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So You Want To Be A Writer


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In the poem “So You Want To Be A Writer?” Charles Bukowski defines passion in terms of how the writer to be feels inside, the actions they take, the struggles they meet and their reasons for undertaking a writing job.

Charles, the author, is full of advice for the beginner writer. He is concerned with the ‘why’, of the beginner’s decision. He goes on to advice that writing is something that should find you, something that you decide to put your all in and despite the difficulties, it’s all you dream of doing. ‘If you have to sit at your computer for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your type writer searching for words don’t do it’ In this statement the writer advice the beginner to be observant of the person they are. If the words don’t flow naturally out of them, then why endure all the pain just to be a writer. A writer that begins to struggle with words is no writer at all. A writer that begins a struggle with the basics is bound for failure.

Charles continues to be concerned about the reasons why the beginner wants to take up writing in the first place. He is concerned if it is for money, for fame, for women or for any other material gain and advice them not to start for the sake of those reasons. He wants them to write for satisfaction and fulfillment and to satisfy a desire that has been in them for as long as they can remember.

The author addresses their struggles, ‘If you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, if its hard work just thinking about doing it, if you are trying to write like someone else, forget about it.’  The author is not talking about things that are non-existent; all of the mentioned are real struggles, experienced by real people. It is true that even the real writers experience writers block from time to time but when the beginner is not able to be creative all the time, then there is a problem and should consider other avenues to explore. The author also explores the issue of gratification sought from others. ‘If you have to first read to your wife, or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your parents or anybody at all, you’re not ready.’ The writer warns about seeking content and gratification from people. It is true that this people may be the most important in their life but when it comes down to the desire you have, only the writer to be matters. No amount of ‘you can do it’, ‘you are the best’ will ever be sufficient if the confidence does not come from beneath. The author complains of the thousands of books in print that were done by people for different reasons that ‘are putting libraries all over the world to sleep’. What use is a written work that people cannot enjoy? It is true that not everyone can be Shakespeare but then again why write something half baked, something without your soul in it?

Charles speaks for the reader that has to go through books and wonder why they were printed in the first place. He speaks to the beginner and wants them to write from the soul, to be so in to it so that it is like insanity, to write like they have no other chance, like they are going to be gone tomorrow or like the sun wont shine if they do it wrong. He speaks for passion and for desires awaiting fulfillment.