Bukowski on Your Writing
Updated: Sep 22
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.
On that Bukowski's note:
Even though he made it to one of the most popular writers of the Beat generation, Bukowski was an alcoholic and - some would say - a loser.
Approach that inner loser in you.
The one you are hating right now, the one sabotaging you, the one who made you read a self-helping blog post.
Wake that sucker up and get to it.
Close this tab and pour out what is screaming in you.