Difference between a firefly and lightning bolt–#Writer’s Quote Wednesday#BeWoW


The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.

This quote resonates with me.  There are many ways a thought can be expressed–even a single word can make a difference.  Sometimes words just flow.  Other times, a better phrase comes to mind after a break.  One thing I have been enjoying about blogging is that the process encourages spontaneity and sharing,  as opposed to hiding thoughts in a drawer, embarrassed by their imperfection.  However, knowing there is such a thing as a lightning flash, as opposed to the spark of a firefly, inspires my attention.

According to Bartleby.com, Mark Twain (1835-1910) offered this advice for George Bainton’s compilation, The Art of Authorship, 1890. Best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was a prolific American  writer, humorist, and public speaker. Writing under a pen name, his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

This post is a contribution to SilverThreading’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday and RonovanWrites’ Be Writing on Wednesday (BeWoW).  Have a great Wednesday!


16 thoughts on “Difference between a firefly and lightning bolt–#Writer’s Quote Wednesday#BeWoW

    1. As usual, you got me thinking 🙂 I think his use of ‘right’ sets that feeling up. I actually think fireflies are more than ‘almost right’…if my writing could be full of fireflies I’d be happy. What captures me about his words is a truth I’ve observed in reading–there are differences in impact–some words flash brightly. And then for writing, the idea he talks about makes me pause and ask myself–does this spark? It doesn’t have to spark in a major way but just asking the question makes me listen closer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I agree,choosing the right words is most important in any language to convey your message, After I started this blog I can understand his quote quite well. I am always looking for words that would express best . I have always been communicating in English at work or outside to people whose first language is not English (it’s not mine as well ), so the emphasis was always to get the meaning without much caring on words and grammar but then human expressions ,gestures help more than words in that face to face case.

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      2. I have so much respect for you and other bloggers who are successful blogging in a language other than their mother tongue. I’ll keep your method of focusing on meaning in mind when I try to communicate in French– maybe I’ll be braver with that.

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  1. I always thought that the great poets past, took an age to write each poem. It certainly does not seem that way in blogland. Yet, I appreciate that quickly composed poems are more honest and revealing. We can always edit in those inspirations that come later. Fortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I too had a vision of slow writing–but now I’m getting a sense that there are several different styles and scenarios…experiencing a flow is my favourite scenario (I suppose everyone would prefer that) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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