Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dreams and Writing.

I know when I’m working on a novel, I often dream about it. Scenes to come, scenes written, the time period or theme of the story. I usually chalk that up to all the research plus how immersed I become into the world and characters. Could it be more than that? Well, I jumped onto the web and crawled around to find out. I’d like to share what I discovered with you.

This article on the American Psychological association http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/dreamon.aspx tells us how "There's a significant number of situations where the limitations of our waking logic and preconceptions keep us stuck on a problem," Barrett says. "And a dream can solve it." They go on to say how many persons throughout history, not just authors but scientists, have used dreams as ways to problem solve.

"Dreams make connections more broadly than the waking mind," Hartmann notes. "You can be working on a problem and you can't quite see how to get there. But you go to sleep and you have a dream. It makes new connections, and it helps you make sense of it. Dreams can be very useful in this sense." This is definitely useful for a writer stuck on a plot or logic problem in their novel.

Another article found here: suggests that dreaming is essential for the brain by providing a constant stimulus even when sleeping. This article addresses outside stimuli such as environment, telepathic messages, the dreamer’s life history and memories plus "day residue” from the previous day’s waking experiences.

While I’m not sure about the telepathic messages, it seems to me you can set yourself up to problem solve or encourage your creative self by providing those outside stimuli before going to bed. How? By reading through problem passages or research for the particular story in mind. Heck, do your research just before retiring. I like to take long walks or do mind freeing stuff like sewing after a long research session. It helps me sort out all the information I just bombarded myself with. I hadn’t thought to bring into my dream realms. Of course, it won’t work if I take any sleep aids. I’m definitely up for giving it a try. If you do, post your experience here. Did it work for you? How?

Last, don’t forget to keep a pen, light and notebook on the bedside. Booting up the computer takes too long, You want to go over your dreams in your mind upon first waking, then write them down…before you do anything else, before getting out of bed. I learned that from my 8th grade English teacher and it’s worked for me from day one.

As the words to an Aerosmith song go…"Dream on. Dream until your dreams come true."

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