16 December 2022
Top ten tips to access writing creativity via dream work from Tzivia Gover
We often think of sleep and dream recall as things that just happen – or don’t – and that are mostly beyond our control. Likewise, we may mistakenly believe that inspiration is a mysterious gift that is bestowed—or not—by some distant muse. These 10 Tips to Access your Creative Muse are part of the Dreaming on the Page approach, which taps into the synergistic relationship between dreams and writing. This approach – and these tips – are ideal for anyone who loves to write in a journal or for publication, as well as for anyone who is curious about their dreams.
1. Prepare for inspiration
Keep a pen and paper beside your bed and jot down any dreams or dream fragments when you wake. Also pay attention to inspiration that arrives with the rising sun. That’s because as you transition from sleep to waking your brain is in a dreamy receptive mode and is primed for novel approaches to problems or creative dilemmas.
2. Honour your bedtime
You don't have to remember your dreams to benefit from the Dreaming on the Page approach, but your experience will be enriched by getting a good night's sleep. Not only will 6-8 hours of shut-eye give you the energy you need to write, but you can also reap the creative harvest of the dreaming mind. So, honour your muse and commit to a reasonable bedtime.
3. Tune into your dreams
The dreaming mind delivers cinematic narratives to you every night, whether you remember your dreams or not. Set an intention to remember your dreams. Simply write down the words: Tonight I’ll remember my dreams. Then in the morning, write: Last night I dreamed … and pause for a moment to allow a dream or even a fragment or image form a dream to come to mind. Be patient, it may take a few days, or even a week or two to see results.
4. Learn the language of your dreams
Spend some time with your dreams by writing them down or talking them over with a friend or dreamwork professional to see what inspiration and guidance they might contain. Don’t try too hard to interpret them. Start by describing them, and trusting your intuition as you ponder questions like, This dream reminds me of … This dream makes me feel … etc.
5. Banish the blank page
If you don’t know what to write about, turn to your dreams. Write your dream with line breaks, as if it is a poem. Or, re-write a dream in the third person (using 'she', 'he' or 'they' instead of 'I') and fill in the missing details and transitions to spark a piece of flash fiction, or the start of a longer story.
6. Buy time
I’m always surprised by how much students in my workshops and classes can write in in a short amount of time. Ten minutes in a writing circle can be more productive than an hour of writing time alone. You can replicate this at home by setting a timer for 10-20 minutes when you sit down to write. When the timer sounds, put down your pen and stop. If you’re on a roll and want to keep writing, obey the timer anyway. Take a break, stand up and stretch. Then return for another timed session. This trains your subconscious to respond to the gentle pressure of a timed session—and you’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish.
7. Get out the coloured pencils, scissors and glue
Liven up the pages in your journal and get more insight into your dreams by making a sketch or collage based on your dream, or adding a splash of colour to your writing.
8. Give your dream a title
Think of your dream report as a story or poem and give it a title. This adds a little fun and creativity to the process, and is great practice for giving your literary works titles, too.
9. Get active
Don’t just wait for inspiration to fall from the sky. Ask your Midnight Muse for an assist. Before bed pose a question in your journal that you need help with. You might ask for inspiration for a poem or story you want to write, or a problem you’ve been trying to solve. Then write down any dreams or fresh ideas you wake up with.
10. Live like a dreamer
Synchronicities, or meaningful coincidences, seem to occur more often when you begin to pay attention to your dreams. Be aware of synchronicity and serendipity as you go through your day. By doing so you will awaken a sense of wonder and delight that can make a mundane day a little more magical.
Tzivia Gover is a Certified Dreamwork Professional and the author of Dreaming on the Page: Tap Into Your Midnight Mind to Supercharge Your Writing and other books on mindfulness, dreams, and everyday joy. She explores the intersections between dreams and writing both on the page and in her 1:1 dreamwork sessions, workshops, and classes. Learn more at: www.thirdhousemoon.com