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One of the best ways to improve your writing is by reading. I was at my strongest when I was in school because you had to read many different people a week. I didn’t even have to do the “read as a writer” trick: you’re reading as a reader enjoying the story, but also to see how they do things, how they make you feel this way, how they get their point across without being on a soapbox. I was immersed in good writing.

But how do you read when you can’t physically read? My will is there, but my eyes are like ticking clocks, “You have 5 minutes before I’m shutting off.”

Audiobooks are the answer. I rediscovered them while recovering from eye surgery. I didn’t want to be lying there idle so I got several books on tape. They are great fun. You’re still being exposed to great writing; you still get a feel for the words; you can still see how things work, but you can do it with your eyes closed. (Sounds really impressive, like you’re showing off, “I can improve my writing with my eyes. Yeah I blasted through a 16 disc book, no problem. It’s nice to have more novels under your belt.

There is a downside to audiobooks. Only so many books are audiobooks and I prefer getting them from the library (because they’re free). iTunes does have many classics for free, which are great. At the library there are some I do not want to listen to or some of the books I’d like to read are not audiobooks, but there are plenty of books I can listen to. There are short story compilations which I think are a great way to get to know a writer. For comedy, there are old radio shows or recordings of live acts.

I’m getting better at listening to them as I drive. I used to not be able to focus on the road and listen to what was being said. I’d get caught up in the story and forget there were people in front of me. I also have a Sirius XM contract I paid for and want to listen to that until it runs out.

What do you think of books on tape?