The Wordsmythe's Weblog…

…On Words, Love and Life

So you want to be a writer?

I stumbled across this poem while reading something else online. I’m not sure I wholly agree with everything the writer said but I can appreciate what he means.

What do you think?

So you want to be a writer? by 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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4 thoughts on “So you want to be a writer?

  1. I agree with parts of this, such as, “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.”

    My definition of a writer is someone who has a passion for writing, and someone who has that ‘unique story’ to write. I agree that a writer should not seek to be like others, yet, even in the world of the writing business, there are role-models whom new writers should be looking up to.

    There are many false statements in the poem, like you rightly recognized.

  2. Hi Jaycee,

    I guess we just have to pick what we agree with and disregard the rest. Each person is entitled to his or her opinion.
    The important thing is if you want to be a writer, write. Whether it is roaring out or slithering out cautiously and tentatively, write.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hmmm. There are a lot of writers who in essence, have nothing to say. Then again, there are those writers who have left so much unsaid. And the world is waiting to read their work, with bated breath too. What say you friend?

  4. The Wordsmythe on said:

    Joxy, I say such writers who have left much unsaid and who are keeping the world waiting with bated breath had better get off whatever part of their anatomy and write.

I'd love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment.

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