Our dreams allow many things to play out. Sometimes a repressed memory, sometimes a current worry, sometimes a fantasy, among many other things.
At times I have trouble falling asleep, so I will make a story for my mind to build in my sleep, assisting a dream state that draws me into sleep. Since I have started writing, I will use this same technique to build stories in my subconscious.
As I plot out different stories, I will write down ideas I come up with that fill in the world. When I feel like I have enough if these ideas, I’ll start an outline. If my outline seems full enough, I’ll start writing.
Now before I continue, let me say, I am a restrained perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect, but I know that’s not how the world works. You cannot have all the answers before you start, otherwise what would be the point of starting the journey to begin with? You will also never make anything without flaws, otherwise there would be no future lessons.
The thing is, no matter how much I try and prepare for writing, I always miss something. Plot holes, character background, world building, characters I didn’t see I needed, there’s always something I’ve missed, and always a lesson to learn.
One thing that has helped me immensely is dreaming. Either REM sleep or day dreaming. Sometimes when I am stuck on a particular scene, I will just start day dreaming like when I was a boy. The big difference is that instead of stories with no rules, as they were when I was a boy, I have rules set for the world I am building, the characters in it, and the story they live through.
Those rules keep the day dream on a certain course, I will keep correcting my imagination with things like ‘That won’t work’, ‘That conflicts what I already have’, etc. sometimes my day dreams produce better material than I already had, so I have to go back through and adjust everything.
But that is fine with me, if it makes the story better, I don’t mind the extra work. When I have the story built in my head, I can write 3000+ words an hour, so a rewrite isn’t a big deal.
Conversely, when I don’t have the story built in my head, I write about 500 words an hour, because I have to continually stop to build the story. I have tried to skip those empty spots, but when I go back I end up rewriting after the spot I skipped. Either the story isn’t flowing right, or the characters made a choice that change who they are, which invalidates the story.
So that’s my advice for the week, if you are stuck in your writing, look for answers, in your dreams.