So You Want To Be A Writer?

There is so much that steals time from a writer. Work, family, friends, life. They are all important and it is easy to say I’ll write tonight, tomorrow or this weekend. Then when I finally sit down to write there are days when I am overwhelmed and daunted by the blank page. I question my career choice. I doubt my passion. And then I found this poem:

so you want to be a writer?
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
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.
Depressing, right? Well, no. It works like reverse psychology. Every time I read “Don’t do it” everything is my soul cries out “screw you”. I do not write under the perfect circumstances. Sometimes the writing flows, sometimes it doesn’t. I have difficult days and I have brilliant days, but I know I want to do this. I want the struggle. I want the blank page. I want the blinking cursor. I want to write. 

No one will tell me how to do it or what it should be like. It works for me. I am learning. I am growing. I don’t have a tea-toting wife who brings me sarmies between scenes. I fight for every minute I spend writing. But I will keep fighting. I will keep writing until it is ‘truly time’. I will do it. So screw you, Charles. Stephen King said, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” Or I can go all Nike on you and say, “Just do it.”

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg.

 by Mia Botha

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    13 Famous Writers and Their Favourite Drinks

    Many famous writers are as well known for their drinking habits as they are for their writing. Some loved coffee, while others were Writers of Substance (Abuse). We hope you enjoy this list of authors and the alcoholic drinks they enjoyed.

    1. Jack Kerouac 


    American writer: On the Road

    Favourite Drink: Margarita
    Recipe: Ice cubes, crushed ice, margarita salt, lime juice, lime wedge, 1.0 tbsp. powdered sugar, 1.5 oz. tequila, .5 oz. triple sec
    Quote: 'I’m Catholic and I can’t commit suicide, but I plan to drink myself to death.' 

    2. Ernest Hemingway 


    American writer & Nobel Prize-winner: For Whom the Bell TollsOld Man and the SeaDeath in the Afternoon.

    Favourite Drink: Mojito
    Recipe: 1.25 oz. light rum, carbonated water, 1 oz. lime juice, 12 mint pieces, 1.5 oz. sugar syrup
    Quote: 'A man does not exist until he is drunk.' 

    3. Charles Bukowksi 


    Poet laureate of the downtrodden and outcast.

    Favourite Drink: Boilermaker
    Recipe: 12 oz. Beer, 1.5 0z Bourbon.
    Quote: 'I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed but all I could do was to get drunk again.' 

    4. Eugene O’Neill 


    Nobel Laureate playwright

    Favourite Drink: Gibson
    Recipe: .5 oz. dry vermouth, 2.0 oz. vodka
    Quote: 'Be always drunken. Nothing else matters: that is the only question.' 

    5. Anne Sexton 


    Pulitzer Prize winner; American poet.

    Favourite Drink: Martini
    Recipe: 2 oz. Gin, 1/4 oz. Dry Vermouth, 1/8 oz. olive brine, 3 green olives (add or remove olives to your taste), small wedge of lemon (optional)
    Quote: 'God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer.' 

    6. Dylan Thomas 


    Welsh poet: Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Favourite Drink: Whiskey
    Recipe: Distilled whiskey
    Quote: 'An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do.' 

    7. Tennessee Williams 


    Pulitzer winning American playwright: A Streetcar Named Desire.

    Favourite Drink: Ramos Fizz
    Recipe: 1 oz. fresh lemon juice, .5 oz. fresh lime juice, 1 egg white, 1 tbsp. sugar, 2 oz. gin, .5 oz. cream
    Quote: 'Mendacity is a system that we live in,' declares Brick. 'Liquor is one way out an' death's the other.'

    8. Oscar Wilde 


    Irish writer: The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    Favourite Drink: Absinthe
    Recipe: Absinthe
    Quote: 'Work is the curse of the drinking class.' 

    9. William S. Burroughs 


    American writer: Famous for Beat Generation; Naked Lunch.

    Favourite Drink: Vodka Coke
    Recipe: 1 oz. vodka, 4 oz. coke
    Quote: 'Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use any other drug with special horror.' 

    10. F. Scott Fitzgerald 


    American writer: The Great Gatsby.

    Favourite Drink: Gin Rickey
    Recipe: 2 oz. gin, .75 oz. lime juice, top with club soda
    Quote: 'First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.' 

    11. William Faulkner 


    Nobel Prize-winning American writer: As I Lay Dying.

    Favourite Drink: Mint Julep
    Recipe: 7 sprigs of mint, .5 oz. simple syrup, 3 oz. bourbon
    Quote: 'Civilization begins with distillation.' 

    12. Jack London 


    American writer: Call of the WildWhite Fang.

    Favourite Drink: Martini
    Recipe: 2 oz. Gin, 1/4 oz. Dry Vermouth, 1/8 oz. olive brine, 3 green olives (add or remove olives to your taste), small wedge of lemon (optional)
    Quote: 'It was not long until I prefaced the beginning of the thousand words with a drink.' 

    13. Dorothy Parker 


    American 20th century poet.

    Favourite Drink: Martini
    Recipe: 2 oz. Gin, 1/4 oz. Dry Vermouth, 1/8 oz. olive brine, 3 green olives (add or remove olives to your taste), small wedge of lemon (optional)
    Quote: 'I love to drink Martinis, two at the very most, three I’m under the table, four I’m under the host.' 

    Source for drinks: An Unrestrained Engagement of Literature 

     by Amanda Patterson. Follow her  Pinterest,  Facebook,   Google+,   Tumblr  and  Twitter.  

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    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate


    Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.