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Dream Journaling for Creative Writing Success

Have you ever woken up and been consumed by a wacky or wonderful dream? I know I have! I used to tell my friends about the funny things I dreamt of, but then I realised there was something more I could do with all this creative brain power.

What is dream journaling and how do I do it? 

As someone who has a lot of vivid dreams and enjoys creative writing, I began using a dream journal to keep a record of my sleeping adventures. A dream journal can be a notebook, the notes app on your phone, or even just pieces of scrap paper where you write down any details you can remember.

The first obstacle to harnessing the power of your dreams is remembering them. Dreaming occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) stages of sleep, which you have more of the younger you are. You have several cycles of sleep during the night, so there’s the potential for several different dreams. Often, people forget their dreams as soon as they wake up because their minds are busy focusing on the day ahead, so I advise getting into the habit of doing this every morning:

  • Lie still in bed for a moment before you open your eyes and focus on what you were dreaming about.
  • Keep a notebook (your dream journal) close to your bed to write in as soon as you wake up.
  • Write down anything you can remember: a conversation, a person you met, a place you visited, an odd or surprising detail, or even just a name.

Turning your dream journal into amazing creative writing 

Not every dream has to turn into a story right away, or ever. Sometimes you might have a very clear idea of how a dream can inspire a piece of writing. For example, if you dreamt about a creepy all-white factory where robots turned sleeping children into warty, green witches (yes, I did have that dream once), then that’s a fantastic idea for an action-packed horror story. At other times, you might find yourself stuck on a homework assignment, then you can look through your dream journal for inspiration for a character or a setting.

Your dream journal needn’t be limited to inspiring writing either. Plenty of famous artists have been inspired by their dreams over the years too!