Home > me, poetry > So, you want to be a writer?

So, you want to be a writer?

This is intended as a note to self.  

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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  1. Chloe
    March 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I just wanted to say that this poem is wonderful! It is so ‘on the button’, really well written with a great message and an excellent flow. Thank you!

    • March 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      Glad you liked it Chloe.

    • March 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      Yep, I like that quote too!

      • March 1, 2010 at 11:20 pm

        Not the quote buddy, did you read the letter?

        • March 2, 2010 at 11:17 am

          Yes, I read the letter too. Notice the first comment on your post – later happened 😉

  2. Thumbelina
    March 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    This will give anyone writer’s block.

    • March 3, 2010 at 2:09 am

      Heh, better writer’s block than writer’s diarrhea, wot?

      • March 3, 2010 at 11:45 am

        amen to that, brother.

  3. Justuju
    March 3, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Mo, When you’re in Africa, I don’t care if it bursts out of you or not, hope you’ll write something about your experiences. Even though I can search and read the most profound essays and stories, it will still be different reading it from a person I know.
    My very subjective opinion,
    Justuju

    • March 4, 2010 at 12:10 am

      I will write! I don’t think I’ll be able to post as often, but I’ll definitely have a journal 🙂

  4. thefob
    March 13, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    And I want to read that journal! 🙂

  5. M
    February 3, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Write only when it comes from within
    Frill it if you want, but fake it not.
    Don’t shy away cause it ain’t perfect
    It is only a means for perfection sought!

    Nice post 🙂

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