Riding the topic of inspiration till I’m so exhausted with it I actually write something that matters, this week I want to discuss a sometimes ignored source of good material, dreams. For those of you who think you’re done working for the day when the lights go out and your significant other has refused you sex then you are gravely mistaken. Your brain can do some of its best work while you’re sawing logs. Of course I don’t mean actual logs because using a saw takes a great deal of focus so you don’t cut off an important or unimportant (depends who you ask) part of your body. When I think back on my work that I have loved the most and spent the most time perfecting, most of it came about as a result of a dream I had.
Last night I dreamt of horror. Some might call it a nightmare, but I saw it as an opportunity. It helped that I wasn’t actually me in these dreams, but playing a character and experiencing the world and events through their eyes. I said dreams because I actually had two very vivid dreams that played out stories I haven’t seen before. Not to say stories like them haven’t been made, but to me they were new and exciting. The only trouble with dream writing is that when you wake up you often forget those really good details that while dreaming you thought would make or break the piece.
You of course can keep a dream journal or even just a pad and paper by your bed or since smartphones and tablets rule our daily lives, one of those would do nicely to record these nightly bursts of inspiration. I like to tell someone about my dreams. Speaking the dream out verbally helps me make sense of the fragmented pieces I am trying to reconstruct. If no one is around to talk to (and that happens often...ladies) I will use the voice recording app on my phone to, well, tell myself my own dream.
Sometimes the majority of the details have already fled your mind before you wake up or instantly the moment you do, but there is always a fragment that you should record even if you feel all is lost. I have had dreams (or nightmares) where all I can remember is a title or name of a character. My first feature length screenplay came out of simply remembering a title for a story I dreamt about (yes, I can sometimes title my dreams) and now many drafts later it is finding its way around the offices of producers and the like.
Keep that log going and keep it handy. When you find yourself stuck in a current piece of work you have before you, pull it out and see if there isn’t a fragment from a dream that might work and propel you forward. You may even find yourself with a completely new project to add to your list requiring you to buckle down and finish any existing project before you can start this new adventure. However, that is a topic we will discuss next week. Until then, pay close attention to your wildest dreams and maybe one day they will inspire the dreams of others.