Deb Sarah’s Dream Notebook

In a recent post, I shared my obsession with use of notebooks for my novels. In short, I keep notebooks all over my house (even in my car, but only for use when I’m parked!), so I can write an idea down before it escapes me. But my very favorite notebook is the one right next to my bed. Oddly, in the moments right before I drift off to sleep, I come up with the most exciting ideas. Sometimes my sleepy self tries to convince me not to sit up, turn on the lamp, and write the idea in the notebook (yep, the same sleepy self that sometimes tries to talk me out of flossing my teeth), but when I do, I’m always so grateful the next day of the half-conscious notes I’ve scribbled on the page.

Sometimes I’ll write a word, a title idea, a quick sentence or some funny character quirk that’s hit me right before I doze off. I also use the notebook to capture ideas that hit me first thing in the morning—though these are more rare. In fact, I wrote my second novel, The Bungalow, while I was in the second trimester of my most recent pregnancy. And you wouldn’t believe the wild dreams I had (pregnancy dreams are notorious!), so I wrote down a ton of things pre-and-post sleep in that phase!

I think that for a writer, paying attention to dreams and daydreams is so important, that’s why I try very hard to pay attention to mine. And, last night before bed, I thought up a fun idea for a character in my fourth book (plot still in progress!), and if I hadn’t written it down in the notebook, it would have been gone forever.

Yay for dreaming!

Do you pay attention to the little thoughts that come to you right before you drift off to sleep?

11 Replies to “Deb Sarah’s Dream Notebook”

  1. I’ve dreamed an entire novel (Stephen King type) in one night, but couldn’t write it down fast enough.
    I love my dreams and sleep too much because I love my dreams. But I’m old; I’m entitled:)

  2. My drawer novel (the first complete book I wrote, currently residing in my desk drawer) began as a dream. A rather disturbing one. But I’m not one to ignore inspiration, wherever it may turn up.

    I still might do something with that novel one day, if ever I can manage to buff out the worst of the flaws. (Or maybe that’s just another kind of dream…)

  3. Stephen King says that if you don’t remember things you meant to write down, they weren’t great ideas. I write them down just in case.

    1. My husband said that same thing to me the other day, quoting SK. But I wrote down the idea anyway, too.

      My biggest problem is trying to read the next day what I wrote down in the middle of the night – my handwriting is atrocious! 🙂

  4. Oh, absolutely. I will find myself lying in bed and having an a-ha moment just before fading off–sometimes it’s a major plot issue I’ve been battling, or sometimes it’s just a line of dialog I just KNOW my character needs to say–and I’ll think to my sleepy self, surely I’ll remember this in the morning–it’s too good–how can I not? Now I know better. I’ll get up and scrawl something on a receipt, otherwise, as you say Sarah, it’s gone. As for dreams, they never have any relation to my writing–which seems odd to me since I spend so much of my day thinking about it.

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