Nice headline, isn’t it? I thought it might get your attention. This post has nothing to do with teabags, or space for that matter. It’s in response to a writing prompt from Daily Post and partly to do with those strange dreams that we all sometimes have. I know there is a lot of psychological theory (and some bizarre mystical ones) associated with our dreams and we’ll always try to ascertain their meaning… if indeed our dreams have meaning at all.
For the writer, it can be a fine resource for inspiration unless they are just too weird. Actually, even the incredibly weird ideas can create good stories depending on our style of writing. Take the dream I had last night. I’m not going to reveal anything except to say that it got really weird at times yet at its core was what I feel is a pretty good story idea – perhaps even up to novelette level. I’ll give more details later as it begins to flesh out, but I will say that I am going to give it my first shot at dark humour / horror.
Some writers swear by their dreams for inspiration, but it is rare for me. When I had the idea for Blue, I was on the edge of sleep and waking – that strange state we call hypnagogia when the brain is doing all sorts of weird things. That is when I usually find most of my inspiration, when I am truly relaxed and my muse wakes up.
Perhaps it is something in the chemistry of our brain, where we abandon the conscious thought processes that allow us to be inspired – perhaps through dreams – and perhaps through the events of the day.
As ever, it is always advisable to keep a notepad by the side of your bed – as writers we should anyway. I was lucky in that last night’s dream occurred in the hours in which I typically wake up so they were vivid at the time and stuck in the mind while I was going through my morning routine. I was able to ponder on it slightly while eating breakfast and make notes while I looked over my jobs for today.
I need to get into the habit, I think, of writing down my dreams. No matter how strange, it’s also possible I may come up with a compelling piece of prose.
How do your dreams inspire you? Do they? Have you had any truly great ideas from dreams or that lucid state between sleep and wake?
16 thoughts on “Attack of the Killer Teabags in Space… on Bicycles”
I do the lucid dreaming thing a lot and there’s where I usually work out an entire story. My story ideas usually come to me during walks with my dog.
That’s a great one too! I sometimes get ideas when out running. I get lost in my thoughts when out doing something on my own.
I dream in comedy. At least, when I tell people my dreams, they laugh. I do think the notebook by the bed is a good idea; it also works for that ‘just waking up in semi-dreamlike state before coffee’ when I jot down some of my best ideas. The trick, for me, is to remember to replace the notebook back by the bed, so it’s there for the next morning…as this portable, lightweight device has a way of traveling to the computer room, then to the iPad station, over to the piano, then–inexplicably–getting lost under the dog bed.
Haha, you too? I think good notebooks must have legs! 😉
There was a stretch of time where I religiously wrote down my dreams every morning (it lasted perhaps 3 months!) I still have that poor little notebook, with it’s half-legible scribbles, some even less legible because they were written when I was still half-asleep, without turning on the light… I keep meaning to start in that practice again. It seems like those times when I do make an effort to record my dreams I have an easier time remembering them.
Sometimes the inspiration from them is very vague, a feeling, an emotion, a certain sense of some sort. Sometimes it’s more concrete, a scene that can be easily translated to a project I’m working on. And sometimes it’s just a passing character idea that can get expanded into a full-blown story (those ones are kind of my favorite).
I did for a while but after reflection, some of those ideas were utter nonsense and most never went anywhere. I just write down the interesting ones now.
For example, I had an idea about ten years ago about a man in a cave with no apparent entrance or exit. There is a disembodied voice and he had to figure out who the voice was before he could proceed. It never went anywhere.
Sometimes they don’t go anywhere, that’s true… but I’ve also been surprised at how something I had in a dream that seems pretty worthless, and then years (or even decades) later it suddenly finds a place.
And, there are the just useless ones… but I have a bit of a hoarder instinct in me when it comes to some things (luckily mostly of the written/thought variety, so they can be easily stored electronically!) so I like to gather all I can.
I have weird dreams sometimes when I wake they dissipate straight away, other times I remember partial amounts, but I never really get them or understand them.
I know writers who claim they get all their ideas from dreams… I find that hard to believe. It’s happened to me a couple of times… one I actually wrote into my novel as a dream sequence. 🙂
Nice to meet you through the Daily Post. 🙂
Hello and welcome!
They must be a lucky bunch not to be bombarded with ideas outside the metaphysical world of sleep. I envy them, because sometimes I have too many ideas to know what to do with.
Me too! But then again, the occasional inspirational dream comes in handy, doesn’t it? 🙂
Absolutely! I’m releasing my next ebook on Friday, and the idea for that (about a zombie race that takes place while a real zombie apocalypse starts) was based on a dream I had.
Cool! I look forward to seeing it on the bestseller lists. 😀
I don’t dream much as I am on heavy medication, but I have always like the idea of the writing pad by the bed. I think you could get a lot of inspiration that way.
I do, that’s why I keep a pad by my bed. I woke up at 1:30 this morning after having a lot of inspiration for my next WIP and hastily scribbled down four pages of notes. That was a good ten minutes well spent 🙂
I at least could keep a small notebook around to jot down ideas I have during the day. Thanks for the tip!