Midnight Inspiration

Writer's Clock

I have a tendency to get good idea just as I am falling asleep. I know I should get up and write them down, but most of the time I convince myself the idea is so good that I can’t forget it. Then I will wake up in the morning knowing I had a great idea … and won’t be able to remember it.

Last night was NOT one of those occasions. I actually managed to drag myself awake enough to write the ideas down.

This morning, I was not disappointed. The two ideas I wrote down are relevant to the Steampunk novel I am writing, and both ideas are useful (one is nearly clever). One idea about the characterisation of a secondary character, and the other idea is about using correspondence between characters to foreshadow a major plot point. Yay for me and my muse!

I wonder if those ideas you get before going to sleep are like dreams. If you don’t write them down and make an effort to remember them, they fade away like snow on a stove. I kept a dream diary for a while, about fifteen years ago, simply to get some insights into my subconscious. (I was having a lot of nightmares.) I can still remember the dreams I wrote down in the diary, but I have no idea what I was dreaming about last night.


I sometimes have been woken up at night with inspiration so strong I can’t get back to sleep. Does this count as a dream? Or is it just my subconscious working overtime on a problem until it comes up with a solution.


Filed under Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Genre, writing, Writing Career

2 responses to “Midnight Inspiration

  1. I often mention to anyone curious (school kids, my students (when I *had* students)) that nearly half of my books (published or otherwise) have sprung entirely from a remembered dream.

    It is a well known story: The ‘invention’ of the sewing machine. The final detail came to the chap in a dream. (The hole in the *point* of the needle)

    I have deliberately exploited the human brain’s tendency to have genius idea when it is nearly asleep. I guess it’s about it being relaxed, unfettered to any specific task, and thus free to associate (see what I did there?) wildly diverse fragments.

    i believe that is what makes creative people exactly that – the ability to ‘mash-up’ wildly diverse ideas, images, associations, song lyrics, forgotten childhood memories and probably also ‘forgotten’ dreams.

    POW! That flash of genius. (I’ve had a few.)

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