I’m not sure if everyone is like this, or if I just have an overactive imagination, but I have the craziest dreams! In fact, I have always had really riveting dreams as far back as I can remember. They are filled with gripping characters doing heroic feats against all odds and compelling storylines that hook me in night after night leaving me wanting more when I wake up.
Sometimes I will inadvertently wake up halfway through the dream and then try to manufacture the ending. I will lie in bed replaying the dream in hopes that I will nod off and pick up where I had left off. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen.
The other sad part is that when I wake up, I have a fading recollection of the epic plot that seemed to capture my imagination over the last seven or eight hours. I often think, ‘wow, that was incredible, that would make a great movie!’ It didn’t take long for me to think, ‘hey, why can’t it be a movie? I’m a writer, writers tell stories, stories become movies!’
I have wondered, ‘how many Hollywood blockbusters have been the result of someone’s dream?’ I tried googling it once, but nothing came up. I imagine that no Hollywood writer/ director would be willing to admit that their conscious state was not as creative as their unconscious state when coming up with original and interesting ideas.
Fortunately, I don’t have this insecurity. I realize that my subconscious is gathering data throughout the day and then compiling it automatically for me into a nice neat story. I would be a fool to discard this. The subconscious is an incredibly powerful resource that I am eager to explore, it would even pick up on many things that my conscious brain would dismiss or not pay full attention to.
So then it began.
Lately, I have been trying to capture my dreams as soon as possible as to not lose them. I have had moments where I wake up at 3:00 a.m. from an enthralling narrative and think, ‘I should probably write this down’, but then think, ‘nah, I’ll remember it in the morning.’ The problem is, capturing these ideas is a lot like trying to catch papers in the wind—you may be able to snag a few, but the condition is often tarnished in the process.
So that was my plan: to transcribe my dreams.
The problem was that after waking up, I only had about ten minutes before the memory of my dream would completely escape me.
To solve this problem, I tried to recall as many details about the dream in those first groggy moments of wakefulness. Once I felt I had a firm grip on the dream, I would evaluate it to see if it was really as great as I thought and if I wanted to explore it further. If it was a keeper, or had elements that I could use, I would write it down immediately. I would furiously type out the idea and then save it on my computer.
To date, I have about a dozen or so really interesting ideas that have been taken from my dreams. I have incorporated at least three into actual projects and the rest still remain in the ‘idea’ bin.
Article by Edward Mullen
Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast