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"so you want to be a writer?' A poem by Charles Bukowski, 1920-1994


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 wantwomen 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.

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