) There’s something about the performative nature of readings that I responded to, that made it come alive. From there I progressed to other classics, then more current novels, instilling an enjoyment that has never left me.

For the past few years I’ve been lucky enough that I have a desk job where I can actually listen to an audiobook whilst I’m at work, as well as in the car on my way to and from the office. Audiobooks probably account for two-thirds of the books I get through nowadays and I usually end up getting 2 or 3 new ones per month.

Now, I fully understand that audiobooks aren’t necessarily for everyone. Still, if you’re struggling to find time to read but you have sections of time where you find yourself doing something repetitive or monotonous (a long drive, at the gym, etc) where can divide your attention easily, audiobooks might be worth a try.

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9 Comments

  1. So, I disagree with the great Stephen King (apologies!). I wrote about this a while back and my thinking comes from the idea that being able to dance has nothing to do with being able to play an instrument or read music. They are two different art forms. Are they connected? Sure. But this idea that in order to be a decent writer you need to be a continuous reader or in this case “listener to audiobooks” is, to me, an old wives tales. Can you learn a lot from reading other works? Of course! But I believe it’s just as important to be a great listener to conversations, or a wonderful speaker, or have a great imagination to be a good writer. And to be a GREAT writer, you need to write. And then, write some more. But that’s just ME. But I’ll tell you this — I’d say it straight up to Stephen King as well. Now maybe this quote is more about TIME. But it always gets conflated into reading = writing, and I hate that comparison so much! But, I do like your post. I’m not a fan of audiobooks and yet, I was asked the other day if mine would be on audio….made me think. People are fans of audiobooks and podcasting. It’s not something I should shrug off just because it’s not my thing. Thanks for this post. I feel like it’s a sign!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is really interesting… I’ve never really questioned the advice that writers should read. Thank you for explaining this–it’s something I want to give more thought to. I know I’ve learned a lot about writing from reading stories by others, but that’s certainly not the only place my writing comes from. As you say, listening to conversations, imagination, and I’d add careful attention to the world around us are huge influences on writing. Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a big fan of audiobooks. I download them on loan through the library and work my way through when I’m out for a walk or when I’m knitting or doing a task I don’t have to think about. I’m a fairly slow reader on the page and definitely get through text more quickly when I can listen to it, although I think the consequence is sometimes that I don’t reflect as deeply on what I’m reading. What are you listening to these days? Where do you get your audiobooks?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  3. I used to listen to audiobooks a lot at work. Now I have time to read at least an hour a day. Sometimes longer and get through a book a week easily. So I think I’ve got reading covered, Steve… hehehe

    Like

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