Monday, August 5, 2013

Harvest Your Dreams

I once heard a fine poet say that writers can harvest their dreams to come up with new ideas for poems. I think it works every bit as well for story ideas, perhaps even nonfiction articles.

Elaine Holoboff was the poet who told the women at the writers conference that if we remember a dream when we wake in the morning, do something about it immediately. Start writing and see where it takes you. It could be poem or story, either one. I did this shortly after returning home from the conference and the process and the result just amazed me.

For one thing, the poem that came from my dream seemed to write itself after I had put down the first two lines. It was fairly long, filled with imagery and metaphors, none of which I had to think about it. One line after another came painlessly. It's a poem that has been published and is also going to be part of a Painting/Poetry Collaboration next month. I don't consider myself a fine poet by any means but this is one I'm proud of.

So, the next time you have a vivid dream that is still with you upon awakening, do something with it, but do it immediatley. Don't get started on your usual morning routine, go to your computer or notebook and pencil and start writing. It won't be a finished, polished product, but you'll have the bones of something that might be a good poem or story. You can go back to it later and see what you've got and then add or cut in whatever way is going to make it a better piece of writing.

I know that not everyone remembers dreams. I'm one of those people who nearly always does. Some mornings, I just shake my head and wonder where in the world that weird story in my dreams came from. I've read that if you tell yourself to remember your dreams before you go to sleep, it helps. Can't verify it but why not give it a try?

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