Wake up! Inside a dream…

Writing can affect your dreamlife in the strangest ways. When I was writing about synaesthesia for Breathing in Colour, I had lucid dreams in which I experienced the mingled perceptions of synaesthesia, even though I don’t have the condition in my waking life. Now I’m writing about a man who suffers from moving nightmares in Dreamrunner, I’ve had incidents in which I wake up acting out a dream movement, like raising my arm in the air or half sitting up in my sleep (See my IASD 2009 paper on the On Writing page).

It’s astonishing and at the same time understandable to recognise the extent to which our creative writing can shape the content of our dreams. My short story The Kielius Fish, itself built around a mixture of dreamed and imagined imagery, prompted a whole string of dreams, lucid and non-lucid, about leaping fish. Once I dreamed of struggling to save a golden fish that was ‘drowning’ in the sand, and I wrote this into a poem. Dreams spark writing, which spark dreams, which spark more writing (the dreaming mind doesn’t allow anyone the luxury of claiming writer’s block). With lucid dreams, the scope for dream creativity seems to extend even further; the dreamer ‘wakes up’ inside the dream and can consider her writing projects while engaging with her imagination in one of its purest forms.


Chris Olsen and Kira Sass from the US have produced a stunning documentary on lucid dreaming, in which beautiful images accompany dream anecdotes, and researchers share their insights and their most formative and powerful lucid dreams. It’s called ‘Wake up! Exploring the Potential of Lucid Dreaming.’


Something to try: When you next realise you’re dreaming, try thinking about your current writing project in the dream; call up one of the characters to talk with, or ask the dream environment for help with some element of the plot. Be ready to be surprised by what materialises!

3 Responses to “Wake up! Inside a dream…”

  1. Davyd Farrell, August 29, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Hi Clare
    I recently came across your site through lucitopia and the Wake Up video! I thought you might be interested to know of a large scale lucid dreaming and OBE conference that our company is organising later this year called Gateways Of The Mind –
    We are lucky enough to have Robert Waggoner presenting along with 4 other amazing speakers all talking on the non-physical realities from 3 perspectives; Western/science, Toltec/Shamanic, Bon/Tibetan Buddhism.
    If you are interested to know more please feel free to email me.
    Many warm regards

  2. Clare Jay, August 30, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Davyd,
    thanks for getting in touch. I already heard about the conference as Robert W told me he’d be presenting there. I’ve checked out the web page and it sounds fascinating. Have you heard about the Regional Conference for the International Association for the Study of Dreams that’s taking place on 7th September in Bern, Switzerland? There’s a lucid dreaming track on the first full day which might interest you. I’ll be presenting on ‘The Lucid Artist: Lucid Dreaming as a Transformative Element of the Artistic Process’. If you’re going, see you there!

  3. vitali, February 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    The drawback with dreams, nightmare or night terrors tends to be that they are simply all purely connected to the individual meaning it’s got with the person who have the dream. Only two folks have a similar dream but result in totally different things as regards to one another. So you must keep an objective balance when reviewing the material inside your dream.

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