Following My Dreams… Literally!

DreamsI’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

Author of The Art of the Hustle and Destiny and Free Will

Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast

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