so you want to be a writer?

Charles Bukowski
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.
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3 thoughts on “so you want to be a writer?

  1. Have you read “The War of Art” http://www.stevenpressfield.com/the-war-of-art/
    I think it’s meant for you.

  2. cooper says:

    It’s hard to right if you don’t have anything to say or a need to say it. It helps things along if you, the writer, have a passion to inform and attempt to make the world a more understanding and compassionate place. A good sized ego and a lack of fear to be fenced, criticized or defined by boundaries is considered an asset by some.
    Reading the war of words between Mailer and Wolfe, writers diametrically opposed in defining what a writer is, or should be, shows the true character of great writers I.e. they are never wrong.

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