You’re sitting up in bed, the most amazing dream just happened and you have pen in hand ready to right it down. Suddenly, you get a text message and your attention diverts for just a moment. Even though it was just a second, the dream fades seemingly never to be remembered again. Anyone who tries to recount their dreams ends up coping with this on a daily basis, well…at least I do.
So how do you avoid it? Well I’ve picked up a few tricks over the years that I think could help you bring back dreams from the graveyard that is weak morning-memory. I’m going to use a dream of mine that I recently recovered from forgetfulness to demonstrate.
The first step: Use what you have.
Usually when you forget a dream you are still able to hold on to some notion of what just happened. Try and gather the tiny facts no matter how trivial they may seem and make a picture of it in your mind. In my case I remembered that there was a small creature, some small cloudlike structure and the face of a girl I knew from highschool. I put the images in my mind together to create a small creature with that girls face and clouds dotting the backdrop.
The second step: Setting, setting, setting.
This is the step where you’ll find yourself eyes closed head in your hands for a good five minutes but a necessary part of the process. Use context clues from the scattered bits of information you have to make an educated guess at the setting. Anything could classify as a setting from the reaches of space to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. At this stage DO NOT try to rationalize your location, if all the information you have was that you’re surrounded by hot air balloons but you’re in your room ACCEPT IT. A setting does not necessarily have to make sense when it comes to dimensions. In my case I took the clue of the clouds along with some vague sense of “correctness” and hypothesized that my dream took place in the sky at about airplane-height.
The third step: Get your hands dirty
Ok, now you have a brief idea of what your dream was like: WRITE EVERYTHING. Any little disconnected tidbits of information that you may have picked up along the way hold on to and try to connect them to the overarching story of your dream. For me I started by saying “There was a creature with the face of a girl, it was a girl I knew from highscool. Behind her there were clouds and as I looked around I found that we were floating in the sky…” You’ll find that once you start writing the detail that you remembered seems to be much more dense. Even if you just are able to get a paragraph of extremely vague details down a full paragraph of writing will be enough to train you to remember more the next day.
Oh and if it wasn’t obvious, try and make sure that you’re in a quiet place for the 10 minutes that you are recollecting your dream. (Mute the cellphone and turn off morning alarms as quickly as possible before beginning.)
Dream on little dreamers,