Saturday, December 20, 2008

Motivational Quote #15

"The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The above quotation comes from Longfellow's poem titled The Ladder of St. Augustine. In St. Augustine's De doctrina Christiana, literally "On Christian Doctrine", he explains how to read and interpret Sacred Scripture, providing seven steps on approaching Scripture and seven rules on understanding Scripture.*

While I won't go into the details of St. Augustine's Ladder, in this poem, Longfellow seems to be echoing the moral sentiments of St. Augustine's work.

Sometimes we read or hear stories of breakout authors who wrote a novel, sent it off to an agent who pitched it to a major publishing house, had it accepted with a nice advance, won movie rights, and is now sitting in the Bahamas working on her next novel.

But that's not the norm and as aspiring authors we shouldn't set our hopes on goals like that. Unrealistic goals are a surefire way to ensure discontent.

The aspiring author can use Longfellow's words to encourage him to keep working. "But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upward in the night." As we read in our last motivational quote by Jefferson, who spoke of hard work, we also hear from Longfellow that it will take nights of toil in order to reach the great heights we are seeking to achieve.

Don't let that hard work scare you. If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen.

As we come closer to the end of 2008 and the exciting start of the New Year, take a moment to discover where those nuggets of time are hiding that you can spend toiling away at your writing career. You have the power to make your dreams come true!

* The information about St. Augustine and his work was taken from

1 comment:

Marie said...

Love the quotes
I really love these kind of things!
I was just at this site where they had all these motivational and inspirational refrigerator magnets and I got a bunch of them. They were really cool with funny original sayings like "obsession is not a hobby" (i got THAT one for sure hahaha) :)
...and stuff about love and friendship too.
I am going to give some to my friends and co-workers:)
Anyway, thanks for sharing the quotes, I loved them!