Sunday, June 27, 2010

Artist's Tool -- Dreaming Your Way to Success

Looking for new inspiration? Suffering from writer’s block? Have a problem that you just can’t solve? We’ve all experienced times when the harder we tried the more frustrated we became. We knew the answer was there. Just outside the recesses of our conscious thought. We just couldn’t quite pull it out.

Dreams are images, thoughts and emotions experienced during sleep. Some are extremely vivid, while others are extremely vague. Philosophers have studied the dream process for thousands of years, and although there are many theories as to why we dream, no one really knows.

Freud believed dreams were a representation of our unconscious desires. Hobson and McClarley believed that circuits in the brain are activated during REM sleep, and dreams are our attempt to interpret those signals. Other theories include that dreams have no purpose, while others believe that dreaming is essential to mental, emotional and physical health.

For artists, dreams have always been and still are a source of inspiration. Dreams are the creations of our mind, tapping into our imagination.

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, wrote that he got many of his best stories from his dreams.

Edgar Allen Poe also shared that he relied on his dreams to inspire the moods and themes of many of his tales.

Stephen King in an interview with UK report Stan Nicholls stated when asked about the inspiration for Misery: “Like the ideas for some of my other novels, that came to me in a dream.”

Search the web and you’ll find hundreds of other stories of artists who have used their dreams to create works of poetry, novels, paintings and songs.

We dream every single night, but often we forget our dreams. The key to remembering dreams is to set the intention before you sleep. An agreement, if you will, between your conscious and subconscious mind that you will dream creatively and will recall your dreams.

Prior to sleep focus on the solution or inspiration you seek from your dreams. Write it down, being specific about exactly what you’re looking for. Keep a notepad and pen or pencil next to your bed. As soon as you awaken write down everything you remember about your dream. If you don’t remember, write down what you believe you remember. Write down the first thing that pops into your mind. Focus on your feelings in the dream, list any places, symbols, colors and the people involved.

Now, play with your dream. Turn it into a poem, a melody, short story or fable. Draw or paint pictures related to your dream. Set up a dialogue with the characters in your dream. See if there’s a correlation between your dream and your current creative project? If not, perhaps this is the inspiration for a new creative project.

Dreams can be an artist’s best tool for continued or renewed inspiration. I have dreamed many of the scenes of my current books, as well as plots for new novels.

Another simple process is prior to going to sleep, clear your mind. Think about exactly what you want to dream about, and hold that thought. Daydream about it until you drift off to sleep. Combine the power of your conscious and subconscious mind to open the doors to your creativity.

Linda S. Prather, Author
The Gifts, A Jacody Ives Mystery
Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery

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