Skip to main content

Writing Perspectives: "So You Want to Be a Writer"

Charles Bukowski's poem, "So You Want to Be a Writer," doesn't exactly fall under the category of inspiration. Yet it's a piece that writers will likely identify with, struggle with, and perhaps eventually embrace. Bukowski doesn't mince words. His poem is sharp, caustic, merciless. All that, and yet it manages to get down to the nitty gritty of what it means to be a writer.  

Bukowski himself was a published author by his 20s, but dropped writing shortly thereafter. He spent the next 20 years working a string of dead-end jobs around the country, eventually settling into a position at a Los Angeles post office. Bukowski claims he returned to writing the day he quit his job with the U.S. Postal Service.  He was prolific during his writing years, publishing more than 40 books. What impulse drove him to write, and what kept him silent for so long? Perhaps this poem offers a bit of insight. If nothing else, it begs the reader to question the strength and the source of his motivation to write.
Bukowski

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

My review of BvS: Dawn of Justice

First, let me say how hyped I was for this movie. I was nuts over it.
These characters are my childhood, shit, my adulthood, more so than any other heroes.
I was so excited that for the last month I was avoiding everything about it online and Tv; of course, you can't dodge it all, but I did my best.
I was even taking the time to workout beforehand all the things I didn't understand, like or agree with, based on the trailers I'd seen (before going Dark) and telling all my friends my ideas as a way to counteract all the negative talk already circling the drain—and this was before the actual first reviews came out.
I was supposed to see the movie with one of my best friends, a Die-In-the-Cape Superman aficionado, who like me, also enjoyed Man of Steel. But I'm glad I didn't see it with him, because he was loosing faith early on, despite all my theories and how I fervently denounced hater trash-talking—mostly cause many weren't fans of the genre or didn&…

Finally, my review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This is going to be a stream of thought, rather than a planned out, book-report style review. I hope to cover several points, but, if I miss or neglect some, I'm sure you won't care—you've already read far too many reviews of this movie anyway. So, does it really matter that yet another unknown is throwing his Two Cents into the wind for whoever to read? I didn't think so. And, to further the point, the next time something like Star Wars gets placed in my lap, maybe then I'll have real room to critique. This is just for fun and because I'm a geek. For me, blogging about this stuff is the next best thing to sitting around with friends and going over and over all the little details for hours on end. I mean, I'd like to stay married. :)

Ok, first things first: I enjoyed this movie. To me, it was a solid B (reasons to follow) I enjoyed the return to Old Movie Magic. I enjoyed the equal mix of CGI and FX and Costumes and Settings and all that jazz. It was good.…

My review of Justice League

So, if you read my review of BvS: Dawn of Justice, and you follow me on FB and Twitter, you're likely surprised I even saw this movie. Me too. But, it just so happens an opportunity fell into my lap and so I decided to check it out.

No, this isn't at all the JL I'd hoped for, but it's what we got.

First, as I did with BvS I'll jump right in and say IT ISN'T TERRIBLE!!!!!!! (unlike BvS)
Ok, Now, let's rate it:
Overall, it's between a 6ish and 7, depending on what you think are the pros and cons, which we'll get to. (Again, I rated BvS a 3.5 to 5, so much improvement)



The plot is kinda straight forward and so I won't really much comment, though, the gathering of the team was weak. To be fair, really, the first half of the movie was bad to not very good—it was really  simple, worse than childlike in it's reasoning: "Hey guys, lets make a team to save the world" and so, we'll cover each teammate in turn because that took up a…