Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with your heart beating rapidly, frightened that you are trapped in another reality? I have. Thankfully after minutes of panic, I realize these are symptoms caused from my vivid dreaming. What is curious about dreams is that they can be just as far-fetched as the story ideas that you may come up with when awake. Probably even more so. I remember always having exciting dreams growing up but was instantly frustrated when I couldn’t remember them. So I decided to try something. I placed a notebook and a pen on my nightstand. I figured, what the hell. If I happened to wake in the middle of the night, then I had a place where I could record my dreams and/or nightmares. By some miracle, doing this worked. The dreams that I scribbled down over the years are essentially the only ones that I still remember. Because of this, their vividness is remains ready for recall in my creative projects. As a side note, I in general find that I retain things better after having written them down as opposed to letting thoughts linger.
Now the type of dreams I am talking about are not the run of the mill, naked at the front of the class type. The ones I want to remember are the ones that leave an impact, a heavy emotion, or play like a blockbuster movie. For example, the dreams that play out in my subconscious vary from an epic battle of Minas Tirith proportions (for which I have reserved a place for in a future work) to being in the presence of an unknown killer concealing a weapon. In some dreams I was the hero and in others I felt like Kevin McCallister trying to escape a more terrifying version of the Wet Bandits. While some of these dreams left me scared and battle-worn, they have provided me with some wonderful and free source materials. They’ve left me with new ideas to explore and expand upon. Some provided remarkably unique settings with an equally exciting cast of characters. I have sketched out entire story concepts based on my subconscious actions. Most of the time they make no literal or narrative sense but I have the power to craft them into a legitimate story.
So I encourage you to keep a Dream journal handy at night. I have for the past two years started using my iPad an keyboard in place of a notebook only because I can type faster than I write. And while it may take 10-30 minutes away from your beauty rest, just remember, a scene while sleeping could turn into the foundation of a New York Times bestseller.
Sketch Forward my friends!
P.S. I have found that some reasons behind these crazy dreams are due to health issues. I have attached a link below for some interesting reading on the medical causes for freaky dreams which I found to be informative. Regardless of the cause, don’t let good dreams go to waste!