I recently read a book about how to write short stories and the author suggested keeping a dream journal for inspiration. I always keep a journal on my nightstand because sometimes ideas come to me at night but I had never actually kept a record of my dreams. I decided to give it a try and it’s been interesting. I’ve been doing it for about three weeks now. Writing down your dreams as soon as you wake up when you can still remember them is key.
I typically go to bed at 10 pm and wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning to drink some water. (I take lithium and it causes excessive thirst.) Then I go back to bed and get up around 7 am. I almost always stick to this routine. What’s interesting is almost every time I get up at 3 or 4 I’m writing down dreams. Then again at 7. It seems like I actually dream quite a bit.
Tornados and sex (not at the same time) seem to be common themes in my dreams. Many of my dreams are filled with anxiety like I go somewhere and can’t find parking or I’m late to an appointment. I think the most interesting dream I’ve written down so far was that aliens invaded and I went outside and it was snowing, except the snowflakes were actually tracking devices that embed into your skin. Maybe that one could inspire a story.
I am on antipsychotic medication for schizoaffective disorder, and when my meds aren’t quite right, I have nightmares. Recently I ran out of one of my medications and didn’t have it for a few days. It was my fault. I was lazy and thought I’d be okay – I’d get to it later. My nightmares often involve being haunted by ghosts. I ended up having a really crazy nightmare – I was hit by a train and a soldier saved my life, but in the process, he lost his own life. He was angry about it and came back and haunted me. I was laying in bed and his ghost was at the foot of my bed crawling toward me. The next morning my husband said he could hear me whimpering in my sleep. Needless to say, I was at the pharmacy ASAP.
Do you write down your dreams? Do you remember your dreams? If you’re an artist or writer, have your dreams ever inspired your work?