Dreams comprise the fifth and final category of my inspiration series. I suspect this is the most underutilized source of writing inspiration that people draw upon. Don’t ignore dreams. They can be a potent wellspring of insights.
During the day, our thoughts are barraged with information and choices. But while our bodies rest, our minds go to work. Decision filters shut down when the day is done and leave the door open for the night crew. Think of dreams as your mind on brainstorm mode, offering endlessly creative ideas without interruption.
Those periods of transition between consciousness and unconsciousness, when our minds still hang in the balance, can uncover emotional treasures. Dreams help us sort through things that matter to us.
Here’s an example from a memoir:
I awoke this morning from a frightfully vivid nightmare. You have formed the habit of running toward the street whenever we were outside. I stopped you every time. Still, the fear remained that a day might come when my reaction time would be too slow to prevent you from being harmed. Through the haze of awakening, I dreamed I was chasing you down our driveway, grabbing you from the path of a speeding car, and pushing you to the side as the car’s front fender closed in. I was immediately reminded of how precious you are to me.
The message is clear. It also shows that not everything you write in your memoir needs to be an actual event. This example shows the emotional relationship with a child in the context of a pending traffic accident that, thankfully, did not happen.
Happily, dreams may also uncover our tenderest feelings about such experiences as the moment we first see our grandchild. Make the most out of yours. Use those waking moments to note your dreams and convey your love to your grandchild.
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