Dream Journaling: Mind Map, Margin Notes, Details

When it comes to keeping a dream journal there are many options. Some people have linear brains and prefer straight left to right writing (like this page). Others need something more creative, or circular.

If you fall into the latter category a dream mind map might be perfect for you. There are many ways to do mind maps and you can probably invent a system that works well for you. Here’s one way to do it:

The gist is that you put your key concept in the center. Begin by writing the title and date of your dream in the middle of the paper and draw a circle around it. I always start by drawing a line straight down (about an inch) from the circle. I then write a short description of the first scene and draw a circle around it. From that circle I draw more lines, somewhat like spokes on a wheel, and then record free associations OR continue to record various scenes, elaborating on the people and objects and themes.

When I’m done with the first scene or series of scenes, I move to the right and draw another inch long line from the center circle. I write the second major scene and draw a circle around it and start over again.

This system works well if you want to free associate meanings of the themes, objects, colors and image.

You can incorporate different colors, images, shapes, and symbols to convey different meanings.

Left or right margin for notes
When recording, consider leaving a wide left or right margin in your journal so you can jot down thoughts later on (interpretations, observations, symbols, puns, etc.)

Record Details at the top of your page
It can be helpful to keep track of dream themes at the top of your journal page. For instance, I record objects and subjects in detail so I can easily flip through my journal and find all the dreams I had about a particular person, animal, color, etc. At the top of my page I note the

  • Animals
  • Numbers (I make special note of things that show up in multiples, like “two tigers”)
  • Colors
  • Time of day
  • People
  • Location
  • Mood
  • Action
  • Elements (earth, air, fire, water)
  • Weather

About the Author:

Amy Brucker helps people heal their ancestral wounds so they can free their purpose, passion, and inner power. She offers a one-on-one, private healing/mentoring program Healing the Ancestral Wound. See link "Work with Me" on main menu for details.

Create a Dream Journal: Ideas to Help You Get Started

The best way to begin working with your dreams is to record them on a regular basis. If you do not have a dream journal I suggest buying or making one. Finding a journal that suits you is akin to finding the right traveling shoes. Sometimes you have to try on many versions before you find the right one.

Simple and Easy

Spiral or perfect bound notebooks
A simple and inexpensive way to record your dreams is to use a pre-bound (spiral or perfect bound) notebook. Many drugstores and paper supply stores, including places like Target, carry a wide variety of designs in many colors with sturdy covers.

Loose Leaf, Lined or Plain Paper, 3-Ring Notebook
Another simple technique is to use loose leaf paper and a 3-ring binder. The beauty of the 3-ring option is that you can use lined or unlined paper in a variety of colors and textures. A 3-hole punch is necessary unless you purchase pre-punched paper. With this system, artistic pieces of odd sizes and shapes can be included, too. But, you will have to have holes in your journal pages.

Pre-Made Dream Journals

Hard and Soft Cover
Most book stores carry elaborate journals with covers made in leather, vinyl, linen, or colorful papers. They come in hard and soft covers, with lined and unlined paper inside, and may have enclosures, book marks, or pockets. The beauty of this system is that when you have filled the pages you have a nicely bound book to protect your dreams.

Artist’s Sketchbook

Similar to the pre-made journal is the artist’s sketchbook. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and bindings.

Black hard covered journals run about $10-$20, depending on size, and usually contain plain white paper. Their covers can easily be decorated using collage and something like “Mod Podge.”

One of my old journal covers (to the left) has a collage of magazine images with a layer of Mod Podge over it.

How to create a Collage Cover


images (from magazines, cards, postcards, photos, scrapbooks, etc.)
glue stick
Mod PodgeÒ
paint brush for glue
smooth stone, spoon or roller for print making

Arrange images on the cover of your journal and glue in place with a glue stick. As you glue, smooth the images with the stone, spoon or roller to ensure each image sticks to the surface and that the air bubbles are eliminated.

When everything is glued in place, let the glue dry before brushing Mod PodgeÒ over the entire collage, ensuring all images are covered. If you plan to decorate both sides of your journal, only do one side at a time. Mod PodgeÒ is sticky and takes a few minutes to dry thoroughly. Let the collage dry fully before turning over.

Adding Mod PodgeÒ will protect the images and help them stay intact longer than if you simply glue the images to the surface. Mod Podge is fairly durable, but can peel with a lot of wear and tear.

Fabric Cover

You can also put a fabric cover over a pre-bound journal. There are many book binding books with directions on how to do this.


Making Your Own Dream Journal

If you’re feeling creative and inspired, you can make your own journal. Here are a few books to help you get started:

Bookworks: Books, Memory and Photo Albums, Journals and Diaries Made by Hand (Hardcover)by Sue Doggett
Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques For Making Beautiful Books, Journals & Albumsby Shereen LaPlantz
Making Journals by Hand: 20 Creative Projects for Keeping Your Thoughts (Paperback)by Jason Thompson
The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books: Gabrielle Fox (Paperback)by Gabrielle Fox
Visual Chronicles: The No-Fear Guide to Creating Art Journals, Creative Manifestos and Altered Books (Paperback)By Linda Woods and Karen Dinino

Typed and Audio Recorded

Some dreamers find their handwriting too difficult to read so they type their dreams shortly after waking, or record them into a digital audio recorder and then transcribe them later. I’ve discovered that there are advantages to doing this. One is that in the typing process many layers of meaning may be revealed. For most people, however, the audio recording and transcription are unnecessary steps that can feel daunting and may cause a person to become discouraged.

About the Author:

Amy Brucker helps people heal their ancestral wounds so they can free their purpose, passion, and inner power. She offers a one-on-one, private healing/mentoring program Healing the Ancestral Wound. See link "Work with Me" on main menu for details.