Day 10: Dream Time Writing

Sleeping Gypsy, Henri Rousseau, oil on canvas, 1897

Day 10: Writing at night isn’t working for me. I liked the idea of letting go of my worries, but I learned something interesting–I’m busier than I thought at night. There is always one more thing to do, one more question to ask, one more email to send. When I do go into the studio, it’s a precious time devoted to exploring the topic for the next book.

The worries, which always got written on index cards and left in the studio, really do fill up all the time I want to spend writing at night.

So it’s back to writing in the morning. I’m glad I discovered this. I can spend the time early in the morning when I am waiting for the cats to finish patrolling the yard. Since I’ve started writing, I’m having more colorful dreams. And I’m back to remembering them more. Writing down dreams helps me remember them, remember parts I’ve dreamed before, and helps me figure out what they mean.

Writing them down in the morning helps keep the details clear. A few days ago, I dreamed I walked across a winter landscape and into a wikiup. The walls and roof were being held up by the people in this group–tall and curved, like people trees. From my vantage point, you  all were holding up the world. I woke up then. I love the image, and as I wonder about the meaning, I’m fascinated at the idea.

The first peoples of Australia say that our dreams are our real lives and our waking time is not the experience of life. This should make morning journaling interesting.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer who is working on re-establishing the habit of morning walking meditation and regular journaling–using words as a spiritual practice.

19 thoughts on “Day 10: Dream Time Writing

  1. I have also noticed my dreams becoming more active and vivid. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to recall any specifics of them by the time I sit down to write in the morning. Tonight I will put a notebook and pen next to my side of the bed so when I DO wake up and recall anything, I can jot it down right away before it disappears into the recesses of my brain.

  2. Wikup – I had ro research that one!
    It’s summertime here and I live on the beach – bliss for walking at dawn or dusk as the wind dies down. I’ve found it useful to write, walk, then write again.
    I’ve found my dreams have become more positive since I began writing in the morning: writing at night I found too much of the day creeping in and I’d go to sleep with too much stirring around in the back of my mind.

    • The write-walk-write routine is popular, and it seems to be a really good way to get the day started and focused. Living on a beach must be wonderful. I live in the desert, so a beach is a long way off. After trying writing at night, I, too gave it up. I was doing too much at night to make it work.

  3. I think if it were lighter in the evening I’d have more ambition to write, but I’m finding it hard. I stop before I;m ready to stop because I;m too tired. Maybe I’ll do mornings.

    And it must be the season for dreams. I had a long dream but only remember a tiny part of it. I was alone in a warm room, needed to take off my coat, so I took off my ‘coat’ of turquoise fleece, as in think heavy sheep’s fleece, which was more like skin with just my face showing. I unzipped it (no zipper) from the top of my head and peeled it off. Underneath I had another turquoise fleece skin on, but I was thinner, and my face was younger. ??? Wow!

    And I was doing so well with walking, but with the gray days — I’ve hit a brick wall. substituted meditating in a warm water walking pool or in my dark living room with the Christmas tree lights on. No outdoor walking for now…

    • You’ve found an excellent substitute–the warm water walking pool can be a meditative place as easily as a sidewalk. In the cold, I think I’d love the pool myself. I love that dream. It sure sounds like it has a lot to say to you.

  4. I’ve learned I can’t write at night, either. Too many distractions and I can’t get my mind settled to it. So far it’s working for me to write in the morning. I’ve even gotten up early a couple of times to be sure I’d have time for it (that’s dedication because I am sooo not a morning person).

    I haven’t noticed any dreams recently. I’ve been in the habit of writing down anything significant (anything that lingers upon awakening I consider significant) since my early 20s (a long time ago), so I’m pretty good at catching them. I have paper handy in case I want to write in the middle of the night. It has been very helpful.

    So far this week I’ve been able to dodge the bad weather for morning walks–it’s been very dark and gray and drizzly here but no heavy rain. I dug my boots out so that even if there’s snow (predicted) I’ll be good to go. It helps that things are more relaxed at work this week and next; I can be more relaxed in the mornings. (i.e., come in late)

    • It sounds like you are looking at all the positives instead of the negatives. That alone is a big skill for success. And yes, while the holidays are a big rush, there is also a wonderful time in the last week of the year to let some work lift off you.

  5. I’m often happy to leave my dream world behind in the mornings, yet it has things to say to me. Yesterday I dreamed my partner had arrived home in a car & parked it in the drive (we have neither of these things!) with lots of big boxes. They were a new flat pack kitchen. He explained that as he’d bought them it was only fair that I fitted them! He and my adult step-son (who doesn’t live with us in real life) went off to the pub expecting to return later to a new kitchen and a nice dinner!!
    You’d think this had some obvious interpretations for a woman at this time of year, but hang on a minute. I don’t do the cooking here, no one expects me to be responsible for the kitchen at all. Yet it was so vivid, and sort of funny that I woke up laughing at the absurdity of it.

    • Dreams are often an oblique step into our own thoughts and emotions. If I were working with you on your dreams, I might ask the following questions: What do you need in your life that you might not want to deal with now? What stereotypically female roles do you feel are being pushed on you? How are you handling the roles? The pushing? What is it that you feel you must do that you don’t want to? Now, those are questions I’d ask–and see what direction they take us in. I’m loving the clarity of your dream!

  6. I’be been really liking your posts about creative writing. I filled several notebooks with morning pages some yeas back and they really helped clear the head of the nonsense.
    My dreams are always vivid and the situations sometimes happen months after I have dreamed them, sometimes good sometimes not so. those first Australian folks probably had it right. certainly my dream world is more pleasant and amusing than my “real” life…
    wishing everyone joyful holidays and a prosperous and creative new year.

    • Hi Phil, great to see you back–hope you aren’t covered in snow! Once I start writing, my dreams get clearer and more meaningful. And no, not always pleasant. I like that yours are prescient. Pretty focused, I’ll bet.

  7. I hope it’s not true about the dreams being more real. I had a bad dream last night and it woke me up, it was frightening. I don’t usually dream much, but I must have been hot. It seems like I have bad dreams when I am too warm. I walked this morning but didn’t have much to write down today. I am more concerned about my little dog this morning, he is 2 and last night he pottied in the house for the first time ever. Yikes! I don’t want that to become a habit, maybe he was mad at me….who knows….blah blah blah. I’m babbling, everyone have a great day!

    • Isn’t that what writing is about–putting down all those thoughts and worries and sorting them out as we go along? Dreams can be vivid and sharp or vague and teasing. Bad dreams aren’t always sinister, but being overheated is a sure way to nightmares.

  8. In the deep midwinter dark, I failed to walk or meditate yesterday. When I woke in the night, I decided I could do a self guided meditation and walk in my own bed. Not quite the same, but I decided it was better than nothing.

    I walked a little while along a pebble beach, then climbed some steps up a high cliff. At the top, I found a house with a red tiled roof. Inside the house, I found a dark, warm room, with a regular background sound “duh dum; duh dum”. I realised I was back in the womb. I curled up to experience it. My mind wss saying “this will be calm and peaceful”. But it wasn’t! As I started to connect with my REAL womb experience, I realised Baby K was flooded over and over with adrenaline and testosterone, leaving her jumpy, alert and hypeevigilant before birth. She learnt to lie still and wait for the next explosion.
    I decided I had an opportunity for a different experience of womb like holding. I relaxed into the warmth and dark, and wrapped myself. Suddenly, I heard a voice. “I am your world. I always support you. I will never let you fall. You are safe.” i felt my body relax and uncurl in the bed. I let myself be safely held.

    It was an incredible and moving experience.
    I slept more deeply than I have for months.

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