Goodbye, CreateSpace

Amazon recently announced that it would be shuttering CreateSpace, the website that changed my life.

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The Work Is What Matters

“The world is divided into people who do things and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There’s far less competition.”

— Dwight Morrow

As Ryan Holiday writes in Ego Is the Enemy, John Boyd is “one of the most influential strategists and practitioners in modern warfare,” yet he’s “someone most people have never heard of.”

The fact that Boyd is unknown is fitting, because his lasting legacy is a speech he gave to scores of young officers that has come to be known as the “To Do or To Be” speech:

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Four Ways That Reading Makes You a Better Writer

writer

“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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