Monday, August 26, 2013

Harnessing Your Dreams Into Creative Energy: Why It Could Spark Your Writing

By Christina Freitas

Last semester, I enrolled in a one-credit writing practicum at my university entitled Dreams and the Subconscious In Writing. It seemed quirky, a fun way to entertain my writing mind, and it turned out to be a phenomenal course, one I would take again and again if I could. Tapping into my dreams for fuel to drive forward my stories turned out to be a stimulating and rewarding experience. And it springs to mind now as I leaf through the pages of Rainier Marie Rilke’s The Inner Sky: Poems, Notes and Dreams.

This translation features many previously unpublished works in a dual language format: on one side, Rilke’s native German, on the other, beautiful translations from Damion Searls. Juggling reality and the fantasies created not only within our minds, but also within our dreams, these pieces speak volumes about how even the smallest of images can spark intense introspection, unearthing stories still blooming beneath the weight of our everyday reality.

Exploring your dreams, peeling them open like fresh oranges in the morning, is actually incredibly rewarding. People often discount dreams, claiming they hold no resonance, just a jumble of images collected from your subconscious with no real rhyme, reason, or meaning. Some people may not remember their dreams to begin with, so their somewhat empty dream life may seem meaningless from the beginning.

But Rilke’s explorations suggest otherwise. His inspirational words point to truths and meanings that can be gleaned from anyone’s dreams, however minute or ridiculous, if they are so inclined. Even the most incoherent dreams can actually harbor inner clockworks of their own which may rival, or even surpass, the humdrum sensibilities of the everyday.

It may serve as little comfort, but dreams can even help us cope with our fears or lingering traumas. Our subconscious may work diligently through dreams, though they often appear as nightmares, to offer resolution where in our waking lives, we stumble through obstacles again and again. And sometimes, if you dig deep enough, your silliest dreams can even foster a creative firestorm on the page.

Naturally, there's a catch. You have to remember your dreams to draw creative juices from them. It helps to keep a dream journal, for one thing, and to be diligent in writing down your dreams the first time you wake up. Don’t give yourself five extra minutes because those initial images and emotions associated with your dreams will start fading the moment your brain returns from its subconscious wonderland to the tick tock mentality of reality.

Write, draw - record your dreams however you see fit!
And if you have trouble remembering your dreams at all, one tip our professors gave us – and don’t laugh, because it actually does work for some people – is this. Drink a little water before going to bed and say to yourself, I will remember my dreams tonight. Once you wake up in the morning, repeat the same drinking process and begin writing down your dreams. I've tried it, the method works. And I've had incredibly vivid dreams ever since.

So remember, dreams are creative stimulants, and they're yours to play with. You can bend their rules, assert your own, and transform them into something beautiful, dark, fantastical, explorations of your subconscious self. They’re your dreams – bring them to life! Leave us a comment below or join us on Twitter @GodinePub. For more information on The Inner Sky check out our website.

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