Charles Bukowski’s 20 Quotes on Writing

Click the image for 19 more Bukowski's quotes on writing

1. “Do some living and get yourself a typewriter.”

2. “writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.”

3. “He asked, “What makes a man a writer?” “Well,” I said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.”

4. “Writing is something that you don’t know how to do. You sit down and it’s something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It’s beyond me, because you yourself don’t even know if you’re going to be able to. I’m always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I’ll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don’t go up there to write. The typewriter’s up there. If it doesn’t start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.”

5. “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.”

6. “There’s nothing to stop a man from writing unless that man
stops himself. If a man truly desires to write, then he will.
Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him. And the longer
he is held back the stronger he will become, like a mass of rising
water against a dam. There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh
as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire
the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter,
you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it.”

7. “When I begin to doubt my ability to work the word, I simply read another writer and know I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself, to do it right, with power, and force, and delight, and gamble.”

8. “Most people are much better at saying things in letters than in conversation, and some people can write artistic, inventive letters, but when they try a poem or story or novel they become pretentious.”

9. “Hey baby, when I write, I’m the hero of my shit.”

10. “Somebody at one of these places asked me: “What do you do? How do you write, create?” You don’t, I told them. You “don’t try”. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like it’s looks, you make a pet out of it.”

11. “writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”

12. “I write as a function. Without it I would fall ill and die. It’s as much a part of one as the liver or intestine, and just about as glamorous.”

13. “There was nothing glorious about the life of a drinker or the life of a writer.”

14. “There were always men looking for jobs in America. There were always all these usable bodies. And I wanted to be a writer. Almost everybody was a writer. Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer. Of those fifty guys in the room, probably fifteen of them
thought they were writers. Almost everybody used words and could write them down, i.e., almost everybody could be a writer. But most men, fortunately, aren’t writers, or even cab drivers, and some men – many men – unfortunately aren’t anything. ”

15. “There is only one place to write and that is alone at a typewriter. The writer who has to go into the streets is a writer who does not know the streets. . . when you leave your typewriter you leave your machine gun and the rats come pouring through.”

16. “There is a time to stop reading, there is a time to STOP trying to WRITE, there is a time to kick the whole bloated sensation of ART out on its whore-ass.”

17. “not writing is not good but trying to write when you can’t is worse.”

18. “bad writing’s like bad women: there’s just not much you can do about it”

19. “..few writers like other writers’ works. The only time they like them is when they are dead or if they have been for a long time. Writers only like to sniff their own turds. I am one of those. I don’t even like to talk to writers, look at them or worse, listen to them. And the worst is to drink with them, they slobber all over themselves, really look piteous, look like they are searching for the wing of the mother.

I’d rather think about death than about other writers. Far more pleasant.”

20. “There is a problem with writers. If what a writer wrote was published and sold many, many copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold a medium number of copies, the writer thought he was great. If what a writer wrote was published and sold very few copies, the writer thought he was great. If what the writer wrote never was published and he didn’t have enough the money to publish it himself, then he thought he was truly great. The truth, however, was there was very little greatness. It was almost nonexistent, invisible. But you could be sure that the worst writers had the most confidence, the least self-doubt. Anyway, writers were to be avoided, and I tried to avoid them, but it was almost impossible. They hoped for some sort of brotherhood, some kind of togetherness. None of it had anything to do with writing, none of it helped at the typewriter.”

Next: Stephen King’s 20 Quotes on Writing

See also:

Book vs E-book

The Media is dying

In love with an author

 

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About Azevedo

Singular person (ex-child), slightly knowledgeable about movies, books and humour, who lacks the ability to finish what he...

Posted on May 28, 2013, in 20 Quotes, HUMOR, MUSIC, POEMS, QUOTES, WRITING, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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