I love audio books. However, I didn’t start out liking them. In the early days of listening to an 80,000+ plot, my mind would wander to other stories or events before eventually coming back to the novel and I would wonder what had happened while I’d been mentally absent.

However, a few years ago I found my eyes were often tired at the end of the work day, and I started listening to short Podcasts, then moved onto abridged novels on BBC Sounds. Lying on the sofa, eyes closed and listening to the sound of a voice talking only to me melted both my muscle and my mind. I soon discovered that listening was so much better than watching TV. Many evenings, I now spend absorbed in the sound of a good tale. I have been known to fall asleep on occasions – but when that happens what a sleep!

I started with light easy novels, stories that I knew were easy to follow – My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien and The Crow Road by Iain Banks. Now I’ve added memoirs – Motherwell by Deborah Orr and Pour Me by AA Gill are particularly recommended.

But it isn’t simply the joy of having a beautiful voice read you a story. For those who want to write fiction, listening to a novel immerses you into the scale of the work and it’s easy to become attuned to dialogue that doesn’t work, a plot that drags on too long or a change in characterisation that wasn’t well prepared. For instance, Grown Ups by Marian Keyes has such with long-winded dialogue that it truly sounds quite unrealistic. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart has a plot so unrelentingly grim that, no matter the point to be made, we crave some reprieve. Lily by Rose Tremain begins with such a strong description of miserable foreboding that it made me not want to listen to anymore. Only my faith in the author kept my persistence. Our aim in writing is to bring the reader along, not to turn them off at the beginning of the journey.

Writers have long been advised to read their work out loud, to listen to the rhythm, hear the dialogue. If a segment sounds long-winded, perhaps you have immersed the reader into dullness - and if it turns dull for you imagine the readers' boredom. Listening to a good writer, you hear the techniques they use to fill in a backstory, pace a plot or escalate tension.

Listening can bring a whole new set of senses to the writing process, try them.