Bukowski on your writing
…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. 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. From sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way by Charles Bukowski. Copyright © 2003 by the Estate of Charles Bukowski. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. Now, the choices are clear. Absorb the fact that you are supposed to be doing something else in life – something you are good at, not something you think you want to do – and…leave. Simply close the tab and leave this website and the idea that you come to a retreat and change your life and become a writer. Because maybe it’s just and idea that is appealing to you, but you postponed doing it or failed in it for so long that there might be a good reason for it. Leave then. Or realize that your life is too short to dwell on fears and failures and difficulties of starting something new, although you actually crave doing it. If you cannot stop thinking about it every day, it means you have to do it. Think J.K. Rowling and how many times they turned her down. But she was writing. Start writing. Now. Download Habitica or just save that time in your calendar on repeat, and schedule ½ hour of writing every day. It is just half an hour. Yes, you may be thinking. I already scheduled the gym (yes, that’s important) or yoga or meditation or a cooking class or else. But hey, is it important or not? Why are you reading this blog? Half hour a day instead of swiping through dull Insta pics or FB feeds of your pseudo-friends. It would build up to 3.5 hours a week. And if you make it an hour, you’ll get 7 full hours a week. You could write a great short story every week this way. It would build up and we’re talking a book of short stories at the end of this year. Schedule the time every day and pour it out. Even if it’s just a journal, it’ll start to build the muscle. And you have that muscle. It’s just dormant. Like those other ones before you’ve hit the gym. Move that muscle. You will be instantly happier. Promise. PS On that Bukowski note: Even though he made it to one of the probably most popular writers of the Beat generation, Bukowski was an alcoholic and a loser. Approach that inner loser in you. The one you are hating right now, who made you read a self-helping blog post. Wake him up. Let him guide your hand… schedule your first half hour and do it.