So you want be a writer? – Charles 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
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.

-Charles Bukowski

Bukowski, Charles. “1990 Special.”, Academy of American Poets, 24 Mar. 2014,

This is for any artist. This is for me. People have this romantic idea about what art is. Charles Bukowski explains this so fluidly like he does everything else, which is why I go back to his works every now and then. They make me look at things from a different perspective.

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8 thoughts on “So you want be a writer? – Charles Bukowski

  1. It’s wonderfully written, I’m just not sure if all one needs is this raw passion… Many people have these creative needs that need to be met, without being sure what they ought to do. It’s better to stumble and toil away than wait around to suddenly become passionate or for inspiration to strike. I read this book called “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” and most of the artists featured scheduled their work around habits and rituals, usually allotting a few hours every morning to their craft, even when feeling uninspired.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even I do the same for this blog so I write new content every other day (not an easy job when you write about your life) but I agree with him to an extent that a lot of people try to push some art out of themselves, and that doens’t always work out great. It does not have that rawness in it. Yes, we need to meet our artistic needs, but I am one of those people who believe that artists are not made, rather born. So Bukwoski is one of those people I look up to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know people who are very creative and can’t really commit to one passion. The very word “passion” scares them. So while I see them as budding artists, they don’t see themselves as such. I wonder if the secret ingredient is the certainty that your voice matters and that you have something important to say.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that is something I did not actually think about and I agree completly. Also, I followed your instagram account of Artschaft. Let’s talk there? Because I would love to have more conversations with you 🙂


  2. Pingback: So you want be a writer? – Charles Bukowski — Sniffin Poetry – Naked Cities Journal

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