Charles Bukowski


So you want to be a Writer?




So You Want To Be A Writer? 

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 – So You Want To Be A Writer?




Charles Bukowski



Henry Charles Bukowski (born Heinrich Karl Bukowski; August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was a German-American poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. Charles Bukowski work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. Bukowski wrote thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories and six novels, eventually publishing over 60 books. The FBI kept a file on him as a result of his column, Notes of a Dirty Old Man, in the LA underground newspaper Open City.  (wikipedia)



Major works




Post Office (1971)
Factotum (1975)
Women (1978)
Ham on Rye (1982)
Hollywood (1989)
Pulp (1994)


Poetry collections



Flower, Fist, and Bestial Wail (1960)
It Catches My Heart in Its Hands (1963)
Crucifix in a Deathhand (1965)
At Terror Street and Agony Way (1968)
Poems Written Before Jumping Out of an 8 story Window (1968)
A Bukowski Sampler (1969)
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (1969)
Fire Station (1970)
Mockingbird Wish Me Luck (1972), ISBN 978-0876851395
Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame: Selected Poems 1955–1973 (1974)
Maybe Tomorrow (1977)
Love Is a Dog from Hell (1977), ISBN 978-0876853634
Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (1979), ISBN 978-0876854389
Dangling in the Tournefortia (1981), ISBN 978-0876855263
War All the Time: Poems 1981–1984 (1984)
You Get So Alone at Times That It Just Makes Sense (1986)
The Roominghouse Madrigals (1988), 978-0876857335
Septuagenarian Stew: Stories & Poems (1990)
People Poems (1991)
The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992), ISBN 978-0876858653
Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories (1996), ISBN 978-1574230024
Bone Palace Ballet (1998)
What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire. (1999)
Open All Night (2000)
The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps (2001)
Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way (2003), ISBN 978-0060527358
The Flash of the Lightning Behind the Mountain (2004)
Slouching Toward Nirvana (2005)
Come on In! (2006)
The People Look Like Flowers at Last (2007)
The Pleasures of the Damned: Selected Poems 1951–1993 (2007), ISBN 978-0061228438
The Continual Condition (2009)
On Writing (2015)
On Cats (2015)
On Love (2016)


Short story chapbooks and collections


Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beasts (1965)
All the Assholes in the World and Mine (1966)
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions, and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (1972) ISBN 978-0-87286-061-2
South of No North (1973), ISBN 978-0876851906
Hot Water Music (1983)
Tales of Ordinary Madness (1983)
The Most Beautiful Woman in Town (1983)
Prying (with Jack Micheline and Catfish McDaris) (1997) ASIN: B000I92IS0
Portions from a Wine-stained Notebook: Short Stories and Essays (2008) ISBN 978-0-87286-492-4.
Absence of the Hero (2010)
More Notes of a Dirty Old Man (2011)
The Bell Tolls For No One (CityLights, 2015 edition)



Nonfiction books


Shakespeare Never Did This (1979); expanded (1995)
The Bukowski/Purdy Letters (1983)
Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters (1993)
Living on Luck: Selected Letters, vol. 2 (1995)
The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998),
Reach for the Sun: Selected Letters, vol. 3 (1999)
Beerspit Night and Cursing: The Correspondense of Charles Bukowski and Sheri Martinelli (2001)
Sunlight here I am: Interviews and encounters, 1963–1993 (2003)
On Writing Edited by Abel Debritto (2015), ISBN 978-0062417404
The Mathematics of the Breath and the Way: On Writers and Writing Edited by David Stephen Calonne (City Lights, 2018)




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