Sorry, the person who usually posts in this space on Mondays is in Edinburgh, Scotland today (or Edinburgh, UK, depending on one's preference). But he did leave this note for you just before he went to the airport:
Paul McCartney says "Yesterday" came to him in a dream.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm truly a creative person. I have never had one useful dream in my entire life.
Oh sure, I dream. I have the same mundane anxiety dreams as everyone else, like the one where you're headed for the big show or the big meeting or the big something or other and you realize halfway there that you've forgotten your pants. You'd think after the third or fourth time, that would be a tipoff you're asleep (When did I ever go somewhere and not notice on the way out that it's sorta drafty below my waist?).
I even have some dreams that I think are relatively unusual. There's a genre of dream I have where some artist I admire in music or the stage or something is about to perform and asks me to come and sit in because they need help. I call these my "ego-out-of-control" dreams, and to bring myself back to Earth, I make it a point to play my guitar through an amplifier that day so I can remember just how bad I am.
But a dream that became something I could use? A story point or character moment that came to me while my mind was riffing on its own? Never. Not once.
Man, that sounds great. I wish it would happen to me.
Writing is hard work. It doesn't look like hard work, which is why so few authors will let you watch while they're in the throes of it. Someone just sitting there, staring at a blank screen, looks more like he's not working than virtually anyone else who is in fact working.
It's not the writing. Don't ever let anybody tell you it's the writing. That's the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what to write, and I don't just mean the next major plot idea or a new character to introduce. I'm talking about every page, every paragraph, every scene, trying to determine exactly how to get where you're going and do it in an entertaining fashion. Assuming you know where you're going.
The possibility that such answers, such pearls, such gifts from above, could simply come during one's resting hours, while you're not even trying, sounds like a scam to me. It's like one of those things that you see in cheap commercials during baseball games (the only time I'm not skipping commercials) that looks like it could really help, but turns out to be the same pile of plastic you bought the last time in a different shape. Plus shipping and handling.
So I've given up the idea that I might somehow be given a great story idea in my sleep. I've resigned myself to the fact that my dreams are dull because, hell, I'm asleep when I'm having them. And I no longer dream about dreaming something up.
Unless I decide to write a story about someone going to a big meeting without pants...