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.

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.

It was time to share another one of my favorite poems
from a favorite poet. Here’s one I shared earlier.
How did you like it?
What did you think?
Asha Seth

77 thoughts on “So You Want To Be A Writer?

Add yours

  1. I love the poem – the juxtaposition of right and wrong with breaking boundaries and seeming tame – what life’s all about.
    I agree with your post although I think it’s hard not to give so much of yourself when you write – does this count as self-love do you think?
    Also, reading to your husband I am guilty of – reassurance I feel ๐Ÿค”


  2. I love it. It speaks to me so much because writing is so much more to me than sitting hunched over wondering what to write. It has always just come to me. I donโ€™t sit around planning what to write, I just sit down and I write. Itโ€™s why I started a blog. Because I canโ€™t not write.


  3. I loved this one so much ๐Ÿ˜Š. Itโ€™s really inspiring and made my day. Thanks for the post as always Asha ๐Ÿ˜‡


  4. Thanks a ton Asha for sharing the poem.It is truest to every sense of the word it comprises of.When the words truly come rushing out only then perhaps the best writing occurs. Back to connecting after long… hope you are fine.


    1. Yes, Medha, I did miss you. I was wondering where you were about! I love this poem and it’s such a fantastic piece that I couldn’t not share it with readers. It makes me happy to know so many of you loved it too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I missed as much.Had some issues with these electronic gadgets. As they say, they r spoiling us but then canโ€™t do without them either:-).Will be sharing the poem too. Awaiting more from your end and hoping to get the waves from my soul to drown my blogs as well very soonโ€ฆ:-)


    1. The blog seems spectacular with the kind of writings you share. I especially loved the Sylvia Plath wallpaper on your About page.
      Ill be around, don’t you worry. ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Thanks for sharing this poem. It is true, libraries are yawning over books which probably will not find any place in the history of literature. So, what is writing all about, Is it about what you needed to said or about what is needed to be heard? I guess this is debatable.

    For me, it is about writing in the truest form but always leaving the reader with something which will be with them from that time onwards. It is not about giving the readers a direction, but opening gates so that they can ponder over, maybe a bit confused, but excited about the new perspectives which they have learned.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There you said it! For me writing is always about freeing my mind and that may not make much sense to all, but one has got to learn to live with that.
      Thank you for opening your mind here, Deepak. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for sharing this beautiful and apt poem. However, if I may dare, I would like to disagree with two points โ€œIf you have to sit for hours
    staring at your computer screen
    or hunched over your typewriter
    searching for words,
    donโ€™t do it.โ€


    โ€œIf you have to sit there and
    rewrite it again and again,
    donโ€™t do it.โ€

    I am not a published author, I probably donโ€™t qualify as a writer either but I will still do it over and over again, because I have no choice in the matter โ€“ cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We all have different notions of things, and I’m glad that this poem helped you voice out yours. I may not totally agree with every bit of this poem, but I love it nonetheless for the author is just so candid in sharing his most vulnerable thoughts.
      In my humble opinion, writing must inspire us all to do just that. What do you think, Dahlia?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No doubt the poem is written very well, no arguments about that and of course the best writes are the ones that come out smoothly and effortlessly. But we canโ€™t always be that lucky can we? Like Elizabeth Gilbert said (I think) in a TED talk sometimes we just have to show up whether the muse shows up or not ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Marvellous!

    Whatever the poet has written, applies not only to those aspiring to become writers, but it is a piece of advice for everyone out there, dreaming of something, trying to achieve something.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How coincidental can it get, for I was listening to it for the first time only few hours before you had posted this. The poem simply struck some fundamental chord inside me and I just couldn’t stop listening to it again and again. It keeps on coming back to me, even here. Thank you Asha for re-igniting those words here ๐Ÿ™‚ . I suppose you too might have listened to the recital of this poem, if not I suggest you check this out

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quite coincidental, yes. There is truly something sublime in the words and the emotions behind them, and it’s something that has remained with me ever since I first read it some years ago. I’m very delighted to know you like it equally well.
      I have had a go at the recital of it on poemhunter. But I shall check this out too.

      Thank you, G.N.


  9. Asha, you brought a smile on my face and I am so thrilled reading thisโ€ฆ Especially one line seriously made me laugh and I was wondering does really people try that?

    โ€œIf youโ€™re doing it because you want
    women in your bed,
    donโ€™t do it.โ€

    Thanks for such a beautiful poetic prose or vice versa. It helped me to think why am I writing.

    God bless you dear friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!
      The poet had his own views and quite amusing ones, some of them.
      I love his poems. You may want to read Nirvana, Melancholia, What a Writer, Hemingway never did this…
      Few of his best!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So can we have a topic why we write and why we blog… What’s the motive behind our writing… In what mindset we write? And will you be writing Mega for this coming Sunday? Just give an elaborate review and your own thoughtsโ€‹… What do you say? You say Yes and I will let the people in my team know about it…


โ€œI love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.โ€ โ€• James A. Michener

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