The Best of Mark Twain”s Quotes
Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. In 1871, Mark Twain was born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri, U. He was a writer, and the Best of Mark Twain’s Quotes. He was called the “greatest American humorist of his age.
He wrote the now classic novels, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He wrote some great stuff that is still read by millions today. He also had some great quotes that continue to live on because of the wisdom in them. Mark Twain was a funny, witty, and wise guy. I hope the below quotes will astonish, enlighten, and amuse you. I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. We walk around all our lives thinking about things that will never happen.
Reasons for Concern
We worry, dread, and fear what hasn’t happened and what probably never will. Our minds are out of control. Our heads are filled with negative thoughts that have no bearing in reality, even if we think they do. Eliminating bad thoughts is possible, through methods such as EFT and The Work. It’s not easy, but worth it. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
The Lion and Four Baby Goats
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. We want to be secure, but the best life experiences come when we drop those notions and go after what we truly want, whether it feels safe or not. I’ve battled with this myself, and I often stop myself from doing things because it feels unsafe. I worry too much about the future. In reality, we can’t know what the future will bring. Even if you have millions in the bank, you may lose it tomorrow.
Not even the wealthiest on this planet are secure. Imagine that something negative happened to you. Maybe someone said something to you that you thought was wrong. How often do you replay what happened over and over and over again when it’s all over? The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.
Going after your dreams can feel like an overwhelming task, but that’s because you’re trying to visualize something in your head that cannot be visualized. Mark Twain is right on in breaking things into small pieces. It works because you can hold an image in your head of what the end result looks like. Instead of thinking “I need to start an online business,” a better thought would be “I need to start a blog. That is, if you want to go down that route. A good and funny quote, but to me it sends the message to not make decisions when you’re angry. People are foolish when they are angry.
They snap at others and only create more trouble in their life. Calm down, and sleep on your decision. Have you ever felt like you deserved something, but didn’t get it? That thought does us no good, even if we think we did deserve whatever it is that we didn’t get. So what if things didn’t go perfectly? You adjust and you keep on going. Who knows, maybe that setback wasn’t a setback after all.
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The negative events in my life have a tendency to blossom into positive ones. You will always have a smidgen of fear when diving into the unknown. Henri blogs at Wake Up Cloud, where he shows you how you can earn money online ethically. You can also get the Passion Blogging Guide, which is free, but really shouldn’t be. This article was originally published on Dumb Little Man and has been republished here with permission. A good writing quote can give me goosebumps.
For those days when the well is feeling dry and a tad echo-y, I keep a running list of my favorite quotes—things I’ve read, things I’ve edited, things I’ve found in the WD archives, things people have said to me in interviews. Recently, someone asked if I was still collecting quotes. Here’s the latest iteration of the list. I’d love to expand it, too—please share some of your favourites in the Comments section of this blog post. The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress. The road to hell is paved with adverbs. Who wants to become a writer?
Because it’s the answer to everything. It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus. To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard. Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal. All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies.
Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.
What is a venipuncture?
This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life. I am going to produce a work of art. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.
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The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works. Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything. If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.
To defend what you’ve written is a sign that you are alive. If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us. For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word. Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.
We’re past the age of heroes and hero kings. Most of our lives are basically mundane and dull, and it’s up to the writer to find ways to make them interesting. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.
When not writing or rewriting, read. Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces. I’m out there to clean the plate. I think the highest aspiration people in our trade can have is that once they’ve written a story, nobody will ever try it again.
There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be. Style is to forget all styles. I do not over-intellectualise the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story. The writing of a novel is taking life as it already exists, not to report it but to make an object, toward the end that the finished work might contain this life inside it and offer it to the reader. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.
One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off. Don’t expect the puppets of your mind to become the people of your story. If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood. But if you show the reader Bull Beezley raking the bloodied flanks of his weary, sweat-encrusted pony, and flogging the tottering, red-eyed animal with a quirt, or have him booting in the protruding ribs of a starved mongrel and, boy, the reader believes!
Human emotions and desires founded on the realities of life, working at cross purposes, getting hotter and fiercer as they strike against each other until finally there’s an explosion—that’s Plot. The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written. When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again. Born writers of the future are amazed already at what they’re seeing now, what we’ll all see in time for the first time, and then see imitated many times by made writers. Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.
All stories have to at least try to explain some small portion of the meaning of life. You can do that in 20 minutes, and 15 inches. I still remember a piece that the great Barry Bearak did in The Miami Herald some 30 years ago. It was a nothing story, really: Some high school kid was leading a campaign to ban books he found offensive from the school library. Bearak didn’t even have an interview with the kid, who was ducking him. The story was short, mostly about the issue. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.
Experienced language teacher
I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that’s the job of art. Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality. What advice do you have for people who want to be writers? I say, they don’t really need advice, they know they want to be writers, and they’re gonna do it. Those people who know that they really want to do this and are cut out for it, they know it. I don’t need an alarm clock.
Just write every day of your life. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers. Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. I don’t believe in being serious about anything.
I think life is too serious to be taken seriously. It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. Writers are always selling somebody out. Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty. There is only one plot—things are not what they seem. Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels. I think all writing is a disease. The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes. Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinions of others. You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel.
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You have to explain one drop—H2O. When I say work I only mean writing. Everything else is just odd jobs. I always start writing with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind. I almost always urge people to write in the first person. Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.
Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide. Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives.