Writing Exercises: "Dream Journals"
I imagined myself writing this post with a diabolical laugh, knowing that agony that comes with the return of the topic of journal writing. There's no escape my friends from this daunting topic as long as you have a desire to write, so gear up for another post of my ramblings about the importance of journaling! Even more, be ready tech-savvy writers because I am about to tell you that you're going to have to have a hand written journal too! Although, realistically I am following along with Greaney's book so I can't take all the blame. Either way, this is happening and there is no escape!
Anyway, to begin let's discuss what dream journals even are and why they are slightly different than regular journal writing. Dream journals are, you guessed it, journals where you write down your dreams: scenes from and the writing you did during sleep. This, as mentioned previously, is the very reason why a journal must be kept at your bedside. It is important to record what you wrote while you slept and have that data ready for your writing time. You may be thinking that seemingly the only distinction between journal writing and dream writing simply draws from the fact that you are recording what went on when your eyes were closed.
Now, you are not necessarily wrong, but there is one particularly dangerous distraction to consider that comes with dream writing. That distraction is in the recording itself: know where your recording data ends and where your writing begins. Dreams are a wonderful source of inspiration for characters, scenes, plot hole solutions, etc but just because you recorded data does not mean that you have written or furthered your story.
Recording and interpreting your dreams does not add to your writing quota, so as you add this practice to your daily writing routine do not forget that this practice does not replace any of your writing quota. The most essential aspect of dream writing you need to master is plundering your dreams wisely. The best way to understand what I am saying is to imagine any time you have described a dream to someone else, play by play. No matter how wild or tame your dream, the person's eyes tend to glaze over as they listen. That is potentially the biggest danger of simply copy and pasting your dream into your writing as a scene. Remember that it is not simply about how wonky the dream was, but how it made you feel. Feelings are too important to risk ignoring in our writing.
Some of our best writing comes from expressing our greatest fears because of how we feel in our greatest fears. What better way to do that than express them through our dreams?