Dreams and Writing

Dreams are a portal into our deeper selves. Do you ever notice that some of your best ideas come to you when you are most relaxed? When you are daydreaming, or in that half-awake or awakening part of the morning? This is the most fertile time of our imaginations. How can we use this time and our dreams to fuel our creativity and our writing?

1. Keep pen and paper next to your bed. When great ideas strike at odd times in the middle of the night, you THINK you will remember them, but you probably won’t. Write them down.
2. Keep a dream journal. Highlight concrete nouns and active verbs. At the end of the dream, write how you felt. Writing your feelings will help you figure out your dreams. For instance, if you lost your car or purse in your dream, those items might not be a literal car and purse to you. But they could be your dream symbols and mean something special to you. In my dreams, they mean losing a bit of myself.
Then I ask myself, what in life now am I doing that makes me feel lost? How can I find control again?
For me, it may mean I need to work on fewer writing projects, or saying “no” to a busy schedule.
If you don’t know what your dream symbols mean, you may come to discover what they mean the more you dream.
3. Before you go to sleep at night, write down a dream intention. “Tonight I will find dream about what my character needs to do in the story I am writing and I will remember it.”
Dream intentions take practice. Sometimes the intention must be repeated again and again. (For me, it can take up to three nights of “good sleep” to get an answer.) If you are a beginning dreamer, don’t despair if this technique is confusing at first. It will work the longer you journal your dreams.
4. Join a dream group or have a dream partner so that you can share your dreams together.
5. Read about dreams.
A good basic book about dreams is The Dream Book by Betty Bethards. My favorite dream books are Conscious Dreaming and The Three Only Things both by Robert Moss. My favorite book on dream symbols is The Encyclopedia of Symbolism by Kevin J. Todeschi which might not be in print any more, but probably can be purchased used on Amazon.


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