Everyone sometimes has wacky dreams, and as writers, your writing dreams are probably crazier than most. There may be dinosaurs, flying carpets, talking cats and celebrities—all in one dream. Our instinct is to just let the dreams fade out of our minds lest someone find out we had a dream about the president wearing a coconut bikini while a herd of antelope rode by on motorcycles.
But these wacky dreams spawned by the creative subconscious provide precious fuel for your writing, whether you’re a copywriter or an epic fantasy novelist.
To capture the dreams you think are worth it, follow these tips:
–Keep a journal. No, really, do it. It doesn’t have to be a whole notebook. When you have an interesting dream (or a nightmare), write it down, even if it has to be on a napkin.
–Learn to lucid dream. It’s tricky, trust me, but being able to control your dream while you’re in it is hugely beneficial to the “plot” of your dream. And how often do you have the chance to become the protagonist?
–After waking, wallow in the dream. This is key to remembering every little nuance. Sometimes, I lie in bed for a good 30 minutes, going back over the dream to make sure every detail is committed to memory. It’s tougher than cramming for exams and so much more worth it.
–Finally, record the dream where you keep your other ideas. If there was anything about the dream that sticks with you, write it down. Come back to it when you’re stumped on a project or want to start a new one. Who says motorcycle-riding antelope don’t make sense? It was your dream!
Dream logic doesn’t make sense in the waking world. But writing stories is all about pushing past what’s real for what’s true. Write about the antelope or the dinosaurs or the president in the coconut bikini.
Because, if your brain hands you a ready-made story on a silver platter, wouldn’t you take it?
Nicole Aronis is an aspiring novelist and short story writer. She runs a writing advice and community blog at writerlywonderings.tumblr.com.