My job requires me to drive to multiple locations, so I spend many hours each week alone in my car. For years, I flipped radio stations, played Name That Tune (I always win when I'm alone,) played my CDs, or just listened to the silence. But honestly, it got boring.
Then I discovered audiobooks from my local library. Wow! Driving took on a whole new pleasure when I could look forward to finding out what my story-hero would do next. I easily doubled the number of books I read, catching up on many titles I didn't find time to read in print.
An unexpected perk of listening to books has been the way it's improved my writing. I can hear the whole story, paced as it's written on the page, without me rushing through descriptions to get to 'the good part.' I can hear the way the author reveals small bits of character through dialogue, the way an action scene is intensified by clipped sentences and powerful verbs, the pacing of the novel as a whole, etc. The words themselves run through my mind longer when I've heard them spoken, so the story and its characters stay with me longer, too.
Hearing stories read aloud has given my own writing more texture and depth. Before I resubmit to the editor and agent who requested edits, I plan to read my entire book into my digital voice recorder and play it back. I hope I don't cringe.