Anais Nin Quotes

Anais Nin’s writings open a window into her complicated and fascinating life. They also offer insights into her journey and transformation into a writer.

In this article, we will explore her quotes on writing, taken mainly from her diaries and a few interviews. Among other things, the quotes will explore:

  • What are the rewards for getting into a life of writing?
  • Why is it essential that you keep a diary as a writer?
  • How can you get ideas and inspiration for your writing?

If you want to learn more about Anais Nin, check out her quick biography.

Quotes on Why Writers Write

1. The real wonders of life lie in the depths. Exploring the depths for truths is the real wonder which the child and the artist know: magic and power lie in truth. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4, 1944-1947

2. The few moments of communion with the world are worth the pain, for it is a world for others, an inheritance for others, a gift to others, in the end. When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

3. We …write to heighten our own awareness of life, we write to lure and enchant and console others, we write to serenade our lovers. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

4. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

5. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth, we write to expand our world, when we feel strangled, constricted, lonely. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

6. We write as the birds sing. As the primitive dance their rituals. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

7. When I don’t write I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire, my color. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

8. There is a special kind of reward which is wonderful, and it’s something which, I think, only artists enjoy. It has nothing to do with material rewards. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

9. It’s the reward of finding your people, the chance to make a world, a population of your own, and that’s wonderful because you find yourself as connecting a link between people who think as you do and feel as you do.  – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

10. Writers do not live one life, they live two. There is the living and then there is the writing. There is the second tasting, the delayed reaction. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

11. I think now that at the root of all my writing lies the fact that very early in life I lost the desire to participate with others on the basis laid down by society. All I have been doing, possibly, in my work, is to protest and explain wherein I’m different. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 3, 1939-1944

12. When life becomes too difficult, I turn to my work. I swim into a new region. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

13. The need of language at this moment, for woman to write well, to express herself, is almost as important as the actual evolution of her growth. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

14. The more I wrote, the clearer my thinking was, that the more I expressed myself, the more I was able then to express to the men or the artists around me what I felt or where I stood. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

15. It was finally by writing that I taught myself to talk with others. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

16. I can’t stress enough for woman at this moment the need for articulateness, the need to care about language; because again the thing that can create misunderstandings and alienation and estrangement is the inability to speak, the inability to write. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

17. I owe to writing everything. I owe to it the facts that I can sit here and talk with you. I know you don’t believe that, but I didn’t talk at all. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

18. When I was thirty I listened always to other people, and I never said a word. I was really mute. So I taught myself to talk, and I owe to writing the fact that we can talk together now. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

19. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me – the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

20. Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. Create. And then the love will come to you, then it comes to you. It was only when I wrote my first book that the world I wanted to live in opened to me. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

Quotes on the Writing Life

21. The man or woman who for the sake of family life, children, takes up work he does not like, disciplines himself, sacrifices some fantasy he had once, to travel or to paint, or even possibly to write, may feel toward the artist and writer a jealousy of his adventurous life. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

22. The artist and the writer have generally paid the full price for their independence and for the privilege of doing work they love, or for their artistic rebellions against standardized living or values. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

23. The writer is the loneliest man in the world; because he lives, fights, dies, is reborn always alone; all his roles are played behind a curtain. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

24. Art has the power to create something out of nothing, which can be lonely as those around us don’t understand our art and alienate us from society. The artist risks this alienation to attract those who can relate to his work. – The Artist as a Magician, 1973

25. No rest for me anywhere. No rest from writing, awareness, insights, memories, fantasies, analogies, free associations. Writing becomes imperative for a surcharged head. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

Quotes on Writing a Diary

26. Only in the diary did I really exist; only in the diary could I open myself to others. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

27. Only when you outgrow that compulsion to conform to a mere image…will you really dare to be yourself and to speak out about your own experiences. In the beginning, I couldn’t do that face to face with people; I could only do it through the diary. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

28. I thought I was telling my own story, and that I was exposing my neuroses so that I could be rid of them. Simply telling the story was more important to me than any other consideration. I needed to tell it. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

29. I have everything in there: quotations from other writers, notes on things that I hoped to do someday, ideas for stories. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

30. Many of these diaries aren’t interesting because of the way they are told. But it’s only the way they’re telling it that’s not interesting; the things themselves are always interesting. They don’t know how to bring it out, mostly because the imagination is stifled. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

31. Up until the time I was twenty, I was horribly shy. I didn’t talk…. And that, of course, is partly why I went to the diary. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

32. I see that the fiction helped me to write better for the diary; it helped me to develop the diary in a more interesting way, to communicate a whole series of events. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

33. At one time, I seemed to be trapped in the sense that I couldn’t do the outside writing. I was more comfortable not facing the world, not publishing, not facing criticism; I was hypersensitive about those things. I was more willing to incite others to write. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

Quotes on What makes one a good writer

34. It’s important to let your imagination go, especially at a young age. I let mine run free when I was young. I loved to make a drama out of everything, even the weather, and I allowed this to come through in the diary. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

35. You must not fear or hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and your feelings. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

36. Great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

37. I think that when you are uneasy, when you are not at one with things that you tend to lose yourself in technique. Publishers are very big on technique. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

38. The technique of the novel and the short story was that it had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and they taught you that. They taught you to make plots, to plot the novel before you wrote it. The technical part of writing became the reality, but in fact this isn’t at all true to life. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

39. I know now that I was nearer the truth than they were, because we don’t live our lives like a novel. We don’t have these convenient denouements, these neat finishes; it just isn’t so. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

40. My attitude was one of free association. I saw things as a chain, and felt that everything is continuous and never really ends. I had a sense of continuity and relatedness; relatedness between the past and the present and the future, between races and between sexes, between everything. That’s an attitude that sustains me as a writer. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

Quotes on Writing Technique, Routine, and Process

41. Re-writing is a special problem because it means that something about your book is basically flawed and has to be corrected. If that’s the case, there’s no escaping it. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

42. My attitude about revision has never been enthusiastic, probably because I dislike obsessive perfectionism. I would always prefer to start another book than to concentrate on revising something I’d already done; I think when you go on to something new, you learn new things and you tend to become better. I just think that you benefit more by going forward than by backtracking. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

43. Routine and discipline – that is, writing every day, and never erasing or crossing out – have been very important. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

44. I always write in the morning, usually between 7:30 and noon, and the afternoon I devote to correspondence and other miscellaneous things. I type when I work in the mornings, and only write longhand in the diary. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

Quotes on Where to Get Ideas and Creativity

45. It is what I do with the journal, carrying it everywhere, writing on cafe tables while waiting for a friend, on the train, on the bus, in waiting rooms at the station, while my hair is washed, at the Sorbonne when the lectures get tedious, on journeys, trips, almost while people are talking. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

46. A big enough artist, I say, can eat anything, must eat everything and then alchemize it. Only the feeble writer is afraid of expansion. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

47. What is weakness in the man becomes a quality in the writer. For he preserves, collects what will explode later in his work. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

48. Creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to receive, to nourish yourself, and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow. –  A Woman Speaks, 1975

49. Henry’s daily and continuous flow of life, his sexual activity, his talks with everyone, his café life, his conversations with people in the street, which I once considered an interruption to writing, I now believe to be a quality which distinguishes him from other writers. He never writes in cold blood: he is always writing in white heat. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1, 1931-1934

50. As a writer I wanted simply to take all the various expressions of art into writing, and I thought each art must nourish the other, each one can add to the other. And I would take into writing what I learned from dancing, what I learned from music, what I learned from design, what I learned from architecture. – The Artist as a Magician, 1973

Quotes on Success and Recognition

51. I’m also aware that recognition has an important psychological impact which affects a number of people, not just the person being recognized or honored. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

52. They remind me that being given a public forum also gives one an opportunity to exert a positive and constructive influence. – New Orleans Review Interview, 1976

Quotes on Reading

53. It is right that you should read according to your temperament, occupations, hobbies, and vocations. But it is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar, unwilling to explore the unfamiliar. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

54. We should not always read the books blessed by the majority. – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, 1947-1955

55. Through books I discovered everything to be loved, explored, visited, communed with. I was enriched and given all the blueprints to a marvelous life, I was consoled in adversity, I was prepared for both joys and sorrows, I acquired one of the most precious sources of strength of all: an understanding of human beings, insight into their motivations. -The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 7, 1966-1974

Further Reading

If you loved the quotes by Anais Nin, check out the huge collection of writing quotes below. The collection features the best quotes by some of the most famous writers such as Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Anne Frank, and Anne Lamott among many more.

The quotes are full of valuable advice for any aspiring writer.

If you are struggling to create a business around your writing and need some encouragement, read the quotes below.

  • Sources Cited for Anais Nin’s Quotes

A Woman Speaks (1975) A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars and Interviews of Anais Nin

The Artist as a Magician (1973) Anais Nin Commencement Address

The Diary of Anais Nin The Diary of Anais Nin 7 Book Series

New Orleans Review Interview (1976) Link In the Chain of Feeling.