The Mark Twain Guide to Better Blogging

If there has ever been anyone who had something brilliant to say about almost everything, it would be Mark Twain, the artist formerly known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Twain is known for more notable quotes about more topics than you can shake a stick at.

And there’s no doubt in my mind that he would make an excellent blogger. Actually, he’d likely be a blogging guru.

Just take a look at these words of blogging wisdom…

“Whenever you find you’re on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.”

If one thing truly makes a blog stand out, it’s a march to a slightly different drummer. It’s not only easier than ever to have a unique voice heard, it’s imperative to have a unique voice to be heard at all. Like the man says, be remarkable!

“The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.”

Twain would have loved social media, even at its most bitter, divisive and snarky moments. The universal need to connect with one another is the power behind social media, and tapping into it at an emotional level can take your blog from good to great.

“Great people make us feel we can become great.”

And great bloggers do the same. Empower your readers—to code better, think differently, or simply choose the right mortgage. Focus on making them the star, and you’ll become a star to them.

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

Twain knew the power of the right words, and would tell you to take care with the ones you choose. Don’t post to get it done, post something that’s done well.

“When in doubt, tell the truth.”

This has always been good advice, and when it comes to blogging, it goes well beyond having a clear conscience when you’ve got the universal brotherhood just waiting to call you out. Telling the truth even when you think it will hurt you has a funny way of becoming a benefit in the long run.

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

No blogger needs an explanation of that one. 😉

Find your own applicable Mark Twain quotes here—they make for great blogging inspiration.

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Reader Comments (52)

  1. says

    That’s a great guide and I feel a retort coming on … after I choose wisely, the words and the way !

    I don’t want to get squashed like the lightning bug !

  2. says


    Nice post. Twain had as much wit as anyone . Going against the mass opinion is definitely what distinguishes a blog.


    The days of reading books are still here, for me at least. I think reading gives me great inspiration to blog and improves my writing. I actually posted on that last week.

  3. says

    Nice post! One more Twain quote which I think most bloogers and readers will relate to:

    “Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.”

    The one place I think Twain was wrong:

    “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

    If only he knew about Tara Conner keeping her Miss USA crown, the reality TV boom and the plethora of Web porn!

  4. says

    you missed out his best quote.

    “if you don’t read the newspapers you are uninformed – if you do read the newspapers you are just misinformed.”

  5. twainted love says

    One of the sharpest minds of our time. My kingdom for the tiniest fraction of his wit.

    What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.
    Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

  6. says

    Don’t forget, “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. “

  7. says

    Twain was (and continues to be, I suppose) one of our great national treasures. He was an excellent writer with a sharp wit who happened to be considerably grumpy from time to time. Definitely blogger material. :)

  8. says

    Pretty neat post.

    Do you have a background in writing? Most of your posts seem to be focused on quality writing.

    Good stuff. Useful to me, as I’m new at this blogging thing.

  9. says

    I like his definition of success….

    Behold the fool saith, “Put not all thine eggs in the one basket”–which is but a manner of saying, “Scatter your money and your attention;” but the wise man saith, “Put all your eggs in the one basket and–WATCH THAT BASKET.”

  10. Charles says

    Damn good post! Thank you. Guidance such as this could inspire the rise of a superstar author with Twain’s humility, humanism and humourous pessimism. Such writers are out there — needling North America’s culture of consumption, status and egotism — but their audiences are small and select. Tenacity and grit may be the determining factors in success. To quote Mr. Twain: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

  11. says

    Nicole, nice work. I wrote this post back in 2006 because Twain makes it so easy to riff on his quotes and apply them to any situation. I should do another one. :)

  12. says

    I agree, Twain was SO ahead of his time – so much that his thoughts and commentary are applicable even today. Thanks again!

  13. says

    This was a damn compelling article! I love copyblogger because I get so much INSPIRATION from your articles! Mark Twain was an all-time great! I NEED TO BLOG about this guy!t

  14. says

    Great information. We are just getting started with blogging…… this info has given us some great insight! Thank you!

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