This will give you a boost in finances while you are waiting for that big novel to publish, will give you quality feedback on your writing style, will allow you to earn some money, and give you the opportunity to shop and have a little fun with role playing.
Is it truly a way to hone your skills as a new writer? Any practice at writing, regardless of style, will give you some helpful hints. It may even give you the idea to write a story about the life of a mystery shopper! In addition to mystery shopping, if you prove to be a quality shopper with quality reports, you may be brought on board by a company or two to be an editor. This will further enhance your skills and income.
What type of writing can you expect in mystery shopping? Different types of shops call for different types of reports. Many will ask for at least a small narrative describing your shopping experience. Some of the more in depth shops and higher paying shops will require more narratives. An example of this is an apartment shop. Even if it is recorded on video, companies also want a very detailed narrative regarding the entire experience.
It can take thirty to forty minutes to complete all narratives, maybe longer depending on your experience. This can definitely build your ability to describe situations as companies want more than a simple, “I would have rented from this associate” type statements. You have to give them the how and why. This can enhance your vocabulary and help you piece together informative, yet concise, descriptions more easily.
If your goal is a little extra income while practicing your writing you may choose to stay clear of simple fast food shops. Many of these require little, if any narrative, and are simple fact checking expeditions. But if you need the money, they certainly do not deplete your writing ability. So, if the writing field is slow with work, feel free to expand your horizons and supplement with mystery shopping. But be warned, you may become a permanent shopper and put writing on the back burner!