poet Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

#18 on top 500 poets

So 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 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.

Topic(s) of this poem: poetry

Poem Submitted: Monday, March 23, 2015
Poem Edited: Monday, March 23, 2015

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Comments about So You Want To Be A Writer by Charles Bukowski

  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (3/7/2020 6:51:00 AM)

    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.. it is easy to say all these. but when you write it is not easy. sometimes even painful. tony

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  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (10/28/2019 8:57:00 PM)

    Some sound advice for a would-be writer. There are certain signs that the person lacks talent to be a writer: having to revise again and again, sitting at the computer without writing much, trying to imitate another writer, or wanting to make money or be famous. These signs are fair enough and could save someone endless hours of trouble and disappointment. He thinks that the words have to come out spontaneously. effortlessly for a true writer.

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  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (3/8/2019 12:24:00 PM)

    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... very good ideas. tony

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    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Joline Melanson (12/28/2016 9:20:00 PM)

    I am, but I have no pen.
    I will, but I am not ready yet.
    I like them in my head.
    When I am no longer selfish, I will write.
    I have nothing to prove.
    Until then, I will read.
    Thank you

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    0 person did not like.
  • Tapan M. SarenTapan M. Saren (5/17/2016 10:45:00 AM)

    Yep! I like this. Better writing

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    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Jasmine Black (11/23/2015 4:47:00 PM)

    Wow. Well said dude. That was truly touching.

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    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Souren MondalSouren Mondal (9/27/2015 9:17:00 AM)

    The more I read I read this man, the more I feel amused, stupefied, and a hint of crazy.. This man was a sheer genius...

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    Pen AnthonyPen Anthony(12/18/2016 9:51:00 PM)

    9th poem in and I'm thinking buk was a genius

    Jasmin ChuicaJasmin Chuica(12/13/2016 11:24:00 AM)

    Honestly, Same. You never expect what comes in his poetry.

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Mia NoirMia Noir (8/5/2015 12:13:00 AM)

    This is by far one of my favorite poems.His passion just bleeds through these words.

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    6 person liked.
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