April 20, 2020-How often do you dream? Do you remember your dreams when you wake up, and how can you harness your subconscious to solve problems in your writing?
Studies show that one of the reasons we don’t remember our dreams is because we do not awake in the same position that we dreamt in. If there’s too much movement, we forget. For example, if you fall asleep on your left side and wake up on your right, chances are you won’t remember what you dreamt about.
Personally, I am a vivid dreamer and 5 nights out of 7, I’ll have dreams that I can remember. Of course, there are some nights that I don’t dream/don’t remember my dream. But as writers, how can we use a dream state to improve things in our work?
- Have a dream diary. Do you write down your dreams? I usually do because I like to refer back to them. I enjoy having a record of different times in my life that I was going through and how my dreams reflected my inner thoughts. Another fun thing to do with your dream diary is the following exercise; take the images from your dream and write a short story. This is so helpful when dealing with periods of writer’s block and lack of inspiration. I keep a pen and my dream diary beside my bed so that I can write things down immediately, before they’re lost forever.
- Invest in a dream dictionary. A dream dictionary helps decode your dreams and gives you answers to imagery. For example, did you know that dreaming of a broken glass can signify broken promises, negativity in your waking life, disappointment and shattered dreams? You can use these symbols as breadcrumbs throughout your work to make it more rounded and interesting.
- Work it into your story. Some of my dreams have made it onto the pages of my novels. In Obsessed with Her, there is a character that awakes from a nightmare, and it was something that I had dreamt about. Work your dreams and nightmares into your story carefully. Publishers and readers don’t like dream sequences, and we feel ripped off when the whole story was “just a dream.”
- Tap into your subconscious. The subconscious mind is a very powerful thing and is an excellent problem solver. When I’m struggling with a part in a book, or I’ve written myself into a corner, or I’m suffering from writer’s block, I write down the problem and ask my subconscious mind to fix it while I sleep. Then I go to bed. Sometimes the answer is immediately the next morning, sometimes it will come to me in a dream, and sometimes it takes a few days. How you program your subconscious mind is also imperative to your success; it does not know the difference between reality and fantasy.
Here’s hoping that all of your writing dreams come true! X LLB