Saturday, August 24, 2013

Remembering Your Dreams

If you ask an author where they get their ideas you will get many answers, and one of those answers is dreams. I have used my own dreams in my novels. I came across interesting information on making an effort to remember your dreams.

Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep occurs when the body is at rest, but the mind is active with dreams. If you don’t get enough sleep or your sleep is interrupted a lot you have less REM sleep and that means fewer dreams.

If you want to use your dreams in your writing…

*Make a conscious decision to remember your dreams.
*Don’t eat, drink alcohol or take medications right before bed. The chemicals can affect brain’s ability to remember dreams.
*Calm your mind and body before bedtime. Deep breath or count sheep to free up your mind.  
*Keep your alarm clock close to your bed, so you don’t have to get out of bed to shut it off, because it will distract you from immediately recalling your dream.
*concentrate on recalling your dream as soon as you wake.
*Keep pen & notebook, in the same spot, next to your bed. Or, use a tape recorder to record what you recall from your dreams upon waking.

Remembering your dreams takes practice, but could benefit a writer. Use the movies your mind plays every night to your advantage. 

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Big Mike said...

I'd say 1/3 to half my scenes evolve from dreams. Interesting post on another forum asking if writers dream more or less when writing. It was split half and half. With me, given any instant my lids shut I'm constructing my fictional world, my dreams explode with clarity when I'm deep in a story.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

When I first started to write, my dreams inspired not stories but characters, descriptions and word use possibilities.

For writers like Greg Iles, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, could that be where those rich, sceneic panoramas were generated while the more conscious mind was cooking up trouble?

Nikki said...

May I tell you a story? When I was writing my first novel back in 2001, I was already well used to remembering my dreams, using the techniques you mention. One night my own laughter woke me up, and I promptly dashed off a significant phrase on my bedside pad. Then, still laughing, I went back to sleep.
In the morning, my first thought was the memory of my note. In a fever of excitement, I snatched it up and read, "Derek Daley interviews Sir Bernie." Picture me gobsmacked. I read it again--same words. I knew who Derek Daley was (an Irish retired Formula One driver, now a reporter for ESPN) and Sir Bernie (head honcho of F1), but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the heck they had to do with my time-traveling, gender-bending alien. For several days I carried that note around, trying to recall the actual dream.
Eventually the interview that appeared in my dream surfaced in my consciousness, and it inspired a scene in my story.
Ray Bradbury says, "Everything is compost." You never know how your mind will make use of what you experience.

Mark said...

Dreams can be rich idea sources for me. They run the gamut from humorous to horror-stricken, but they're always interesting and useful outcroppings of the mind.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Reminds me, Nikki: Rom Das wanted to know the secret of the universe,but was afraid his acid trip would erase his learned wisdom. So he set out paper and pen and took his trip. When he came back into his life, he looked at what he'd written with great anticipation. The paper said, "is."

I think he got it right.

Mark said...

"It depends on what the meaning if the word 'is' is.” –William Jefferson Clinton

Posted with the widest of grins

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Got it, Mark.

Liz Fountain said...

I love "mining" dreams for images, characters, settings. The central scene in my book "An Alien's Guide to World Domination" came to me in a dream. When I woke up, all the major plot elements were clear in my head. That's unusual - more typical is waking up, feeling the dream slip away, scrambling for paper and pencil to jot something down before I lose it.