You know the saying, 'write drunk; edit sober'? It comes by for a few reasons. Namely, I believe, because when you write drunk you lose that all-too-familiar caution. You're suddenly very willing to write your guts out, ichor and all. Restraint is replaced with a drunk, cocky need to share your thoughts onto paper. But, when alcohol just really isn't your forte, here is a different tip I'd like to share...
Anyone that knows me well, or even briefly, will know I really can't handle my alcohol. A
cruiser gets me tipsy; a shot gets me to sleep. Or I throw up. I really can't handle it. But, sadly for me, it's many of the famous writers of this century and past that seem to write best when they're tipsy. Edgar Allan Poe, to name one. That's why I recommend a 'dream journal'.
A dream journal has much of the same effect on your writing as it does with you inebriated. Your dreams don't hold any quarrels against you: they'll spill right out and reveal everything, both the gold and the flaws.
Sometimes, I'll get some rubbish ones like this:
Folding the sheets --- green-grey sheets that are thick like cardboard --- into perfect squares.
(Not very excitable and quite the reinforcer of gender stereotypes...)
Other times, I'll get something I like a bit better (mostly revolving around zombies and shark-swarmed waters thanks to my horror-movie addiction).
For example, I thought this one was interesting:
Man in love with a vision of a sharp-faced, perfect brow-game woman (who is a sort-of-evil ghost). Man leads other men by horse to the corpse of this woman --- her ghost is in the background. Man breaks down and shrieks in mourning for lost love.
While filled with mixed language, superfluous details and missing information, reading this still brings back the strange vision of the dream. I remember how cruel and hostile this woman was, the resolute nature of the man to find her (who wasn't much of a great guy himself), as well as the fog surrounding the forest they travelled through. It gives me an idea to go forward with ---- something to throw myself into writing.
[Image of my dream journal's front page, which was started when I was 12]
Want some ideas on how to keep a dream journal? Here are my best tips:
1. Keep the journal and a pen right next to you when you sleep. That instance when you wake up is the moment you should write the dream down. Otherwise, you'll find you can't remember much of the details when you're less drowsy.
2. Don't worry about being neat. Write fast or you'll lose focus ---- or the words will lose their realness.
3. Probably don't let anyone read it but you. Dreams are weird. People might find it strange if you've dreamt about zombies 90 times in a row, or that you have an obsession with your teeth.
4. Don't forget to give the dream a title! It'll make tracking back a particular dream miles easier.
What's the weirdest dream you've ever had? Let me know in the comments below!