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Don't Write


Here's some advice:

If you put a DVD in a microwave you can create a freak lightning storm on a miniature scale, but it's a little scary, it smells bad, and you'll never be able to watch that copy of the Wizard of Oz, again. 

Also, you might blow up your microwave. 

In conclusion: Don't microwave your DVDs and CDs and Blu-rays unless you're willing to make some sacrifices for the sake of science. 

Here's some more advice:


Don’t do it crammed between people on the bus on your way to work.

Don't scrawl notes to yourself in a pocket notebook.

Don’t do it, rushed, during your lunch break.

Don't do it between bites of your food, staring at your cell phone.

Don't desperately ask the man sitting next to you on the bus for a pen or a pencil.

Don't use your eyeliner or your lip liner and the back of a receipt to jostle words.

Don't repeat a line over and over until you can find somewhere to cement it so that it can set and dry.

Don’t do it late at night, when you can’t sleep.

Don’t write.

Don’t scribble notes on a napkin. Don't do it on your arm.

Don’t write about the things you see.

Don't write about the things you smell.

Don't write about the things you hear, touch, taste, but especially don't write about the things you feel. And if you do happen to write? If by some unforeseen circumstance or some grave misfortune you've somehow come face to face with the task of writing and there is no escape and there is no way out and you can't turn and run and most probably somebody's put a gun to your head and you HAVE to do it—if you HAVE to do it—don’t you dare do it honestly.

Don’t do it brutally or candidly.

Don’t tell people the truth.

Don’t give it to them raw and uncut. 


Don’t write.

Listen! Regardless of age or race or creed or background or culture, YOU ARE SUSCEPTIBLE. There are dealers lurking around every corner and so-called-friends with ulterior motives and librarians in funny eyeglasses who wear red lipstick out there, right now—

I heard there was a guy in New York who once started writing. One day, he picked up a pen and started putting words to paper and the next day he was well on his way to becoming a writer and a month after that he was skin and bones and words became more important to him than family or friends or even his own health and he would do anything to sate the uncontrollable, ravenous craving for more! He started reading dictionaries and flipping through thesauruses and learning to rhyme. A year later, he was helpless and isolated and ashamed: He'd pushed away everybody he knew and he'd holed himself up inside some dark room and he would spend hours mindlessly pounding away at his keyboard. 

If you are worried about your own desire to write or a loved one's desire to write, don't be afraid to tell a trusted peer or the authorities. Definitely alert the authorities! It only takes one time! It only takes one time and you can be addicted, forever, just like that. Just like a light switch that was off suddenly flipped on inside your head and then you can't stop yourself. You're consumed. It becomes as important as eating or drinking or breathing:

Don't write!

Don’t pick up the pen; don’t pick up the habit of picking up the pen.

Don’t press pen to paper and create anything, at all, not even a drawing, not even a doodle, not even a dot, but most especially: Don’t write.

Don’t invest in pens and pencils like drug paraphernalia you keep on-hand just in case you need another hit, another fix, another emotional selfie of how you feel in this very instant and how it relates to everybody else.

Don't relate to people.

Don't scramble for understanding.

Don’t scramble for a piece of paper to write on like you dropped a crack rock in the floorboard and need to stuff it back in your crack pipe, light it, and feel better.

Don’t use it as a crutch.

Don’t use it as an escape.

Don’t use it as a support group.

Don’t use it to pass the time.

Don’t use it to purge.

Don’t use it as a method to figure out how you work inside.

Don’t use it as a tool to try to understand the world.

Don’t use it to get out of your own wretched skin.

God, you hate yourself, don’t you?

Don’t leave yourself behind to be part of other worlds.

Don’t do it a little at a time, and a little at a time, like stepping up to the edge of a cliff and teetering there for years until you finally fall into the abyss and the nothingness, and the never-endingness of it all, the untamable sentences, the confounding mixtures of words on words on words, the ever-evolving torrential downpour, the static of creation.

Don't be a God.

Don't write.

Don’t use it as a flashlight on a dark path to light the way ahead.

Don’t use it to remind yourself what you need at the grocery store.

Don’t use it to remind yourself to be kind.

Don’t write on sticky notes and post them to your mirror to remind yourself that you're okay, that you're beautiful, that you're loved.

Don’t remind yourself you’re okay.

Don’t write.

Don't write love notes.

Don't write love notes to other people.

Don’t write love notes to yourself.

Don’t send it in a letter; don't put it in a poem; don't scribble it in a sonnet; don't express it with a text message; don’t write eulogies or epitaphs; don't write odysseys; don’t use it as a glue to hold yourself together.

I’m begging you: PLEASE don’t write.

Don’t write!

If you have the CHOICE, don’t write. If you get to CHOOSE between the slavery of WRITING and the freedom of EXISTING without the shackles of WORDS, don't write!

Don’t do it, if it hasn’t been forced on you. If you weren't born into it or captured on the coast of some beach and dragged into a ship and sold into it.

Don’t do it if you weren’t held down and forced to write.

Don't do it if you weren't tied to a chair and backhanded and threatened and told that they'd take everything from you: Your money, your house, your family, your dog, your car, your dignity, your self-respect, your ability to function as a normal person. Even then, even THEN, scream at them: "Writing will take that all from me, anyway, you bastards, so take me, now, where it'll be quick and it'll be done; kill me!"

Don't write unless you have nothing left to lose.

Don’t write unless you can’t breathe without writing.

Don’t write unless you need to; even then, try not to write.

Don’t seek solace in words.

Don’t try to find meaning in them.

Don’t let it become a compulsion. Don’t let it become your life.

Don’t tell your friends you write.

Don’t tell your relatives. They’ll just think it’s weird, and if they don’t think it’s weird, they’ll think they’re a critic. They'll shoot you down or they'll politely nod their head and, with tight-lipped chagrin, say, "That's wonderful, dear," and try to change the subject to something much more pleasant than writing, as if it's a nasty topic like sex or drugs or murder or worse: Whatever's worse than murder.

They’ll want to give you helpful advice.

They’ll tell you it’s easy to write. They’ll say they could write a book, if only they had the time, like writing isn’t its own work, like it’s not a labor of passion, like it’s not painful, and like their time spent doing whatever it is they do is being spent so much better than your time spent writing. As if you have all the time in the world and you're choosing to do nothing with it, as they've made better choices than you, condescending. They'll treat you with condescension; they'll treat you with disbelief; they may laugh at you behind your back; they may disregard you as unimportant.

They’ll ask if you’ve been published. They’ll ask if you were published in anything they’ve heard of. They’ll say, "Well, you’re no J. K. Rowling."

Don’t write.

Don’t eat, sleep, and breathe writing.

Don't run out of breath and reach for your pen like it's an inhaler for an asthma attack.

Don't medicate yourself.

Don’t write; don’t get good at it, for sure, then they might WANT you to write. And, then, by God, you might slip and fall into being a writer!

Don’t be a writer; don’t write, in the first place, but please, please, please don't be a writer. It's the emotional equivalent of being a circus freak.

Don't make yourself into a circus freak; you'll be ostracized, spat on, alone.

To be a writer you have to be an open book as well as an anatomy teacher. You have to be a spectacle. You have to be an outside observer of the human condition. This means that you'll always be just a little separate from the rest of them; you'll isolate yourself. You will be an isolate. They say no man is an island, but writers aren't people, they're monsters. They're monsters on mountains. If you were to start to write and you happened to slip and fall into the awful, awful, awfulness of being a writer, then you'd be a monster on a mountain. You'd be a Yeti, a Bigfoot, a dragon, a Lucifer, a Jesus Christ, a myth, a target.

You would have to spend hours explaining about all those things that people do; you'd have to give examples.

It's very hard to give good examples as a monster on a mountain because you have so many eyes and so many wiggly appendages that people interrupt you to ask where you got all your eyes from and why your appendages are so god-awful wiggly. You'll have to contend with these types of invasive, prodding questions as you explain the details of your weeks of research as a Mountain Monster, obviously some grotesque that's come from some other planet, or something, some thing that's been warped and twisted by long hours in the dark clacking away at a keyboard trying to—you will have done this to yourself. You will have made yourself into this grotesque and hideous and confounding thing. This marvel, this maniac, this beast.

For all the hours you'll have to spend researching, you may as well go be a rocket scientist or a doctor or a lawyer or a business executive. You’ll get paid better and you’ll definitely have food in your stomach and then people might respect you.

To be a writer, you have to dissect the actions of the people around you, you have to understand and explain and shock and awe, and you have to be entertaining, when you do it, like a court jester with a scalpel dissecting yourself to show them your guts all the while asking them if they understand. To be a good writer you have to be a self-dissecting-nearly-cadaver, keeping yourself alive, by some miracle, you Frankenstein, you freak of nature, you Mountain Monster. You! Barely hanging on, and teaching the world about the delicate rhythms of your insides and showing them how it feels to be mutilated and to let yourself be gut over and over, again, and showing the world that you’ve somehow continued, somehow survived, always on the brink of destruction but feeding them hopes of happy endings!

Don’t give them hope, you liar!

Don’t write!

Don’t you dare!


There’s nothing worse than somebody wanting things from you and calling your skillset a gift and saying you should share it with the world for free as if it’s not a craft. As if you didn't have to climb all the way to the top of your monster mountain to be a Mountain Monster, as if there wasn't any work involved, as if it wasn't grueling and laborious, as if they could very easily be the type of savage, warped thing that you've somehow wrenched yourself into, you Igor.

They see writing everywhere, every day, why would they think it would be anything but natural to anybody? They see it on signs and in magazines, on newspaper stands. So, if you can write, then you should just write and you should just write everything for free, because they see writing all the time, in passing, for free, and it’s just always around, right? They will take advantage of you.

They will take advantage of you: Don’t write.