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The Writer's Life > Inspiration & Creativity > Writers Dreams – How Do Dreams Affect the Writing Process?

Writers Dreams – How Do Dreams Affect the Writing Process?

Learn firsthand how writers’ dreams affect the writing process. Here, famous published authors describe how their dreams affect their writing, creativity, and storytelling skills.

These quotations from published authors on the dreaming and writing process is a follow-up from my article, How Dreaming at Night Inspires Famous Writers.

First, a writing quip:

“There are two kinds of [successful] writers: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder.” – Brian Aldiss.

You can use your dreams – both night dreams and daydreams – to make you think and wonder, and make you a better writer! The following quotations from published authors about dreaming at night are from Writers Dreaming: 26 Writers Talk About Their Dreams and the Creative Process by Naomi Epel…

How Writers’ Dreams Affect the Writing Process

Stephen King on writing in a dream-like state

“Part of my function as a writer is to dream awake,” says King in Writers Dreaming. “And that usually happens. If I sit down to write in the morning, in the beginning of the writing session and the end of that session, I’m aware that I’m writing. I’m aware of my surroundings. It’s like shallow sleep on both ends, when you go to bed and when you wake up. But in the middle, the world is gone and I’m able to see better.”

  • 2 Tips for writers: 1) Stephen King doesn’t always enter a creative dream-like state that inspires unputdownable reading – he usually does, and it takes practice to keep entering that state; and 2) really getting into your writing can take time at the beginning of your session. When you sit down to write, don’t expect the best stuff to gush out of you (though of course it can happen). Give yourself time to dig deep into your psyche and woo the Muse.

James W. Hall on learning to tap into your dreams

“The more you pay attention to your dreams, the more you seem to dream or the more you recall what you’ve dreamed,” says Hall in in Writers Dreaming. ”

  • Tip for writers: Hall says most writers put themselves in a kind of self-hypnosis to create – and he likens the rituals of sharpening your pencil or getting everything just right in your work space to a form of self-hypnosis. You’re preparing yourself to sink into your writing…and you don’t necessarily need to be a “dreamer” to do that.

Anne Rice on dreams and a “trancelike” writing process

“Writers vary so much,” says Rice in Writers Dreaming. “You have people who probably are intensely conscious of everything they’re writing and you have people like me who are definitely surrendering to a trancelike state in which things make sense without analysis: trusting in a sense of authenticity and intensity that’s totally intuitive.”

  • Tip for writers: Don’t compare yourself to published authors (or unpublished bloggers)! Every writer has his or her own path to publication, method of creating, definition of what it means to be a “real” writer, and experience with the writing process.

A tip for encouraging your dreams to affect your writing process:

writers dreams affect writing process“I keep a Flip Mino under my pillow,” says screenwriter and novelist Jessica Hatchigan. “If I wake up with a ‘dream’ idea, I can easily record it.” She explains that the Flip MinoHD Video Camera is a very simple device with a button on the side that lights up when pressed (perfect if you don’t want to switch on a light in a dark bedroom!). To record, you press another easy-to-locate button on the front of the machine. “Playback is just as simple,” she says. “You press a couple of buttons and there you are!” Hatchigan also takes her Flip along on walks to record ideas.

For more writing tips, read 10 Writing Habits of Successful Writers – A Writing Coach’s Tips.

What do you think of these ways writers’ dreams affect the writing process? Comments welcome below…


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4 thoughts on “Writers Dreams – How Do Dreams Affect the Writing Process?”

  1. Here’s my take on this:

    Getting into this “dream like state”, can often result from years of routine. That is, years of writing at the same time, in a comfortable space. The more you block out the world and play with your craft, the easier it is to get into that dream state

  2. P J Kielberg-McClenahan

    As I was writing, “Journey to Aravaipa Canyon”, I envisioned my Great-grandmother Ida Kielberg as being a light blond, and very slim. I had a dream about her, she was in a Victorian house, and came over and gave me a hug. In the dream, she had dark blond hair, and was a bit chubby. Later, I obtained a photo of her, I found out she was dark blond, and was a little chubby.

    I look forward to this type of dream, again.

  3. Most people don’t know how powerful their suubconscious is. You simply have to know how to do it.
    .-= hypnosisstories´s last blog post ..Stories about hypnosis =-.

  4. I think it’s fascinating that folks can achieve these kinds of results. As I said before, I never remember my dreams so it would be hard for me to tap into this. With that said, I think you’ve provided me with some incentive to research how I could go about remembering my dreams.

    One step at a time, eh?


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