Creativity and imagination – two essential tools for any writer.
While learning grammar and practising writing techniques are all super important, you’ll never be a great writer without a great imagination.
The good news is that you already have one of the best tools you’ll ever need to expand your imagination. Do you know what it is?
So many writers, musicians and even inventors can tell you that dreams have inspired their best works. The story of Stewart Little was inspired by a dream the author, E.B. White, had about a boy acting like a mouse. Frankenstein, too, was inspired by a dream (well, a nightmare, rather). Even Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, started writing her books after waking up from a dream about a boy and a girl in a meadow talking about why love between humans and vampires can’t work.
This month, we’re going to look at how dreams can enhance your creativity and work on remembering those dreams before they slip away.
Let’s tap into that tool!
What is dreaming?
When you are asleep, you are only asleep on the outside.
Inside, your brain is BUSY. When you get into a deep sleep (called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep), your brain gathers together new memories and mixes them up with old ones, connecting them in ways your awake mind would never have thought of. That’s because in sleep, your brain doesn’t think logically.
Think of your sleeping brain like a broken puzzle. When you try and put it back together, some pieces can go back together in the wrong order. But that’s great! It gives you the chance to explore ideas you might never have thought of with that logical awake brain of yours!
Did you know that your most creative dreams tend to happen at the end of your sleep cycle? That’s why it is so important to get enough sleep!
How can dreams help you be a better writer?
Your brain in sleep isn’t worried about the things that should be. In dreams, you see the world in a completely different way. Because your sleep brain isn’t worried about logic or morality, it is free to explore ideas in ways your awake brain never could. As writers, we can use those ideas as inspiration for our stories.
If you’re like most people, you might have trouble remembering your dreams. Isn’t it frustrating when those incredible dreams slip away like water through your fingers?
But, there is a way you can actually train your brain to remember your dreams – it’s called dream journalling.
In your box this month, you will find a blank journal. Your challenge is to make this your dream journal!
Keeping a dream journal
Your brain can be trained to remember your dreams; you just need to get into a habit.
When you go to bed tonight, put that new notebook and pen by your bed. As soon as you wake up, write down everything you remember! If you need help writing it all down quickly, that’s ok.
You can write, or have someone help you write, about:
- your feelings in the dream,
- what happened in the dream,
- any images, sounds, people, colours or objects you remember, and
- what you think the dream might mean.
If you’re an artist as well, make use of those skills by drawing some images from your dreams.
You might find this hard to begin with, especially if you have never tried to remember your dreams. But that’s ok! Even if you just write, “I don’t remember anything about my dreams last night”, your brain will start to form connections between your dream and waking state, which will make it easier to remember.