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I’m dreaming, right?

at the park

Lots of writing books say not to start with a dream. They say not to end that it was all a dream. They usually say leave dreams out all together. Nobody likes to read about someone else’s dream. Do you think that is true?

On Thursday I told the school director that I wanted to work two days a week instead of four. I want more time to work on finding an agent and making art. It took months to come to this decision. A few months more to act on it. Typically I work from ten at night until one in the morning and get up at six to face everything else.

When do you get to work on your writing? Do you (would you) lose sleep to do so?

The night after I committed to few hours and less regular pay, I dream the roof of my apartment was about to cave in. Layers of ceiling peeled away to reveal an enormous metal box held up by one bolt. If it fell in, it would kill everyone at home. On the other side of the room my husband pulled back a curtain to reveal a window I didn’t know was there. “Did you know this window was there?” he said.

“I’ve got to figure out how to make that metal room come down safely,” I said.

No dream book is needed to work that out, I suppose.

Does your work (your writing/art) show up in your dreams? Which side of the room are you in–the side about to be crushed by a rusted, creaking forgotten upstairs room or the side with the window to see the sky?

12 thoughts on “I’m dreaming, right?

  1. I dream about my work all the time. I’m either living a novel’s plot, or I’ve sold a book, or I’m writing or meeting my agent or receiving awards. Sometimes my writing-related dreams have my writing buddies in supporting roles. The writing never goes bad in my dreams.

    Losing sleep…No, I don’t lose sleep to write. I simply can’t write late at night; past about 9 p.m. my brain is not able to make complete sentences. Same with early morning. I’ve been told, “Well if it’s important to you, you just do it.” It’s not a matter of will power, though. My thoughts don’t function that way. I’ve always managed to find other ways to get writing time, even when I had a full-time job.

    • I rarely dream about the story in my work. If I dream about my book, it is to learn it has been lost, read by the wrong person, and drowned.

      I can’t write during the afternoon. Can’t. I can do only jobs like dishes. Things that take no thinking. It has to be in the morning after a shower or at night. But it could be evening. You know, reasonable evening hours. I am a night owl person, but we don’t really live in a night owl world.

  2. I have written stories from my dreams in the past, but since becoming a parent, I don’t get to sleep in long enough to remember a dream. I have to get up and start going right away. But then, I don’t mind building up a world, instead of having it come in a dream.

    I’ve been writing best, lately, in the morning. If I can get an hour or two to myself. But I used to be able to get in some more words at night before I went to bed. Lately I’ve been using the evenings for art instead of writing. Or crafts. It engages a different part of the brain.

    • I have vivid dreams, but I’ve never written a story from one. They don’t make any sense. Sleep seems to be where my brain dumps its stress, not where it comes up with great ideas.

      I do try to be flexible. Except for that evil afternoon time when I feel like a sedative has exploded in my head, I can steal time to write whenever. But I’m 41 and tired of stealing every moment. Honestly, can’t I just have a few normal hours to myself without the guilt?

  3. I think ending on a dream would be bad – like that TV show Dallas, way back in the 80s. Fan outcry over that debacle was astonishing. Starting with a dream though, that can be a good tool to throw the reader off track, as long as they’re let into the “joke” fairly quickly.

    As long as you can get through the window, don’t worry about the big metal box. 🙂

    • Oh, Dallas. Can’t think of dreams in fiction and not have that disaster come to mind. Starting with a dream is probably fine if you know what you’re doing…um, kind of like with any writing.

      I’ll try not to worry.

  4. I don’t dream about my work. I do, however, have a dream sequence or two IN my work. I know they’re not supposed to end your work, and I know you’re not supposed to START your work that way, but I never heard the part about leaving ’em out altogether. I wonder now if I need to redress that issue and find another solution.

    I guess my problem with it is, why CAN’T they be used? If they’re integral to the story and plot and aren’t used tritely, what’s the problem? The television show Medium uses dreams as a major plot motion device in EVERY EPISODE. I don’t understand why it’s okay for TV fiction but not for writing fiction. *Sigh*

    In the final analysis, no one cares what I think. Meh.

    • No meh. What you think is important. You’ve got to care what you think to write! So no meh. I think a lot of rules are not to be taken to seriously. How many books have contradictory rules? Write what you want. Write it as well as you can. Dream.

  5. I’m so proud of you for focusing on finding an agent and sacrificing for your goal!
    I don’t dream about my writing that much– I hope that’s not a bad thing. But I rarely remember my dreams at all.

    Incidentally, are you a member of any professional writing groups? I joined SCBWI not long ago– they have an incredible Austin chapter, and their annual conference Destination Publication was just this past weekend. I met several new YA writing friends (always a rare treat!) as well as a handful of agents and editors.
    I used to be a part of the Writers League of Texas. It’s a great group– they have a really good summer Agents and Editors conference. You may already know about it.
    Meeting and networking with other writers is important.
    Critique groups are important.
    Learning about the business is very, very important.
    Where am I going with this? I suppose getting serious about writing is where I am, and I highly encourage you in your own getting-serious-about-writing pursuits.

    • Not dreaming about your writing probably means you have a healthy attitude towards your writing.

      I’m not a member of a professional anything. I’m sure I should… not quite sure why I don’t… I’ve been to the WLofTexas a few times, but am not a member. I don’t know a thing about SCBWI. And I don’t have anyone to really critique my work the way it would need…

      I’ve been serious about getting words on the page. It is the rest of it that’s been hard. Let’s see how we do in 2010!

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