What It Takes To Write Well

daniel adlerThere’s something they can’t teach you in an MFA program and that’s how to write with passion. Some people write without it, they learn the tricks, they have fascinating associations and ways with words, they have practiced until they can write page long sentences naturally, but if they don’t have the passion for life, if they are only putting words on paper because they want to be writers then they are nothings.

No, you have to be a writer, and that means feeling people and living through people and knowing their entire existence by glancing at their faces, even if their existence is fabricated, a thought-cloud you build only to let rain on your imagination…

To really write well, you have to appreciate the ebb and flow of life and loneliness and you have to be willing to live the extraordinarily painful or else you will wake up one morning married and balding and find that the love you had is dead and you are too old to find a substitute. That resulting emptiness is a very hard thing to learn later in life. Like the chicken pox it only gets worse the older you are. A true writer learns it early and enjoys that deep sadness and loneliness like walking home in the cold, uncomfortable but bitterly real. When you wish you could fast forward through this part of life. Those moments are some of the best.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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