I found a glorious Allen Ginsberg quote today and I thought about what he said about following your inner moonlight. This is what I am always encouraging my writers to do. I want them to sing their own song, to dance their own dance, to throw open the gate and gallop off across the plains. I sometimes think this is the single most transformative idea in anybody’s writing life.

When you get stuck, in writing, it is because you are afraid. All of that stuckness, that reluctance, that horrible feeling of having nothing to say comes from fear. The fear is a version of this: I shall be judged, and I shall be found wanting.

The beautiful thing is that you can teach yourself to get out of that Realm of Judgment. The even more beautiful thing is that it’s a gloriously easy habit to build. You simply sit down every day, set a timer for five or ten minutes, pick a word or a phrase, and write the hell out of that until the bing goes. You don’t stop and worry about your grammar. You don’t think what your Cousin Betty will say. You don’t, whatever you do, remember that stern English teacher who told you that you would never truly understand the semi-colon.

You just go. 

You write for the feel of the pen on the page or the fingers on the keyboard, for the mystery and might of words, for the liberating delight of expressing whatever is in your wonderful, goofy, idiosyncratic head. 

You write to be heard. (To be seen, to exist in the world, to make your mark.) What you think does matter. The stories you have to tell do mean something. There is nobody like you in the entire world, and you have something to say. 

You write for fun, for defiance, for delirium. You write because nobody can stop you.

The most important part of this kind of writing is to keep it private. You must make a solemn vow to yourself that it will never be seen. In that way, you are truly free from the Realm of Judgment. That’s the habit you are going to create, and it is one of the most precious gifts you can ever give yourself.

That’s your inner moonlight, right there. Let it gleam.