So you want to be a writer?

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Charles Bukowski

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9 Comments

Filed under Art, Fiction, Inspirational, Poetry, Writing

9 responses to “So you want to be a writer?

  1. Well, I’ve reached that point now where I’ve started recognising certain poems and bits of lit. This one from Charles B stuck with me because it seems to be reflective of a tendency to use poetry as a means to teach poetry, or to define what poetry and writing is/should be. I must start making notes when I find them coz I rather dislike generalising. Anyhow I’m rambling now. Just something I saw out of the corner of my eye and wondering if you saw it too.

    Yes, awesome comment Brad, I agree.

    Like

  2. sandybarker

    wow…at first I thought that was you. It sounds like you. It describes you, as you are now, bursting with sunshine.

    Really? Cool

    Like

  3. Gosh every now and then I need to hear this gem…this was the perfect time for it, thanks! 🙂

    You’re welcome! 😉

    Like

  4. Chucky! Icon of passionate pontification.

    He he he.

    Like

  5. Kim

    perspective check. gut check. check.

    Ha! Great comment!

    Like

  6. thezeninyou

    Wow. Wow. Wow. 2 weeks ago I sat at my computer and “dumped.” I could not stop typing. I have 30 pages and feel such desire to keep going. I would not consider myself a writer. At all. I have never done this before. But something inside me (that I can’t begin to explain) says to keep going. Huh! Then I come here and read this… If the universe is trying to give me a message…I think I got it.

    I love serendipity. Thanks for stopping by Caroline
    🙂

    Like

  7. That certainly seems to describe what I know of you. Huh, maybe I am a bit of a writer and not just a rambler. I think though, I will settle just for the rambling part.
    Can’t use it to get women into bed, gee, I hadn’t even thought of that one.
    Hope all is well with you my friend
    Bill

    Bill! I love it when you drop in 🙂 Yes, I’m well. And you? x

    Like

  8. Grace

    Hummmmm, interesting perspective on writing. One I’d never read before. I think I like it 🙂 Thanks!

    I think I like it too. Not sure that only some ‘have it’, I’m still pondering that one…

    Like

  9. Well, of course you know I love this man. Brought me back to life with this piece. Found on the very first page of “Sifting through the madness for the word, the line, the way”. Awesome. kim

    Like

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