I have very vivid dreams. I like to call them, Movie Dreams. Often, in my movie dream I am not myself. I get to see the world from someone else's point of view, experiencing the world through their eyes. I may be exploring Africa on safari, or attacked by villains at a fancy party. I've seen ancient Rome, climbed mountains, been chased by wolves, and fallen in love dozens of times - all in my dreams. I learned years ago to use them as inspiration.
It started after a particularly fantastic dream. I woke up with that familiar frustration. "No! Why did I wake up? I wanted to see what happens next!" So, I lay there wishing, trying to see what I had seen before and when that didn't work, I began to fill in the blanks. What would have happened next? How did they get into that situation in the first place? Before long I had a pretty good story on my hands. I didn't want to forget any of it. So, I climbed out of bed and grabbed a pen and a journal. I wrote feverishly, desperate to get it all down on paper. Before I knew it, I had nearly ten handwritten pages.
I kept that journal, even added to it a few times when I woke up with a particularly great story in my head. A few years later, that dream became my first finished novel, one I will hopefully be able to share with you before the end of the year.
People always want to know where great writers find their inspiration. Some find their ideas from life around them, from asking deep questions, from news stories, from re-imagining history, and some find their inspiration from dreams. This is why keeping a detailed log of my most vivid dreams helps me to be a better writer. When I have a truly fabulous dream, I write it down before I can forget. Then, I keep it until I am ready to write more. I have many more dreams logged than I will ever write, I'm sure, but it is nice to know I won't run out of ideas.
Do you have vivid dreams? Wish you could go back and relive some of them? Do you wake up wishing you knew what happened next? Try a dream journal. Just a spiral notebook and a pencil is more than you need. You'll be on your way to becoming a great writer.