I once dream journaled for a stretch of time in 2013, and I recently read some of the journal entries again. They were so bizarre, but also made me curious to see what my dreams are like right now. Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold has helped me get back into dream journaling. I like that LaBerge and Rheingold break dream journaling down into easy steps. Before committing to dream journaling once more, I noticed that I only remember the most impressionable parts of a dream: a bizarre action, a bottomless emotion, an intriguing atmosphere. I want to see how these all come together and have been fascinated with how the subconscious produces such interesting yet fleeting content.
Also, dream journaling is such good content for my novel. With more dream journal entries, I’ll be able to pinpoint some of the key elements of how my dreams are constructed and replicate that for the protagonist, Mina. It’s hard to capture the choppiness of a dream; the way that settings morph into each other, strange emotions come up, and unbelievable things happen disguised as normalcy.
WAYS TO HELP REMEMBER – It’s recommended to write down your dreams right when you wake up at any point in the night, but that’s not easy for everyone to do. I recommend staying still in bed for at least 15 minutes in the morning and not checking your phone notifications right away. Recall what you dreamed about and write it down in a notebook next to your bed or on the notes page on your phone. I often write down the main parts related to my dream and will fill it in throughout the day when I remember something new. I tend to remember something and tell myself to write it down later but then I forget about it. So, it’s important to be active about writing things down quickly. The notes app on my phone gives me the quickest access to my dream journal. I know some people who straight-up can’t remember their dreams in the morning, though, and that’s so valid!
CAPTURING CONTENT – LaBerge and Rheingold write, “If you remember only a fragment of a dream, record it, no matter how unimportant it might seem at the time.” This has been super helpful because it reminds me that I don’t need to capture a lengthy dream scene. They also note to “cling to any clues of what you might have been experiencing and try to rebuild a story from them.” While I write down my dreams, I try to think about the sequence of what happened, describe the setting, note any names of people I see, and consider if I was feeling anything. I also try to focus on details that seem normal when I’m dreaming but are actually really strange when I write them down. If there’s a scene that’s especially fuzzy, where I can only remember a zoomed-through version of the events, I try to write down at least one thing that happens or describe the atmosphere. Sometimes, there’s embarrassing content in my dreams and I try not to gloss over that when I’m retrospectively describing details in my dream journal. It’s all important content!
I happy to say that I’ve been dream journaling for the past 2 weeks. I was more consistent in the beginning, but now, I make sure to at least write down impressionable dreams.
- My dreams seem to be a mix of people and scenes related to high school and college; I feel like that’s indicative of this transitional period of my life that I’m in
- The settings and happenings feel like they’re from TV shows and anime and seem to flow into realistic depictions of my life even when everything seems to clash retrospectively
- I tend to go with the flow in my dream even if something doesn’t make sense. Once, a credit card became a GameCube memory card when I swiped it in the card reader? So weird
- I really do think that dreams can give profound insight about the happenings in our lives and nudge us toward dealing with issues rather than avoiding them. They also cause us to reframe our mindset. For example, stress dreams are huge indicators of how we’re feeling in a moment and I take that as an opportunity to explore how I’m feeling
- Dreams are a way to explore versions of ourselves and possibilities of how our lives can go. I think that connects well with lucid dreaming, and dream journaling is a formative step toward establishing lucidity in dreams
- My dreams have felt especially dystopic with their settings and that’s pretty indicative of the time period that we’re living in
Dream journaling has affirmed that I am a story-teller. I’m capable of creating complex and imaginative plot-lines—even if it takes forever to write them in real life. –S.A.
“A scattered dream that’s like a far-off memory. A far-off memory that’s like a scattered dream. I wanna line the pieces up – yours and mine.”– SORA, KINGDOM HEARTS II