Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing in My Sleep

Once upon a time it was my dream to write novels. I'm not ruling that vision out completely--but it will have to be in the future. Like maybe when I'm retired. I haven't finished any fiction since I had Miss Pink seven years ago. For me to write fiction, I have to have several hours of uninterrupted writing time every day. And we all know that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

 And you know what, I'm okay with that. The world can live without another novel. Teaching and parenting--those are things I can do right now that have both immediate and long-term positive impact on my family and my world. I think I'm a better parent and teacher than I am a writer anyway, and besides, when I do more serious writing again, I think it will be in the nonfiction genre. So...I'm fine with not writing the Next Great American Novel.

My subconscious, apparently, does not agree.

Every so often, I have these epic dreams that seem to last all night long and leave me exhausted when I wake up. Not only am I experiencing the plot twists and scene changes of these dreams--I'm also viewing them as a writer who needs to remember every detail to write the story down when I wake up. If I can just remember everything, I will have an instant best-seller on my hands. So I spend the whole night in intense concentration, crafting dialogue and naming characters, even replaying scenes that I want to change. No wonder I wake up exhausted!

All of which would be worth it if the dream really did result in a good novel. Because my biggest problem has always been in coming up with ideas (a problem; successful writers will tell you they ALWAYS have ideas percolating) so if I had a fabulous ready-made idea handed to me by my subconscious, I WOULD find a way to get it written.

Instead, my subconscious always comes up with something stupid. Trite, cliched, and improbable. I will spare you the convoluted details of what I dreamed last night, but while I was dreaming it, the "writer" part of my brain was thinking, "This is so cool! It's like 'Harry Potter' mixed with 'Twilight!'"

I promise you, I have no chance of becoming the next Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling. I just wish my subconscious would accept that, because it's exhausting to keep writing in my sleep!



  1. As I'm sure you might know, Stephenie Meyer wrote Twilight following a dream she had... so maybe you WILL be the next SMeyer. ;-)

    There's a piece of me that would love to write a novel...but I have no grand ideas either. I once started writing bits and pieces of a chick-lit sort of story (a la Sophie Kinsella or Emily Giffin, that sort of thing), but never got too far with it. I was really inspired one summer and kept writing down ideas as they came to me, I had so many different scenes sparking... but then it just fizzled. Ah well!

    There was no way it was going to be the next great novel anyway, but it was a fun writing hobby while the inspiration lasted.

    The good thing about being a writer, is that you can always do that once your children are a little older -- so keep your dream alive and one day it can become a reality!

  2. I've had those sorts of dreams. They are the most exhausting way to spend a night short of babysitting hundreds of teenagers in a bowling alley with a karaoke room.

    (I've done that.)