The Best Joan Didion quotes

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Joan Didion, born in 1934, is a well known American novelist and journalist. She has written many novels about the different aspects of life that she has seen through her own eyes. Her most famous novel is The Year of Magical Thinking. In this novel, she deals with how grief overcomes the human experience. This book was made into a movie in 2005 which was directed by Joan’s husband John Cassavetes.
We are glad to present you the best phrases from Joan Didion.

We are glad to present you the most inspiring Work, Writers, Power, Time, Writing quotes from Joan Didion, and much more.


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About Joan Didion

birth of the author

December 5, 1934

occupation of the author

Memoirist, Essayist

college of the author

Alma Mater:
University Of California, Berkeley

date of the author


movement of the author

Literary Movement:
New Journalism

award of the author

Notable Works:
Slouching Towards Bethlehem


I am always writing to myself. โ€” Joan Didion


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You think you have some stable talent which will show no matter what you’re writing, and if it doesn’t seem to be getting across to the audience once, you can’t imagine that moment when it suddenly will. โ€” Joan Didion

Somehow writing has always seemed to me to have an element of performance. โ€” Joan Didion

There must be times when everybody writes when they feel they’re evading writing. โ€” Joan Didion

i am always writing to myself Joan Didion quote

Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought? โ€” Joan Didion

Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. โ€” Joan Didion

The impulse for much writing is homesickness. You are trying to get back home, and in your writing you are invoking that home, so you are assuaging the homesickness. โ€” Joan Didion

I can’t imagine writing if I didn’t have a reader. Any more than an actor can imagine acting without an audience. โ€” Joan Didion

When you’re writing fiction, you don’t have notes necessarily. You don’t carve it, it’s not like a piece of sculpture, it’s more like water color. โ€” Joan Didion

somehow writing has always seemed to me to have an element of performance Joan Didion quote

It took me a couple of years after I got out of Berkeley before I dared to start writing. That academic mindโ€“setโ€“which was kind of shallow in my case anywayโ€“had begun to fade. โ€” Joan Didion

My first notebook was a Big Five tablet, given to me [at age five] by my mother with the sensible suggestion that I stop whining and learn to amuse myself by writing down my thoughts. โ€” Joan Didion

My writing is a process of rewriting, of going back and changing and filling in. in the rewriting process you discover what’s going on, and you go back and bring it up to that point. โ€” Joan Didion

Writing is the act of saying ‘I,’ of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying ‘listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. โ€” Joan Didion

In many ways, writing is the act of saying ‘I,’ of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying, ‘Listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.’ It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act. โ€” Joan Didion


Writers are only rarely likable. โ€” Joan Didion

Writers are always selling somebody out. โ€” Joan Didion

The writer is always tricking the reader into listening to their dream. โ€” Joan Didion

What you’re normally doing as a writer is trying to find the narrative. โ€” Joan Didion

I am a writer. Imagining what someone would say or do comes to me as naturally as breathing. โ€” Joan Didion

writers are only rarely likable Joan Didion quote

Details are our business as writers. Your heart leaps when you see a detail that can go somewhere โ€” Joan Didion

Let me tell you one thing about why writers write: had I known the answer to any of these questions I would never have needed to write a novel. โ€” Joan Didion

People tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember. Writers are always selling somebody out. โ€” Joan Didion

We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images. โ€” Joan Didion


Only the dying man can tell how much time he has left. โ€” Joan Didion

only the dying man can tell how much time he has left Joan Didion quote

Marriage is memory, marriage is time. โ€” Joan Didion

Marriage is memory, marriage is time. Marriage is not only time: it is also, paradoxically, the denial of time. โ€” Joan Didion

The truth is, it’s easier for me to write than talk… to express the state I’m in at any time. โ€” Joan Didion

Time is the school in which we learn. โ€” Joan Didion

Strength is one of those things you’re supposed to have. You don’t feel that you have it at the time you’re going through it. โ€” Joan Didion

marriage is memory marriage is time Joan Didion quote

As time goes by I think that men who were unable to make choices were more right than those who made them. Because there are no clear choices. โ€” Joan Didion

Redundant Thematics

In Joan Didion Statements


What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone. โ€” Joan Didion

I wrote stories from the time I was a little girl, but I didn’t want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn’t realize then that it’s the same impulse. It’s makeโ€“believe. It’s performance. โ€” Joan Didion

Was there ever in anyone’s life span a point free in time, devoid of memory, a night when choice was any more than the sum of all the choices gone before? โ€” Joan Didion

By the end of the week, she was thinking constantly about where her body stopped and the air began about the exact point in space and time that was the difference between Maria and other. โ€” Joan Didion

The last sentence in a piece is another adventure. It should open the piece up. โ€” Joan Didion


Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power. โ€” Joan Didion

New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and perishable dream itself. โ€” Joan Didion

Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power. โ€” Joan Didion

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselvesโ€“there lies the great, singular power of selfโ€“respect. โ€” Joan Didion

grammar is a piano i play by ear all i know about grammar is its power Joan Didion quote

The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power’s sake but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. โ€” Joan Didion

The ability to think for one’s self depends upon one’s mastery of the language. โ€” Joan Didion

I’m not sure I have the physical strength to undertake a novel. โ€” Joan Didion


In terms of work, I never felt that I’ve done it right. I always want to have done it differently, to have done it better, a different way. โ€” Joan Didion

If you want to understand what you’re thinking, you kind of have to work it through and write it. And the only way to work it through, for me, is to write it. โ€” Joan Didion

do not whine do not complain work harder spend more time alone Joan Didion quote

I work every day. Sometimes I don’t accomplish anything every day, but if I don’t work every day, I get depressed and get afraid to start again. So I do something every day. โ€” Joan Didion

Do not whineโ€ฆDo not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone. โ€” Joan Didion

Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control. โ€” Joan Didion

In theory momentos serve to bring back the moment. In fact, they serve only to make clear how inadequately I appreciated the moment when it was here. โ€” Joan Didion

Wasting Life?


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