Our guest writer tells you how to turn your dreams into a plot generator.
Inspiration can come from all around us. We can even find it in the most unlikely places, like our dreams. Synthesising ideas from our dreams can be great for generating creative ideas. That’s why many well-known and highly praised authors have been known to get inspiration from their dreams.
Following ideas from our subconscious is a great way to grow creatively. Dreaming is one of the best ways we can do this. Even if we write about our dreams or try something like lucid dreaming, we can always pick out great ideas and themes while we sleep.
Dreams Are Great for Creativity
Surprisingly, dreams still confound the scientific community. We understand very little about dreaming, why people dream or even how we dream. Various studies on dreaming suggest that it’s the brain’s way of trying to connect our daily experiences with our emotional needs.
In many ways, dreams poke and prod at what is really on our minds and in our hearts and forces us to deal with sensitive topics or ideas. The way dreams unfold may not make sense, but they push the boundaries of creativity and use metaphors and imagery to convey certain thoughts, experiences, and beliefs.
By leaning into our dreams and taking an analytical approach, we can mine them for creative content and inspiration. Use your dreams to your creative advantage, they allow for unrestricted creativity from the unconscious. That’s why author Stephen King advocate for using dreams to “cultivate our own worlds while writing.”
Good Habits to Practice
A good creative habit is to keep a notebook near your bedside. When we wake up in the middle of the night from a dream, we may only have a few minutes to jot down ideas before they disappear. And if you can’t sleep, take your notebook and free flow write until you’re tired. This is good practice because it helps us process things going on in our lives and opens the door for us to explore more creative ideas.
In the mornings, when you wake up, immediately write down your dreams. Write down as much as you can remember. Draw pictures if it helps. Dreams can be a huge source of inspiration for a fiction writer. Even if you do not develop the ideas any further, they may be useful at a later date or be spun into new and interesting content.
If you feel like you’re lacking inspiration, look through your dream notebook and see if any ideas jump out at you. Take any idea you’re interested in and start building off that. Again, even if you do nothing with it, it’s still a good exercise in creative writing.
Dreaming to Create
As writers we tend to place blocks and limits on ourselves. Unintentionally, we prevent ourselves from meeting our full creative potentials. Many people who’ve never written fiction still have the potential to be prolific novelists. But, by the limits and restrictions they place on themselves, they’ll never realise that potential.
Our dreams don’t know restrictions though, and they provide boundless ideas we can work off. If we give ourselves permission to let go of our creative restraints, we take the first step on a path towards exemplary writing. Letting go of our own doubts creates something exquisite.
We can accomplish this through dreaming. It’s only once we wake up that our creativity might evade us. By making a regular practice of writing down our dreams and allowing ourselves to daydream, we break down any creative barriers. If you regularly return to that headspace, it helps with inspiration and more importantly helps with future creativity.
by Alexis Schaffer.
Alexis received her undergraduate degree in psychology and is a registered nurse. In her free time she teaches yoga and writes for various online publications. If you liked this article, you can find more of her works here.