My Daily Word – Dreams

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

I would think that most writers are inherently visual people.  I am certainly in that category.  I have a visual-based memory, and learning new skills comes more quickly through visual techniques. With all the “visuals” stuck in my head, it’s no wonder they leak out in dreams.

Dreams are a vital tool for me…more than just a biological brain dump of discarded images.

For one thing, dreams seem to be a distinct indicator of my psychological well being.  In recent years, I’ve discovered a pattern.  When my life is overtaken by stress and anxiety, deep restful sleep eludes me…and so do the memorable dreams.  The experts say the dreams are always there…but during these times I have no memory of them.

On the flip side, when life is good…my dreams could rival the big summer blockbusters.  🙂

As a writer, I not only depend on my dreams for visual ideas, but I’ve learned how to physically use my dreams to work through problems in the stories I write.

I have no idea if there is an actual term for it, but I call it “directed dreaming”.  It is my process of problem solving.  If I’m working on a scene that just isn’t coming out right, I construct the scene in my head before I fall asleep.  Of course, as dreams (or daydreams) evolve, I tend to end up in the scene myself.  🙂

That’s just fine with me.  In that dark netherworld, I’ve fought demons with swords, strutted around in tight leather outfits like Kate Beckinsale, and kissed hunky guys like….hey….that’s enough of that.  You get the idea.

But that’s the exciting part of “directed dreaming”.  A dream might begin with a little bit of conscious control, but as REM sleep approaches…the brain unleashes its arsenal of tricks.  The results can be pure, unadulterated, unfiltered, and unedited brilliance.  Or pure crap too.  🙂

A writer’s bane is our internal editor.  That pesky mental tutor that makes us stop at every period and re-evaluate what we just wrote.  Hate that guy!  He interrupts the creative flow like a huge, concrete dam.  Yet in dreams, he is banished forever.

As a writer, how do YOU use dreams?

Today, I give you a senryu on dreams…again, it may be a bit shy of irony, and it’s blended with haiku imagery…but, that’s poetry.  Enjoy. 🙂

Nature's Dream Catcher

Nature's Dream Catcher


a white wispy web

trembles as morning mist

blankets my dream catcher




Lynda Gail Alfano

~ by immortaldiva on August 10, 2009.

2 Responses to “My Daily Word – Dreams”

  1. This post is perfectly up my alley! I have the most marvelous nightmares and with a little tweaking, those nightmares make the most wonderful scenes for my novels! 😉

    Great post on the use of the sub-conscious in writing! I wish I could direct my dreams, but I’m hopelessly at the mercy of my dreams at night. Although I know I’ve been successful in getting into the heads of my characters if I have a dream about them.


  2. I believe that directed dreaming is a good device also. Events in dreams have a lot of power but the trace is so fragile that it is best to sit down and write before the urgency fades. I feel it can enhance the emotional power words carry do this. I really admire writers who are able to conjure up depth of feeling when they are not in an emotional state or fresh in an experience. That could be one difference between being a professional writer and an opportunist. I fear I am the latter.

    One of my favourite books by Ursula LeGuin is entitled The Lathe of Heaven. It has interesting points about the d reaming mind. If I recall correctly (it had been awhile), the main character lives in a time where there are severe consequences to taking drugs. He takes drugs, gets arrested and sent to a psychiatrist. You learn that the takes drugs so he won’t sleep; he won’t sleep so he doesn’t dream; he doesn’t want to dream because he dreams ‘effective dreams’. This means that what he dreams at night is reality the next day. He falls asleep and dreams Aunt Mary died six weeks ago. The next morning is mother would comment on how wonderful Aunt Mary’s funeral was six weeks ago. Only he knew the two realities and he could not live with it. The psychiatrist discovers that the dreams are effective and begins to change things. Our main character falls asleep at the behest of the doc and wakes up in a sparkling new office. But, the dreaming mind does not always take the direction desired. The doc takes an interest in a unified world. Under directed dreaming, our main character dreams that aliens invade the planet and there is a great global war. But, he wakes up and the world is unified but against a common enemy.

    Directed dreaming may take you to some interesting but unexpected places.

    So dream and write!!

    🙂 Judy

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