Inspiration can strike at any moment – even when you're asleep.
Many creative breakthroughs have come in dreams bringing us great songs, books, inventions - even a way to hold a golf club.
I was lucky enough to have an idea for my children’s novel ANTics while in The Land of Nod. Here are 10 famous people inspired by their dreams:
1. The Beatles’ "Yesterday"
Legend has it that in 1964 Paul McCartney woke up with the tune for the most-covered song in music history, “Yesterday” in his head. He was convinced it was something he’d heard long ago, but after asking all his friends if they’d heard it before he realised he had dreamed it.
2. Stephen King’s Misery
Wouldn't it be great to take a leaf out of Stephen King's book by turning a nightmare into a bestselling novel. King has said the idea for Misery came to him in a dream on an aeroplane. This wasn’t the only dream that inspired the prolific writer. While walking down a country road in Maine, he began to have vivid dreams about four guys in a cabin in the woods that eventually became his novel Dreamcatcher.
3. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Mary Shelley, her husband Percy Bysshe, Lord Byron and a bunch of literary friends were having a writing contest. Mary had writer’s block until she went to bed and had what she described as a terrifying “waking dream” about a hideous man being brought to life by a machine. And the rest as they say is history ...
4. Christopher Nolan's Inception
Director Christopher Nolan’s own lucid dreams were the inspiration for his 2010 psychological thriller Inception, which involves a corporate spy (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) who steals dreams from the minds of CEOs and business tycoons.
5. Jack Nicklaus’ Golf Swing
Sporting legend Jack Nicklaus found a new way to hold his golf club in a dream in 1964, which he credits to improving his swing. The six-time Masters champ worked out that his game was off because he was gripping the club differently in his dream than he was in real life. Maybe I'll dream how to hit the ball another 50 yards. I can only hope ...
6. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The story goes that Stevenson wanted to write about the dual life of a man, but was stuck on how to go about it. No ideas were forthcoming until a scene popped into his mind in a dream and a masterpiece was born.
7. Elias Howe inventor of the modern sewing machine
Howe (1819-1867) had an idea for a machine with a needle, which would go through a piece of cloth, but he couldn't figure out exactly how to get the needle to work. Then one night he dreamed he was taken prisoner by a group of natives. They danced around him with spears and he noticed that their spears all had holes near their tips. When he woke, he realised this was the solution he was after. Within a few hours, he had created a needle with an eye at the point.
8. The Terminator
A vision of a cyborg killing machine came to director James Cameron in a nightmare while fighting a 102-degree fever. The robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie The Terminator proved a big hit at the box office for Cameron, who came up with the idea for Avatar while sleeping as well. Get some more sleep James - we want more brilliant films.
DNA’s shape and structure eluded scientists until 1953, when Dr. James Watson had a dream that made him consider the double helix. According to his alma mater, Indiana University, the dream was of two intertwined serpents with heads at opposite ends, though other accounts say the dream was of a double-sided staircase.
10. Edgar Allan Poe's Poetry
Throughout his life, Edgar Allan Poe suffered from nightmares and sometimes they inspired his poems and short stories. He described dreams as “a powerful form of consciousness” and wrote several poems about the phenomenon of dreaming.
You can read a sample of ANTics HERE
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep reaching for the stars