- by Charles Bukowski 

So You Want to Be a Writer?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:


Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 - March 9, 1994), was a German Americanpoet, novelist and short story writer. Bukowski's writing was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles, and is marked by an emphasis on the ordinary lives of marginalized poor American Whites, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, the drudgery of work, and horseracing. A prolific author, Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories, and six novels, eventually having over 60 books in print. He is often remembered as "The Poet Laureate of Skid Row". For more information about him, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.


Words by Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 1083 times
Written on 2009-02-11 at 03:25

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I understand this completely: I only ever write "poetry" because I have to.

It's a pity the quality of my writing isn't good enough to do justice to the things that want to be written, but I do feel a certain sense of relief at having gotten them out of my system.

The thing I don't understand is why it is necessary for me to publish my words before the relief comes. I think it's a secret hope that someone else might actually find some value in them. Are there any real poets out there that might have a better explanation?

night soul woman The PoetBay support member heart!
A very interesting poem ! It makes you think . . . because sometimes we become the opossite of our fears but is that the answer? Will that proven to be the "cure" or the recipe of success?

I believe that experience of being a writer is like a journey of exploration and discovery. What can I be? What do I want to convey with my words? How can I reach my reader, do I want to reach and be understood by all my readers?

What is my literaly heritage and do I want to copy the "Masters of poetry" or do I want to master the language and experiment or improve the already given different types of writing?

It is possible that by being spontaneous one can discover the hidden potential within one's self and probably manage to go beyond the self made limitations.

Aaah a very good poem but I better stop now:)

i get where he's coming from...glad that none of it really applies to me...but i agree from times when i have tried to force it and it worked but was work or was worse work that didn't really workwork.

read 'hollywood' the other day....'funny ol' fucker' seems apt.

You really have to read all of Charles Bukowski's work - he is an incredible poet he had a unique humour - one of my favourite poets

Elle x

Kathy Lockhart
As Nike says, "Just Do It!"

When I birthed the most beautiful poems of my life (my children) and watched their most beautiful poems (their children/my grandchildren) be born there was labour and then lots of pushing. Maybe for some poetry is born in the same way. While, at the same time, for some it may just flow like a river or come raging like a hurricane. However it comes, let it come. : )

jenks The PoetBay support member heart!
gosh how garrulous!