Quote it! 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, American author and humorist

Love Twain! He was a great curmudgeon.

The idea behind this quote is rich. When you think you’re done that’s when you should begin. It’s certainly been true in many articles I’ve written. Curse you deadline!

Maybe we should begin writing earlier?



Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line

5 thoughts on “Quote it! Mark Twain

  1. One of the best one-man performances I’ve seen was Hal Holbrook doing “Mark Twain Tonight.” Here’s another Twain goodie: “Use the right word, not its second cousin.”

  2. Jim has it right, too. When I’m in edit mode, sometimes I’ll spend a half-hour searching for just the right word or way to phrase what I want to say. Sigh … I sure wish it came naturally.

  3. Jim, love the second cousin line. I haven’t heard that one. Priceless! And Ane, making myself only search for the right word when in EDIT mode is my challenge. I have a hard time when I know there’s a better word and it’s right. on. the. edge. of. my. mind. It’s hard to force myself to insert XXXXX and move on. Tips?

    • Mike, are you aware of a program called WordWeb? It’s like an uber-thesaurus. I bought the Pro version (modest price), but there’s a free version that I used for a long time. More than adequate in most cases. It can be integrated with Word so that you can pop it up with ctrl+alt+W with your cursor on the word in question. Saved me many times when the word I wanted was right. on. the. edge. of. my. mind. Here’s a link: http://wordweb.info/free/

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