Mark Twain Quotes on Writing: A Collection of 100+ Quotes

mark twain quotes on writing
by CJ McDaniel // June 28 // 0 Comments

One cannot dismiss Mark Twain as one of the greatest American writers of all time when talking about writers who wrote accounts of American life in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He’s America’s most famous literary icon—who penned The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, both of which became classics in American literature. His wit and satire, vivid use of details, and memorable characters were among the many things that secured his place in American literary culture. Moreover, Mark Twain’s quotes about writing, taken from his written works or speeches, became staples among writers of all kinds.

Born in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, famously known by the pseudonym Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, lecturer, riverboat pilot, and entrepreneur. At age 4, Twain’s family moved to Hannibal, Missouri, a small town on the banks of the Mississippi River, which later inspired the setting for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Although his father thought moving would sustain their financial needs. However, they continued to struggle financially, and Twain tried many occupations to help his family, especially when his father died. Most of Twain’s jobs involved writing, but he only discovered he had become a “literary person” by age 37 since he initially dreamt of becoming a steamboat pilot. This dream also paved the way for his pen name, Mark Twain, as it came from a term used on steamboats, meaning the water depth was 12 feet deep and is safe to navigate.

From a pilot of a Mississippi riverboat, Mark Twain was soon one of the best-known storytellers in the West and one of America’s most beloved writers. He’s now a legend of American literature whose body of work and writing style profoundly influenced generations of writers and will continue to thrive in the future. He also garnered international fame, and people worldwide revered him as one of the greatest authors America has ever produced. Moreover, Mark Twain’s quotes on writing are as relevant as his writings, inspiring readers and writers in hopes of succeeding in their craft just like him.

Mark Twain Quotes About Writing

Mark Twain penned 20 books and numerous short stories, sketches, and letters, but these numbers weren’t the sole reason for his title as one of the greatest writers of all time.

During his time, writers would neglect specific social classes except when they treated them as objects of fun or disapproval. Twain was different. His written works explored the fundamental issues that America faced, appealing to every reader, whether they’re ordinary or academic. His humor, eloquence in speaking about universal themes, and sympathy for innocent and well-meaning people completed his writings. Hence, it’s unsurprising how his popularity reached globally and to people of all sorts.

Twain did not shy away from writing what was relevant in his time, exposing valuable matters that others ignored. Mark Twain’s quotes about writing will help you have the boldness to convey your thoughts and learn more about the craft.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

– Mark Twain

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.

– Mark Twain

As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.

– Mark Twain

Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.

– Mark Twain

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

– Mark Twain

The public is the only critic whose judgment is worth anything at all.

– Mark Twain

Don’t look at the world with your hands in your pockets. To write about it you have to reach out and touch it.

– Mark Twain

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

– Mark Twain

An average English word is four letters and a half. By hard, honest labor I’ve dug all the large words out of my vocabulary and shaved it down till the average is three and a half… I never write metropolis for seven cents, because I can get the same money for city. I never write policeman, because I can get the same price for cop…. I never write valetudinarian at all, for not even hunger and wretchedness can humble me to the point where I will do a word like that for seven cents; I wouldn’t do it for fifteen.

– Mark Twain

Let us guess that whenever we read a sentence & like it, we unconsciously store it away in our model-chamber; & it goes, with the myriad of its fellows, to the building, brick by brick, of the eventual edifice which we call our style.

– Mark Twain

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.

– Mark Twain

The editor of a newspaper cannot be independent, but must work with one hand tied behind him by party and patrons, and be content to utter only half or two-thirds of his mind . writers of all kinds are manacled servants of the public. We write frankly and fearlessly, but then we “modify” before we print.

– Mark Twain

It is a good thing to write for the amusement of the public, but it is a far higher and nobler thing to write for their instruction, their profit, their actual and tangible benefit.

– Mark Twain

One should never use exclamation points in writing. It is like laughing at your own joke.

– Mark Twain

An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.

– Mark Twain

Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.

– Mark Twain

It takes a heap of sense to write good nonsense

– Mark Twain

Experience is an author’s most valuable asset; experience is the thing that puts the muscle and the breath and the warm blood into the book he writes.

– Mark Twain

There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn’t because the book is not there and worth being written — it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself.

– Mark Twain

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.

– Mark Twain

Perhaps no poet is a conscious plagiarist, but there seems to be warrant for suspecting that there is no poet who is not at one time or another an unconscious one.

– Mark Twain

Write without pay until somebody offers to pay.

– Mark Twain

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 far apart.

– Mark Twain

Whatever you have lived, you can write & by hard work & a genuine apprenticeship, you can learn to write well; but what you have not lived you cannot write, you can only pretend to write it.

– Mark Twain

I don’t speak German well but several experts have assured me that I write it like an angel. Maybe so, maybe so- I don’t know. I’ve not yet made any acquaintances among the angels. That comes later, whenever it please the Deity. I’m not in any hurry.

– Mark Twain

We write frankly and freely, but then we modify before we print.

– Mark Twain

A distinguished man should be as particular about his last words as he is about his last breath. He should write them out on a slip of paper and take the judgment of his friends on them. He should never leave such a thing to the last hour of his life, and trust to an intellectual spurt at the last moment to enable him to say something smart with his latest gasp and launch into eternity with grandeur.

– Mark Twain

I have thought many times since that if poets when they get discouraged would blow their brains out, they could write very much better when they got well.

– Mark Twain

I conceive that the right way to write a story for boys is to write so that it will not only interest boys but strongly interest any man who has ever been a boy. That immensely enlarges the audience.

– Mark Twain

It is no use to keep private information which you can’t show off.

– Mark Twain

Well, my book is written-let it go. But if it were only to write over again there wouldn’t be so many things left out. They burn in me; and they keep multiplying; but now they can’t ever be said. And besides, they would require a library-and a pen warmed up in hell.

– Mark Twain

Anybody can have ideas-the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.

– Mark Twain

I never write “metropolis” for seven cents when I can write “city” and get paid the same.

– Mark Twain

What are the proper proportions of a maxim? A minimum of sound to a maximum of sense.

– Mark Twain

I am trying to get the hang of this new fangled writing machine, but I am not making a shining success of it. However, this is the first attempt I have ever made & yet I perceive I shall soon & easily acquire a fine facility in its use. … The machine has several virtues. I believe it will print faster than I can write. One may lean back in his chair & work it. It piles an awful stack of words on one page. It don’t muss things or scatter ink blots around. Of course it saves paper.

– Mark Twain

If we learned to walk and talk the way we learn to read and write, everyone would limp and stutter.

– Mark Twain

Men write many fine and plausible arguments in support of monarchy, but the fact remains that where every man has a voice, brutal laws are impossible

– Mark Twain

That cat will write her autograph all over your leg if you let her.

– Mark Twain

When an honest writer discovers an imposition it is his simple duty to strip it bare and hurl it down from its place of honor, no matter who suffers by it; any other course would render him unworthy of the public confidence.

– Mark Twain

In Austria an editor who can write well is valuable, but he is not likely to remain so unless he can handle a sabre with charm.

– Mark Twain

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.

– Mark Twain

To write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers pay within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for.

– Mark Twain

When I want to read something nice, I sit down and write it myself.

– Mark Twain

You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.

– Mark Twain

Writing is the easiest thing in the world…. Just try it sometime. I sit up with a pipe in my mouth and a board on my knees and I scribble away.

– Mark Twain

The writing begins when you’ve finished. Only then do you know what you’re trying to say.

– Mark Twain

The frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter; the writer gets his limitless freedom of statement and expression from his sense that no stranger is going to see what he is writing.

– Mark Twain

There ain’t nothing more to write about and I’m rotten glad of it, because if I’d know’d what trouble it was to make a book, I wouldn’t a tackled it.

– Mark Twain

Every man feels that his experience is unlike that of anybody else and therefore he should write it down– he finds also that everybody else has thought and felt on some points precisely as he has done, and therefore he should write it down.

– Mark Twain

In writing, I shall always confine myself strictly to the truth, except when it is attended with inconvenience.

– Mark Twain

I never write Metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same money for cop.

– Mark Twain

God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention.

– Mark Twain

If I’d seen a playwright ever write an’ play at the same time, I’d have given ’em more of a chance at cards. Can I get an ‘amen?’

– Mark Twain

A man who is not born with the novel-writing gift has a troublesome time of it when he tries to build a novel. I know this from experience. He has no clear idea of his story; in fact he has no story. He merely has some people in his mind, and an incident or two, also a locality, and he trusts he can plunge those people into those incidents with interesting results.

– Mark Twain

No one can write perfect English and keep it up through a stretch of ten chapters. It has never been done.

– Mark Twain

If ever you’ve been down in the dumps, hear these iconic authors share with you more than their writing wisdom.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Books

Mark Twain once wrote that he has “no liking for novels or stories.” However, he was a voracious reader, eager to read fiction, verse, and non-fiction books. Moreover, Twain’s library housed over a thousand books, many of which most likely influenced his body of work.

Check the collection below for more of Mark Twain’s quotes about books, mostly from his writings.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

– Mark Twain

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

– Mark Twain

Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.

– Mark Twain

My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.

– Mark Twain

The most permanent lessons in morals are those which come, not of book teaching, but of experience.

– Mark Twain

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.

– Mark Twain

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.

– Mark Twain

Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.

– Mark Twain

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

– Mark Twain

I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize 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.

– Mark Twain

A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

– Mark Twain

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.

– Mark Twain

If you invent two or three people and turn them loose in your manuscript, something is bound to happen to them — you can’t help it; and then it will take you the rest of the book to get them out of the natural consequences of that occurrence, and so first thing you know, there’s your book all finished up and never cost you an idea.

– Mark Twain

The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book- a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.

– Mark Twain

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.

– Mark Twain

You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?

– Mark Twain

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

– Mark Twain

Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.

– Mark Twain

I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well.

– Mark Twain

What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.

– Mark Twain

In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

– Mark Twain

I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.

– Mark Twain

Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.

– Mark Twain

You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God’s adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.

– Mark Twain

A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words in a book or newspaper the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt.

– Mark Twain

As I have said before, I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling-book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters, and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling-book has been a doubtful benevolence to us.

– Mark Twain

I have no liking for novels or stories – none in the world; and so, whenever I read one – which is not oftener than once in two years, and even in these same cases I seldom read beyond the middle of the book – my distaste for the vehicle always taints my judgment of the literature itself, as a matter of course; and also of course makes my verdict valuless. Are you saying “You have written stories yourself.” Quite true: but the fact that an Indian likes to scalp people is no evidence that he likes to be scalped.

– Mark Twain

Experience of life (not of books) is the only capital usable in such a book as you have attempted; one can make no judicious use of this capital while it is new.

– Mark Twain

We get our morals from books. I didn’t get mine from books, but I know that morals do come from books- theoretically at least.

– Mark Twain

What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those of other things, are his history. These are his life, and they are not written. Everyday would make a whole book of 80,000 words — 365 books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man — the biography of the man himself cannot be written.

– Mark Twain

Every person is a book, each year a chapter.

– Mark Twain

Which is him?” The grammar was faulty, maybe, but we could not know, then, that it would go in a book someday.

– Mark Twain

There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author, and the three form a rising scale of compliment: 1, to tell him you have read one of his books; 2, to tell him you have read all of his books; 3, to ask him to let you read the manuscript of his forthcoming book. No. 1 admits you to his respect; No. 2 admits you to his admiration; No. 3 carries you clear into his heart.

– Mark Twain

Hero: Person in a book who does things which he can’t and girl marries him for it.

– Mark Twain

I should be sorry to think it was the publishers themselves they got up this entire little flutter to enable them to unload a book that was taking too much room in their cellars, but you can never tell what a publisher will do. I have been one myself.

– Mark Twain

Heroine: girl who is perfectly charming to live with, in a book.

– Mark Twain

An Autobiography is the truest of all books; for while it inevitably consists mainly of extinctions of the truth, shirkings of the truth, partial revealments of the truth, with hardly an instance of plain straight truth, the remorseless truth is there, between the lines, where the author-cat is raking dust upon it which hides from the disinterested spectator neither it nor its smell… the result being that the reader knows the author in spite of his wily diligences.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Inspirational Quotes

Twain may have achieved many feats and accomplishments in the literary world, but that doesn’t disguise how life had dealt him with heavy blows. Apart from the financial struggle he had to face growing up, the deaths of his loved ones also affected a lot of aspects of his life. Childhood ended early for him as Twain had to quit school to work as an apprentice and several odd jobs later. Many events took place before he became the celebrated writer he is now, much of which made his life tragic. However, his dedication and commitment to making a professional career for himself inspire many who seem to struggle today.

This section is for anyone looking for inspirational quotes from Mark Twain and his writings.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.

– Mark Twain

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

– Mark Twain

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.

– Mark Twain

Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.

– Mark Twain

The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make.

– Mark Twain

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

– Mark Twain

Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.

– Mark Twain

Don’t tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.

– Mark Twain

Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.

– Mark Twain

Do something everyday that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.

– Mark Twain

To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal.

– Mark Twain

Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

– Mark Twain

I respect a man who knows how to spell a word more than one way.

– Mark Twain

Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably And never regret ANYTHING That makes you smile.

– Mark Twain

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

– Mark Twain

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

– Mark Twain

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.

– Mark Twain

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

– Mark Twain

To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.

– Mark Twain

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

– Mark Twain

Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.

– Mark Twain

A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.

– Mark Twain

Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

– Mark Twain

Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.

– Mark Twain

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.

– Mark Twain

Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.

– Mark Twain

Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

– Mark Twain

Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.

– Mark Twain

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

– Mark Twain

There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.

– Mark Twain

The world doesn’t owe you anything. It was here first.

– Mark Twain

I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.

– Mark Twain

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

– Mark Twain

If I were required to guess off-hand, and without collusion with higher minds, what is the bottom cause of the amazing material and intellectual advancement of the last fifty years, I should guess that it was the modern-born and previously non-existent disposition on the part of men to believe that a new idea can have value.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Literature

Mark Twain’s most famous works include novels based on his experiences in Missouri, such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” These novels, along with his sketches, articles, and short stories, endure on bookshelves and in the hearts and minds of readers worldwide. Why? His works helped to create and popularize the American point of view in fiction, built on American themes and language. Although many of his works faced suppression for various reasons, their contribution to literature will live.

The following collection features quotes about literature from one of America’s best and most beloved writing masters, Mark Twain.

The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.

– Mark Twain

Literature is well enough, as a time-passer, and for the improvement and general elevation and purification of mankind, but it has no practical value.

– Mark Twain

The Germans have an inhuman way of cutting up their verbs. Now a verb has a hard time enough of it in this world when it’s all together. It’s downright inhuman to split it up. But that’s just what those Germans do. They take part of a verb and put it down here, like a stake, and they take the other part of it and put it away over yonder like another stake, and between these two limits they just shovel in German. from “Disappearance of Literature

– Mark Twain

In literature imitations do not imitate.

– Mark Twain

Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.

– Mark Twain

Prosperity is the best protector of principle.

– Mark Twain

High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.

– Mark Twain

The public is the only critic whose judgment is worth anything at all.

– Mark Twain

Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.

– Mark Twain

The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.

– Mark Twain

I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it.

– Mark Twain

Creed and opinion change with time, and their symbols perish; but Literature and its temples are sacred to all creeds and inviolate.

– Mark Twain

To my mind that literature is best and most enduring which is characterized by a noble simplicity.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Character

Twain traveled widely, which explains why people also considered him a travel writer who loved adventures and risks. He would travel around the world to give lectures and speeches, using his travels as subject matter for his fiction. He also used these experiences, including his early life, to create realistic characters, many of which remain America’s favorite protagonists today.

These characters also played a significant role in his popularity, so if you need inspiration in writing your protagonist, these Mark Twain quotes will come in handy.

Surely the test of a novel’s characters is that you feel a strong interest in them and their affairs the good to be successful, the bad to suffer failure. Well, in John Ward, you feel no divided interest, no discriminating interest you want them all to land in hell together, and right away.

– Mark Twain

One must keep one’s character. Earn a character first if you can, and if you can’t, then assume one.

– Mark Twain

There was no crime in unconscious plagiarism; that I committed it everyday, that he committed it everyday, that every man alive on earth who writes or speaks commits it every day and not merely once or twice but every time he open his mouth… there is nothing of our own in it except some slight change born of our temperament, character, environment, teachings and associations

– Mark Twain

I will now claim – until dispossesed – that I was the first person in the world to apply the typewriter to literature. … The early machine was full of caprices, full of defects- devilish ones. It had as many immoralities as the machine of today has virtues. After a year or two I found that it was degrading my character, so I thought I would give it to Howells. … He took it home to Boston, and my morals began to improve, but his have never recovered.

– Mark Twain

To arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man’s character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours.

– Mark Twain

There is no character, howsoever good and fine, but it can be destroyed by ridicule, howsoever poor and witless.

– Mark Twain

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.

– Mark Twain

It is not worth while to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man’s character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible.

– Mark Twain

Praise is well, compliment is well, but affection-that is the last and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement.

– Mark Twain

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

– Mark Twain

A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Achievement

Twain was a great literary mind and philosopher who created iconic masterpieces that many readers enjoy today. This fact makes him an accomplished writer who lived life as he pleased. Hence, when talking about achievements, his title as “the father of American literature” is enough to showcase how much he has accomplished.

If you’re looking for Mark Twain quotes about achievement, here are some of his knowledge taken from his writings and teachings.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

– Mark Twain

I’m glad I did it, partly because it was worth it, but mostly because I shall never have to do it again.

– Mark Twain

It is easier to stay out than get out.

– Mark Twain

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

– Mark Twain

Synergy – the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously.

– Mark Twain

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself…Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.

– Mark Twain

Praise is well, compliment is well, but affection-that is the last and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement.

– Mark Twain

Great things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit.

– Mark Twain

When we do not know a person – and also when we do – we have to judge his size by the size and nature of his achievements, as compared with the achievements of others in his special line of business – there is no other way.

– Mark Twain

That is the way of the scientist. He will spend thirty years in building up a mountain range of facts with the intent to prove a certain theory; then he is so happy with his achievement that as a rule he overlooks the main chief fact of all-that all his accumulation proves an entirely different thing.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Art

Literature and art have a close connection, considering how these forms express one’s creativity and imagination. While Mark Twain’s fame stems from his truthfulness, humor, and written works, one cannot underestimate his knowledge of art. Whether that refers to literary or visual art, Mark Twain’s quotes regarding this subject should give you an insight into his perspective on the matter.

The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.

– Mark Twain

Honesty: The best of all the lost arts.

– Mark Twain

To string incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis of the American art, if my position is correct.

– Mark Twain

…mastery of the art and spirit of the Germanic language enables a man to travel all day in one sentence without changing cars.

– Mark Twain

To say a compliment well is a high art and few possess it.

– Mark Twain

It is a gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art… Because people who understand art find nothing in pictures but blemishes.

– Mark Twain

The art of prophecy is very difficult, especially with respect to the future.

– Mark Twain

A good legible label is usually worth, for information, a ton of significant attitude and expression in a historical picture.

– Mark Twain

Some authorities hold that the young ought not to lie at all. That, of course, is putting it rather stronger than necessary; still, while I cannot go quite so far as that, I do maintain, and I believe I am right, that the young ought to be temperate in the use of this great art until practice and experience shall give them that confidence, elegance and precision which alone can make the accomplishment graceful and profitable.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Time

Have you ever wondered what Mark Twain thought of time? Time didn’t stop the talented writer from reaching success. Although some may deem his shift in passion at a later age impractical, Twain used his time to make the best out of things. People in his time and even today greatly appreciate his wisdom and insight.

Read on for Mark Twain’s quotes about time derived from his writings and speech.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

– Mark Twain

A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.

– Mark Twain

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

– Mark Twain

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do day after tomorrow just as well.

– Mark Twain

Time and tide wait for no man. A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide.

– Mark Twain

The first time a student realizes that a little learning is a dangerous thing is when he brings home a poor report card.

– Mark Twain

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Talent

Questioning Mark Twain’s talent would cause an endless debate. The man possesses an undeniable talent for delivering his thoughts, whether that involves written or spoken words. His natural talent for storytelling and speechmaking made him a popular public figure and literary icon.

If you want to know some quotes about talent, related to writing or not, check out this list of Mark Twain quotes!

We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.

– Mark Twain

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. There is nothing more satisfying than that sense of being completely “at home” in your own skin. When you achieve that as a natural state of “being”, then you can finally look beyond yourself and fully contribute all your talents to the world.

– Mark Twain

Unused talents gives you no advantage over someone who has no talent at all.

– Mark Twain

Talent without work is useless, thank God.

– Mark Twain

I never could do anything with figures, never had any talent for mathematics, never accomplished anything in my efforts at that rugged study, and to-day the only mathematics I know is multiplication, and the minute I get away up in that, as soon as I reach nine times seven- [He lapsed into deep thought, trying to figure nine times seven. Mr. McKelway whispered the answer to him.] I’ve got it now. It’s eighty-four. Well, I can get that far all right with a little hesitation. After that I am uncertain, and I can’t manage a statistic.

– Mark Twain

Mark Twain Quotes About Work

Mark Twain’s family faced an economic struggle for years after his father, John Clemens, died in 1847. Twain had to leave school to seek employment, landing a job as a printer’s apprentice for a local newspaper. He would soon work several odd jobs later to support the family’s financial needs. If there’s a list of people who can provide words of wisdom about working, Mark Twain would be part of that list.

Here is a selection of quotes about work from the writing legend Mark Twain.

Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.

– Mark Twain

Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.

– Mark Twain

Intellectual ”work” is misnamed; it is a pleasure, a dissipation, and is its own highest reward.

– Mark Twain

I can’t do no literary work for the rest of this year because I’m meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant.

– Mark Twain

Never learn to do anything: if you don’t learn, you’ll always find someone else to do it for you.

– Mark Twain

Throughout his lifetime, Mark Twain wrote more than 20 novels and numerous short stories. His mastery of spoken language helped him reach American men and women, challenging the fundamental issues that America faced during his time. Mark Twain’s boldness, brilliance, and wit spoke to the hearts and minds of readers across the globe, and his quotes on writing keep their relevance even in today’s time.

Other than these Mark Twain quotes, do you need a little push to overcome your writing problems? If so, see our collection of writing quotes from other authors here.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!