Charles Bukowski: So You Want To Be A Writer

mjc-Bukowski Wo 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 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, So You Want To Be A Writer (don’t do it)

This text and break up taken from All Poetry.

EXTRA: Charles Bukowski on Going to Bed for Three Days As a Way to Combat Depression

ORDERS: Spend this weekend in bed with Charles Bukowski. Mine his stuff on AllPoetry.Com or PoetryFoundation.Org. It doesn’t matter what you read. How much. How little. Taste him.

And then, on Sunday night, naked—and maybe, just a little drunk—write for 10 minutes of what you would talk about if you had four hours in a hotel room with “the laureate of American low life.”

And tell me how it went? I want to know.

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.

 

About mjanecolette

Writer. Reader. Angster. Reformed Bohemian (not). Author of the erotic romance Tell Me, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) Consequences (of defensive adultery), and the rom-com (she's versatile) Cherry Pie Cure, as well as the non-fiction collection of essays Rough Draft Confessions: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside inside anyway. Coming in 2018: Text Me, Cupid, a steamy romance in four episodes. Current WiPs: Queer Christmas in Cowtown, Jewel of the Not-So-Spectacular Boobs, All In the Cards, and Un-Valentine. Yes, working on four projects simultaneously is a spectacularly bad idea.

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