Dreams and the Life of a Writer

God Quotes Writing

While reading one of CS Lewis’s nonfiction books, Of Other Worlds, I came across this quote regarding his writing process:

“One thing I am sure of. All my seven Narnian books, and my three science fiction books, began with seeing pictures in my head…At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it. I think I had been having a good many dreams of lions about that time. Apart from that, I don’t know where the Lion came from or why He came. But once He was there He pulled the whole story together, and soon He pulled the six other Narnian stories in after Him.”

Every writer’s process is different (unlike Lewis, I typically don’t begin with a mental image), but I love this quote because it depicts how dreams can impact the formation of stories (plus it talks about Aslan!). While ideas spring up from countless sources, all valuable, my dreams consistently birth new stories. I don’t fully understand how it works, only that God-inspired creativity flows through dreams, and that from them ideas and notions I’ve never consciously considered rise to the surface. Of course, any seed of an idea from a dream must be fleshed out, brainstormed, crafted, and so forth before it becomes a full story, but still, dreams often provide inspiration.

What about you? If you’re a writer, have you found fodder for stories in your dreams? If you’re a reader, does it surprise you to learn the role played by dreams in the creative process?

Comments

  • Ëarwen
    October 29, 2010 - 9:24 pm · Reply

    Hey, Sarah!!
    I LOEV your website. I was so glad to get your comment on my old blog!!! I’m so glad you found me, because that means I found you through yourself and…. yeah, well, anyway, I LOVE your blog/website!! Right up my alley!!
    I hope you come around Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden a lot – I’m going to haunt this site!! ^_^
    ~ Ëarwen

    • Sarah Sawyer
      November 1, 2010 - 5:35 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Ëarwen!! I’m glad you stopped by…and glad you enjoyed what you found. 🙂 I look forward to chatting with you more both here and at Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden!

  • Virginia Ripple
    March 3, 2011 - 11:33 pm · Reply

    How interesting. In a lot of ways, my story ideas come in mental images first — a scene here, a snatch of dialogue there. I can’t say I’ve literally dreamed any story before I wrote it (though I sometimes have nightmares about a story when I’m editing :P).

    I like what you said “that God-inspired creativity flows through dreams, and that from them ideas and notions I’ve never consciously considered rise to the surface….” I have a section in my book, Simply Prayer, about how dreams are an important way God can speak to us. I believe God often sends us guiding messages through our dream symbols to help us solve problems we’re having. For instance, I recently dreamed of a flock of owls and hawks flying toward me, their eyes gentle and wise, and a pride of lions stalking me, begging me to “come play with us.” The message I got (after a lot of digging into what those symbols mean to me personally) was that I shouldn’t let what others say about needing to get into ebook publishing “right now” push me into releasing my WIP before it’s ready, nor should I try to rush the learning process of writing the best manuscript I can.

    Anyway, I agree that dreams can be powerful things of creativity. Thank you for providing such a thought-provoking post.

    • Sarah Sawyer
      March 7, 2011 - 6:04 pm · Reply

      I’m always intrigued by how creativity flows for different writers. I usually don’t see actual images (like Lewis did), but I certainly experience interactions between characters running through my head at the most unlikely moments, and bits and pieces of dialogue, conflict, and character insight play out as I go about daily life.

      From Scripture, I believe it’s clear that God speaks through dreams, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences. Like you, I’ve had times when God has given me insight, encouragement, and understanding through dreams.

      And even though the editing process can be grueling, I know you’ll find it worthwhile in the end…as it sounds like you already know from experience. It’s so worth taking the time to get it right. I speak that as someone in the midst of an edit that seems never ending! 🙂

      Thanks for chiming in, Virginia!

  • Mariela
    August 26, 2015 - 3:51 am · Reply

    I simply want to say I am just all new to blggoing and truly enjoyed this web page. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You certainly come with awesome stories. Cheers for revealing your website page.

Leave a Comment