How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!—Journal, 19 August 1851
However much we may admire the orator's occasional bursts of eloquence, the noblest written words are commonly as far behind or above the fleeting spoken language as the firmament with its stars is behind the clouds.—Walden
I am glad to hear that any words of mine, though spoken so long ago that I can hardly claim identity with their author, have reached you. It gives me pleasure, because I have therefore reason to suppose that I have uttered what concerns men, and that it is not in vain that man speaks to man. This is the value of literature.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 27 March 1848
I would rather write books than lectures.—Journal, 6 December 1854
I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me.—Walden
If you would get money as a writer or lecturer, you must be popular, which is to go down perpendicularly.—"Life without Principle"
Improve every opportunity to express yourself in writing, as if it were your last.—Journal, 17 December 1851
In this part of the world it is considered a ground for complaint if a man's writings admit of more than one interpretation. — WaldenWalden
It is enough if I have pleased myself with writing—I am then sure of an audience.—Journal, 24 March 1842
It is fatal to the writer to be too much possessed by his thought. Things must lie a little remote to be described.—Journal, 11 November 1851
All quotation categories