Bukowski On Your Writing

“So you want to be a writer?” asked Bukowski.

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.

Bukowski: So you want to be a writer? For Story Done Inspirational Blog Post

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


Simply close the tab and leave this website.

Or stop reading motivational blog posts, sit down and do what you came for… write.

And 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 a loser.

Approach that inner loser in you. The one you are hating right now, who made you read a self-help blog post.

Wake that sucker up and get to it.

The poem was taken 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.