Advice from the Masters: Joan Didion

Aug 17, 2016 | Better Writing

I know Joan Didion mostly by reputation. It’s a sterling reputation as both a literary figure and a literary journalist. My one direct experience with her writing is her memoir of the year after her husband died suddenly: The Year of Magical Thinking. It’s not the kind of writing that I love to do, but it is the kind of writing that makes you think, “My God, if I could write just one thing that good I would die fulfilled.”

The following observation comes from her essay, “Why I Write” that used the title from a George Orwell essay as a starting point.

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts

If you want even more writing advice from writers, check out Jon Winokur’s blog, “AdvicetoWriters.”