Mark Twain was born 30 November 1835, and died 21 April 1910
12 Mark Twain Quotes on Writing
- The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
- The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell together, as quickly as possible.
- Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
- I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
- A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.
- The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.
- The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
- I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English – it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
- Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
- One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.
- We write frankly and fearlessly but then we ‘modify’ before we print.
- My works are like water. The works of the great masters are like wine. But everyone drinks water.
Mark Twain’s Nine Tips for Living an Extraordinary Life
1. Approve of yourself.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”
2. Your limitations may just be in your mind.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
3. Lighten up and have some fun.
“Humour is mankind’s greatest blessing.”
4. Let go of anger.
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
5. Release yourself from entitlement.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
6. If you’re taking a different path, prepare for reactions.
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want.
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”
8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.
“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
9. Do what you want to do.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
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Mark Twain’s Writing Hut – Image Source
Mark Twain was an American author and humorist. He is best known for his novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which is often called the ‘Great American Novel’.