Generally, you’ll be a writer because you do not want to be anything else. You are as driven to write as you are driven to breathe.

Charles Bukowski, a poet first published in the 1940s, said this about writing. (He didn’t believe in using Capital Letters.)

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,
(to get their approval) 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.

So you’ve realised you do have the passion. And now you want to make money at it? What’s writing for a living like?

Firstly, you can live and work anywhere. You don’t have to arise before dawn to commute in the rain and slurp coffee so you’re at your desk before eight am. While you do need discipline to make it as a writer, you can still choose when to work, as there are few days when you actually have to BE some place. Unless you’ve chosen to do magazine journalism with set interviews, and fixed deadlines.

Time flexibility is one of the big advantages of earning as you write. Secondly, you don’t have to quit your old job until you’ve got a steady income from your pen / computer. Transition quietly.

You might not write seven books and make a billion dollars in royalties, like JK Rowling, but then just a few years ago, no-one had ever heard of her, or her characters. So what if they haven’t heard of you yet? Say “They will.”

If you choose to write fiction, you’ll create your own world, where all is as nice or as nasty as you wish. You can imagine it just the way you want it.

Travel writers and bloggers about life write a lot of ‘facts’ – but it’s a fact that all reported facts are coloured by their reporter. You’ll put your own spin on life, and the more unique is your view, the faster you’ll become well known.

It’s a wonderful way to spend your time. More likely than not someone, somewhere, has read your words and been informed, or entertained. Or they will. Your story – fact or fiction – will arouse human emotions, perhaps leaving your reader changed forever in a minor – or major –way.

So write, and let it come out of your soul like a rocket!

Reproduced for educational purposes.