Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
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
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
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-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
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.

Thanks to Alonzo Rumfelt, AKA  @homericgeek on Twitter, for showing me this piece. Huzzah! And be a writer.  You can read his blog here: Homeric Geek

Related Madness: 

Are you a writer? Here's the test ... Courtesy of Jurgen Wolffe at Time to Write


  1. Hey,
    I'm old now which doesn't mean much but one thing I do know is pain. I was a physician for 30 years. The most important aspect of working with people was knowing that pain was relative. Each patient I saw had their own pain that made them special.
    While I agree with Homeric, I also find in my years that what is gut wrenching is relative. I don't see the reason for tromping on someones dream to make a point.

  2. Bukowski has another way of writing, very blunt and amusing. From his books, it seemed like he'd get drunk every night then see in the morning what he'd written :) Great advice.


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