Sunday, June 19, 2011

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 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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