December 2, 2016 @ 4:44 AM

Dream Books... Writing Tips from a professional author...

Quite apart from the day-to-day notebook carried around in the pocket or shoulder bag, there's another kind of journal that many writers – and other people – use. And that's a private 'dream book' kept beside the bed, rarely shown to anybody else, but in which to scribble those fragments of dreams and thoughts that linger after you've woken up.

They’re an immensely powerful and potent source of ideas. They can even transform your life.

I used to feel utterly alone in the cosmos, until one night I dreamed of a starchild uniting it all with our infinite human capacity for love and understanding. Whatever our individual catastrophes, these things survive and give meaning: and since then I must acknowledge I've never had this awful feeling of complete desolation.

I guess the image may have been suggested by Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey; but the dream was nonetheless compelling, and I jotted it down in the notebook by my bed. It's as resonant for me today as it was forty years ago. Other dreams, of course, are much less cosmic in their significance – but it's surprising, if you start quickly writing down the emotions, images or narrative of a dream before they’ve quite gone, how much will come back when you start looking into the deeper messages and stories it might contain.

Freud apparently used to think that dreams were something of a psychological garbage bin, where unwanted thoughts and emotions were disposed of. But I'm more with Jung: at their most insistent, dreams can also be immensely creative and inspirational. And isn't that what every writer is looking for?


Photo: Southern night sky By ESO/B.Tafreshi (; Galaxy By NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Gordon (Univ. of Ariz.) & GALEX Science [Public domain], (both via Wikimedia Commons).