For those of you who missed last week's article, you can find the first four tricks here.
Trick Five – Pick a character
Have you ever started out as one person in a dream then seamlessly become someone else? Some experts believe we play all the characters in our dreams. For writers, this means we can expand our repertoire endlessly. Pick a character (any character!) from your dream, and you should be able to understand their viewpoint and motivations.
This trick gives you as an author great versatility. That boogie-man that chased you in your dreams the other night? You already know how he thinks, and can nail his voice in your writing.
Trick Six – Invigorate and Inspire
You may be surprised to learn that Thomas Edison invented, among other things, the power nap. He renewed his creativity by curling up on his workbench to sleep for twenty minutes at a time, often gaining great flashes of insight on a particular problem that had been plaguing him. He trained himself to remain in that in-between sleep state for as long as possible.
Artist Salvador Dali took this technique one step further. He napped with a fork clenched in his fist, held out over a plate he’d set on the floor. As he began to doze, his grasp relaxed and the fork clattered onto the plate, waking him. He would immediately sketch the images he had seen in his dreams.
While you don’t need to go so far as finding a workbench or plate and fork, a short snooze will give you a burst of energy and some fresh inspiration to go along with it.
Why It Works
The dreaming mind is free of all the creativity blockers that are usually present in the conscious mind. While you sleep, the power of your creativity has free reign over your brain. Dreams take you to new and exciting worlds. Your writing will be more vivid; as far as your brain is concerned, you are writing about places you have been and events that have happened to you, albeit while dreaming.
Don’t be surprised if ideas come to you in their entirety. “…because I had dreamed it, I couldn’t believe I had written it,” said Paul McCartney of Yesterday after waking with the song in his head. “I thought, ‘I’ve never written anything like this before.’ I had the tune, which was the most magic thing!”
Keep a dream journal and write your dreams down. If you don’t have time to log the whole dream, write down a few details. You may be surprised when you come back to your notes and discover that you can recall the dream in its entirety. Refer to your dream journal often, most especially when inspiration seems to run dry. It's possible to weave many dreams into a single story.
Now, close your eyes, dream big, and let the magic of your own creative power come to you!
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