( Tuesday, December 26, 2006 )

Bukowski On Writing

I read this recently and loved it. I can't say I'd agree with everything (considering I re-write everything a bajillion times), but still--it made me think. So maybe it'll make you think. Or not. Or maybe yes. Either way.
(Note: This was before blogging ever existed, so I think we're exempt...)

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 On Writing


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that. Now I don't have to feel guilty about having put my story to bed.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

I think that can also be true for a lot of decisions in life. Well, all the important ones. Or, to sum it all up in the words of Oswald Chambers, "If there's doubt, don't."

11:09 PM  

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