So you want to be a…

I’m finishing up school this month and it’s a doozy. I’m working on answering all those questions in the Creativity post too!

I found this poem and just wanted to share it with all of you.  I think it goes hand in hand with a previous post, Loving ’till it Hurts. Take what you’d like from it.

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.

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3 thoughts on “So you want to be a…

  1. Anonymous says:

    Arghh! This makes 100% sense to me! Brilliant post! It totally validates how I feel about my dancing and the goals I set myself. I’m relatively new and always trying to improve. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t what I want to do with my life, but ultimately it’s the total necessity of dancing that is driving me forward. Couldn’t have said it better. This has really inspired me.

    PS- I finish school tomorrow! Terrifying!

  2. artboyusa says:

    Hey new CSULB student, as long as you’re quoting Bukowski, DYK that he & CSULB Poetry prof Gerry Locklin were big buds? The Library’s Special Collections has a set of letters from CB to GL, you should go read sometime.

    Funny stuff like Bukowski driving down 7th street at midnight wondering if he should pop into the campus and see if Locklin was in. Lots of margin doodles.

    Locklin retired a couple years ago… but I still see him on campus, so he might be teaching the occasional class…

  3. artboyusa says:

    PS: Blogging rocks! I’m so glad you’re doing this! It’s such a great way to refine your thoughts on things and become able to articulate your ideas.

    I do love the wiki, but if we had a small class, I think blogs would probably be even better. With 200+ we’re lucky to be able to make the wiki work! 😛

    Both, I think are richer than the “fluorescent lit rooms” of LMS’s (Learning Management Systems, aka, “BeachBoard” — which is actually pretty good, but I like the openness of web2.0 tools more…

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