Dreams are a very natural part of life. They can either amaze you or frighten you, motivate you or let you down. But usually you wake up and are like "wtf!" Dreams are very important to me, especially as a creative minded person and a writer. They don't lack in entertainment either. They spice up your sleep experience.
Dreams can be a very important tool for a fiction writer. You can use elements or storylines from dreams to influence a plot or base a story upon. Being able to do this though does depend on your dreaming skill. Say, if you dream very infrequently, or do not remember them but a few times a year, dreaming would probably not be a good writing technique. Having very vivid dreams and remembering them often will present you with rich material that begs to be written down. Being able to lucid dream(especially on command) is the the ultimate in dreaming ability. With lucidity you have your own adventure, experience it, and then write it down. As you know, dreams can be very random. Sometimes when you are using a dream for a story idea, some details are too ridiculous for the story to be taken seriously. So feel free to use your creative license to change some things. Because all that really matters is that you write the story how you want it and people like it. But if you change too many things, then you would have to go from describing the story as a dream you wrote down, to being based on or inspired by a dream you had. In reality though, no one can actually prove that you're lying about a fictionalized dream because they can't get in your head.
Dreams throughout history have had different philosophies associated with them. From being messages of the gods to predictions of the future, their meanings have been subject of debate. My personal philosophy: Dreams are merely a continuation of our daily lives in an alternate reality. Our consciousness travels there during sleep and takes up another body in that alternate reality. This body could resemble yours, another person's, an animals, or object. It can also switch bodies. Your consciousness in these bodies can interact with other people and things. Sometimes other people's traveling consciousnesses(usually just a part) can drift into your dreamscape. There your interactions with them by you is fully influenced by you and their interactions with you by them are partially influenced by their consciousness and how they'd interact with you in non-dreaming life. Yet they do not usually remember interacting with you. This is a way for you to discover partial truths about other people in your dreams, which they did not tell you in outside your dreamscape. It only works if their consciousness truly did drift into your dreamscape. But you must make sure to subject anything you learn from a person to heavy interpretation.
I have kept a dream journal for a little over a year now. I used up almost two notebooks. This has been the most steady writing I have ever done. Lately I have slacked off due to my busyness. But keeping a dream journal is a very effective tool to improving your dreaming skills. (Note. I keep my dream philosophy and my talking about dreams and their application to writing separate.) The more often you write down your dreams, the more you start to remember them, and the better your dreaming skill gets. Experts recommend you write down your dreams in the morning or after you wake up so you get the freshest and most complete description possible. The way I do it does not follow the experts. The first reason is that I'm no good in the morning. I enjoy my sleep and I'm not going pop out of sleep and write down a description of a dream. Secondly, and the more important reason, when I write down my dreams, I'm not writing them to be exactly what happened. I have to translate the jumble of thoughts into fictional prose that follows a storyline. Also, I like the narrative to somehow flow from the previous dream as a continuation of a long saga. It takes a day of thinking about and deciphering to turn a dream into a story. Then I write it down in my dream journal. Mon journal de rêve. I like to refer to it as my dream novel because the stories connect and the ammount i have written is probably enough to be a novel.
Many people discard dreams as nothing to think twice about, but dreams, whether you agree with my philosophy or not, can inspire works of art and literature and can even impact the world!
*No longer my current dream philosophy but I am not rejecting this theory. Edit 4/21/15