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My eyes roll when people say, “I had a dream last night and I’m going to write a book about it.” Too many people claim dreams fuel the story they tell but

these are a dime a dozen.  Allow me to explain why “dreamspiration”

(inspiration taken from dreams) cheapens the power of creation and dulls

the magnitude of an original idea.

When you sit at your desk, or on your bed, or wherever you write or paint or practice—you think, you sweat, you scratch out and correct. This process—this struggle—is creation. You have to fight with the page. Pick each word with strict rigor, like selecting an immaculate piece of fruit without blemish. Bleed sentences and weep paragraphs.  Make it worth it—don’t hold back on your readers. This kind of creation demands sacrifice of comfort, character, and frame of mind.

When dreaming, when you are asleep, you aren’t struggling—there is no

battle.  Dreamspiration is a fraudulent, lazy, and sterile way to create.  There is no idea bank out in the ether that grants individuals significant details as they sleep. There is no story fairy that leaves an idea under the pillow of the resting. There is only you and the page.  Having stories handed to you when not even conscious is like finding a dollar bill on the street—still pretty cool but only a dollar. 

Dreams are a release that expel excess emotion. Emotion that should be flowing

hot and fast during the day, wrestling with story and plot. Don’t take the easy way out with a Freudian representation of your hopes and fears.

There is one small moment before sleeping when your mind is completely void

of distractions. Often story breakthroughs happen during this phase.  Keep a pad and pen by your bed to write down the thoughts that come before sleep. But sleep and dream the dreams of the weary writer.

I grew up in a house beside a popular biker bar in a small Canadian town.  Flocks of patrons swarmed there every night of the week through the warm summer months. As a small child, I was terrified of the yelling, the anger, and the language these people spewed as they left at two in the morning. My imagination cranked out ideas of what these people are doing. What kind of intoxicated behavior tore through the streets.  From this terror, Fear Catalyst was born. The fear of things you don’t understand that happen so close to home, in a place you should feel safe

are scarier than any haunted house or cemetery. Real life, real people, and real experiences create stories more gripping and relatable than a frenzied dream, no matter how bizarre it may be. 

 So, what is the solution?

Wake up.

Wake up to the world around you.  Seek for more.  Rip off a piece of your soul and smear it on the page.  Walk outside, run, look at art, listen to music, talk to people; listen to their lives, their pain—take all that in and mold it.  Live your life and let

your waking hours fuel what ends up on the page.  Let your wars be fought

in daylight with ink or keyboard.  Be a creator who stretches rumination

and connects it to reality.

Wake up and write.