So You Want To Be A Writer?

so you want to be a writer?
Charles Bukowski, 1920 - 1994


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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6 thoughts on “So You Want To Be A Writer?

    • I find that often in life, no one says it better than Mr. Bukowski. I think that’s why I’ve loved him since a friend gave me a beaten up copy of Love Is A Dog From Hell.

      Brutal gladiators we are!

  1. Not another comment needed. It says it all.
    In the book I just wrote, the words screamed and kicked to get out of my brain, they spilled onto the paper like a lava flow from a volcano. Guess that is when you knew you are ready.

  2. It’s so true. I wrote my first book in 1999 and then for years didn’t write much, just puttering thoughts here and there. And then last year, suddenly this torrent of words just flowed out of me and has been doing so ever since. It’s quite stunning and thrilling and I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

    Good luck on your writing adventures. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

    Rock on!

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