But I do write from my dreams, a lot. I have always treated the things I write as if they have an existence outside me, and that I am merely discovering them instead of creating them. Often, when I wake up and start remembering a dream, I find I am instantly starting to redefine and shift the story from it into a shape that will add to something I'm already writing, or discover that I have a brand new story idea.
As a bonus, it takes a certain amount of pressure off me to believe that the story is, somehow, already finished and that I just have to pull it out of my head to have it on the page before me. In this way, I adhere to the "foregone conclusion" premise of creative writing: it already exists, I just have to remember it. That way I never get bogged down thinking I can't finish something.
A practical example
In order to demonstrate how an idea culled from a dream can become a story, I here present a dream � a hoary, cobwebby old one from 1987 � and the short story that I wrote based on its images and the feelings it roused in me. I've also provided a commentary. Feel free to NOT read that if you choose. It will tell you much less about the story that I'm sure you've already thought of yourself.