Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Writing Will Mess with your Dreams

I've had some of the most vivid and disturbing dreams of my life in the past few months. And I know what the problem is.

I take a shower before I go to bed.

Did I lose you?

Maybe I should explain.

I get some of my best ideas in the shower.

I'm trying to scrub the germs that are the hallmark of motherhood from my body. Trying to let the tensions and frustrations of the day disappear down the drain.

When it hits.

A scene, often with complete dialogue, starts flooding my mind. And every now and then, it's perfect. I've been known to hop out of the shower after one of these glorious moments and spend another hour at the computer. I also have a waterproof notepad in my shower, so when the perfect sentence or phrase or metaphor strikes, I can write it down without bothering to dry off.

You think I'm joking.

I'm not.

Anyway . . .

All the writing of the past month has led to dreams too bizarre for words. Dreams I can't get a handle on the next morning, but that leave me groggy and dazed as I drag myself from my bed, wondering why my brain can't just work on this stuff during the daytime.

Recent dreams have included Frodo Baggins, Angela Hunt, DiAnn Mills and Aslan.

You think I'm joking.

I'm not.

Most of my dreams are weird, but sometimes, the dream hits a little too close to home.

Many of you have asked if I've heard anything about the Operation First Novel contest, and as of this writing, I haven't.

But boy did I ever dream about it. I was outside in a line of people. We stood like pageant contestants and I realized that not only had I not made the top five, or the top ten, but I hadn't made the top twenty-five. Or the top fifty. Out of 140 entrants, I hadn't been in the top 50%.

And I was crushed.

Even though I knew it was only a dream and that the people at the Christian Writers Guild are far too polite to embarrass those of us whose writing still isn't up to par, I felt humiliated.

It bothered me all day. Bothered me for the better part of a week. Especially when I read a blog post where the first reader for the contest said that the margins were supposed to be 1.25" all around.

Mine were 1".

The horror!

When I told my husband about it, he looked at me for a half second and then, without mocking or cracking up at my lunacy, he said something I already knew, but had in the midst of dreams and despair, forgotten.

"Do you really think a 1/4" margin discrepancy could prevent you from winning a contest if God wanted you to win?"


He's right a lot. It really irks me when he's right.

(I hope he doesn't read this - he'll be impossible to live with.)

Besides, I'm not supposed to care if I win a contest or publish a novel.

That's not why I write.

But sometimes, in the midst of contests and revisions, it's easy to start thinking that if you don't win, then you haven't succeeded. If you don't get published, then you've been wasting time.

I wonder if my Abba shakes His head in exasperation as I mope around, feeling like a failure, when what He sees when He looks at me is someone who gave her best.

I wonder if He wishes I would remember something I forget far too easily . . . that He gave me the dream in the first place.

And He is more than capable of seeing it fulfilled. In His time. In His way.

images courtesy of


Erynn said...

I love you, friend. I love knowing that there is at least one more person out there not only AS crazy as me, but crazy in the exact same ways.
And you have to tell me where you got the water proof pad, because I have that same issue ALL the time!

Lynn Huggins Blackburn said...

Erynn - I love you, too!!! I ordered mine from, but you can get them off Amazon. Just google "AquaNotes". It's a little notepad with a pencil and it's designed for the shower :-).