12:30 pm EDT, June 25, 2015

7 tips about writing and life from Joss Whedon

The best way to celebrate Joss Whedon of Avengers and Buffy fame is by sharing a few of his best quotes.

Related: What Joss Whedon should do next: A superfan’s wishlist

What better way to honor a writer than by listing his best quotes? Below are seven of Whedon’s most timeless quotes about writing and life:

‘I write to give myself strength.’

Joss Whedon quote I write 2

This is perhaps Joss Whedon’s most powerful quote about writing. And we’re sure the writers in the crowd can relate to some of Whedon’s reasons for doing what he does.

So if you’re struggling with your own work, perhaps this will inspire you.

Or maybe it will challenge you: make you question whether the stories you are writing are actually the ones you’d want to read, and if the characters you are creating are actually the ones that would inspire you.

‘You are going to change the world.’

Joss Whedon quote change the world

This quote is particularly poignant. Like each individual snowflake in a blizzard, it sometimes seems like our lives are utterly insignificant.

And of course, when you’re Joss Whedon, you kind of know you’re influencing the world in a big way, but this quote isn’t for people like Joss Whedon. It’s for those who feel invisible, unappreciated, and alone.

It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do in life. In fact, the only thing that matters is that you’re here, that you take up space, that you move and breathe and talk and smile. You’re significant. Your actions matter, no matter how many people know your name.

Think back to 100 years ago. If your ancestor had done one thing different, you might not have existed. Hell, you might not have existed if that person sitting next to your ancestor on the train hadn’t been sitting there. Same goes for you, right now.

Ultimately, your existence is just as important as anyone else’s. Just as permanent, just as fleeting. That’s reassuring, right?

‘If you have a good idea, get it out there.’

Joss Whedon Quote Make

The “multiple discovery” theory is based on the fact that throughout history, huge developments have happened simultaneously across the world, seemingly completely without connection.

In other words, when you have a good idea, someone else is probably having that very same idea, too. Due to our similar cultural influences, maybe, or because various deities are treating us like horses in a race, shooting ideas down into our tiny brains and placing their bets on who will act on them first.

So don’t hesitate. Don’t wait until it’s perfect, because spoiler alert, it never will be. Write. Create. Make. And then improve, or move on, and keep going.

And remember: you will only get better once you get started.

‘If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.’


This quote is from Joss Whedon’s Buffy spin-off Angel, and is said by the titular character in the season 2 episode “Epiphany.”

The episode was written by Tim Minear, and the quote is actually his creation. The reason I want to associate it with Whedon in this article is that, even if Angel’s line did not come directly from Whedon himself, it very astutely sums up everything he writes.

(Edit: I reached out to Tim and discovered that yes, he did write the quote, despite Whedon having previously associated it with his worldview. I’m truly sorry for the confusion. Graphic and text have been amended. I’m keeping the quote in here, cause it’s a damn good one.)

Related: Quiz: Are you more like Buffy Summers or Cordelia Chase?

Ultimately life is a messy business, and the only guarantee is that one day you will die, and every thought you ever had will evaporate.

That’s kind of depressing. But it’s also freeing, in a way, because if this life is really all we get, our only responsibility is to make the most of it. This has been a common theme in all of Whedon’s shows, from Buffy’s tearful realization that she alone could save the world in Buffy season 1, to Echo’s bittersweet acceptance of her fate in the Dollhouse finale.

It’s nice to know that when our time comes, we can rest knowing that the world will keep turning without us. All we have to do is work to make sure the ripples our pebble leaves after it is dropped into the ocean of time rock as many boats as possible (in a good way, of course).

Page 2: Joss Whedon on strong female characters, and why life doesn’t suck

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