Help for Remembering Your Dreams

Monday, February 26, 2007
You may remember there was a call to share what inspires you to write for our Inspiration column, for our upcoming issue. Carrie sent us a couple of sources that work for her. We will print one as part of Inspiration.

The other we've decided to post here because many say dreams are a source of ideas for creative writing. But not everyone has dreams they remember, they're not much good to the writer that way. We thought Carrie had some ideas that might reduce frustration and turn up the memory of our dreams. See if you can benefit from her hints. Thanks, Carrie.


Look into Your Dreams
By Carrie Hulce

Everyday we look at the outside to find our stories. The police car racing off to the nearest accident, the couple fighting on the corner of the street, the little girl playing in a park with her friends; but, there is one place we don’t always look, deep inside.

Have you ever taken a look at your dreams for inspiration? Our dreams provide a lot to us, including maybe the next best seller. But, you have to listen close and try to capture it. Here are some suggestions to do so.

First off, make sure you try to relax before going to bed. Enjoy a good book, keep a list of things you need to do the next day, a nice warm cup of tea and a funny movie, what ever your normal routine is.

Second, make sure to keep a notebook and a pen or pencil on your bedside table. This becomes your dreams journal. I know you are saying but, what if I don’t remember my dreams; well, then make it into a daily journal, one that you can list all of the events of your day. Sometimes, this will even help you to relax your mind, especially if you had a stressful day at work.

Finally, get a good night sleep. Bundle up, and sleep.

The next morning, upon awaking, grab your notebook, put the date on the top of the page, and write down what you remember from your dream. Even if you see sweet pickles flying in the air, or how about that purple elephant with little green polka dot wings. Write everything you possibly can. This little technique may even help you to ease your mind for the morning, give you a nice relaxing start to your day. Quick note, you may need to set your alarm a little earlier so you have plenty of time, especially if you have to get your little whip-per snappers out the door, or get yourself off to work.

I block out a bit of time each afternoon or evening, to write, when I grab up my writing bag, I make sure that I have my dream journal as well. I read through all that I've written down, and then see what kind of story I can come up with. It may be a children’s story or even a horror novel. You would be amazed at some of the ideas you can draw just from your dreams.


Anonymous said...

The ability to “program” our subconscious minds and seed our creative centers with requests for ideas, inspirations and writing and editing assistance makes the dream state one of the most powerful "mind tools" we have available as writers. This tool is easy to access, and it is available to us every night.

Many of the techniques for capturing creative content have a lot in common with a special dream state called "lucid dreaming". Lucid dreams are those dreams in which we are aware that we are dreaming. We can use this awareness to “direct” the dream, like a director directs a movie. All you have to do to achieve lucid dreaming, is to intend to be aware during your dream state and "program" your mind for this prior to falling asleep.

Lucid dreams appear to give us a special opportunity to gain conscious access to our creative centers. By fostering and encouraging lucid dreams, you are strengthening the communication link between your conscious and subconscious mind...the "home" of your creative center.

Here's a simple technique to use lucid dreaming to help you with a writing problem:

First, decide on which “seeds” you want to drop into your subconscious mind. Do you need help in coming up with a terrific title for your current book or article? Are you stuck on a particular writing passage and can’t seem to get the words right? Do you need a story idea? Do you need help with plotting or dialogue? Decide on a single, clear, specific question or topic to ask for help with. In the beginning you will be "training" your subconscious mind, so keep iyour requests simple till you have the process down...don’t overload it with multiple requests right away.

Then for several nights in a row, just as you are about to fall asleep, mull over your writing problem or question. Think about the methods and ideas you’ve already tried. Gently question and wonder about any additional options. (What else might work here? What have I not yet thought about?) Then say to yourself six to eight times as you drift off into sleep, I am going to have a dream to answer this question (or solve this problem). Fall asleep with this intention drifting down into your subconscious mind.

It may take several days, or up to three weeks, of programming your intent before you receive a creative dream. (It typically takes three weeks for a new habit to be programmed, and this is essentially the same process.)

The more you use this technique and work with it, the more quickly it brings results. I usually get my answers right away, the next morning following a dream, or during an actual or "fake" nap session.

Pleasant dreams!

Rita Milios, The Mind Mentor book for writers-Instant Inspiration: How to Have Creativity on Tap...Anytime, All the Time...and Never Have Writer's BLock Again

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