I Was There: Live 8 Philadelphia

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We weren’t going to go.

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Four Ways That Reading Makes You a Better Writer

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“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

— Stephen King

Everyone, it seems, wants to be a writer these days (present company included).

The advances in technology over the past two decades has flattened the publishing world to the point that anyone can share their thoughts on a blog, microblog, whatever. You can even publish an entire book – either paperback or ebook – for free.

But just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it. And not everyone should write a book. There are plenty of people who I’d put into that category, but there is one group I’d place at the top of the list above all others: those that do not read.

In order to be successful in any field or endeavor, it is imperative to know what you’re doing. You can’t teach a physics class if you don’t understand physics and you can’t be an accountant if you’ve never studied accounting. Similarly, you can’t realistically expect to write a book if you don’t read books, but it seems like people really want to skip this vital step.

While it is impossible to overstate the power of reading, in my experience there are four distinct ways in which reading helps writing. After all, if you don’t read books, why would you be so conceited to believe that others should read yours?

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