I've been recently thinking about a poem I read a long time ago, about writing and creativity in general. It's a poem by Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920–March 9, 1994).

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
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
fame,
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
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
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-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
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.

Quite a romantic view of things. I can't say I agree with him though.

Art should be deeply personal. It should reveal the real you. Your fears, your dreams, your fury, your madness; it should show everyone the darkness inside of you. There's enough boring stuff out there.

Getting it out should terrify you, I think. It should make you want to crawl back into nothingness and never again come out from it. It should make you sick and dizzy and sad, and a little lighter, eventually.

It should not be easy. It should not come out of you willingly. It should claw and wail on its way out. It should make you lose your breath and whish you never started pulling on it.

In the The War of Art, Steven Pressfield refers to this as "Resistance".

I would tell you all you want to know and more, if the things I write could be what you read.

Sometimes though, you feel this need deep inside of you. You feel the call of the purple passenger. You feel its need to get out.

So you get up from your bed at 2 AM, a Monday morning. So you try to let it out into the world, where it wants to be; do it justice.

Does the fact that it wakes you up mean anything? Is it coming out of you roaring? Is it doing it by itself? Does this make me wrong?