Why Talking About My Book Is Like Talking In My Sleep

Do you catch yourself talking in your sleep?  You wake up, and you’re in the middle of saying something.  You’re partner asks you what you said, and you blurt out, “I need to drink iced tea in the shower so the dog stops barking.”  Moments ago during the dream this was an absolute truth, but in waking life it makes no sense.

This is the sensation I have when talking about my novel.  When I give someone a synopsis, it feels utterly ridiculous coming out of my mouth.

A girl with divine origins nurses the mad King of a kingdom that has been devastated by war.  She is the curse of her people, yet she has the power to save them.  The maniacal leader of former slaves hunts her down for reasons she doesn’t know.  Her closest allies are a war veteran and a pair of giant twins.

What kind of book is this?

Talking about my book is harder than writing it, and for a long time I have made little mention of it to other people in my life.  (Parents, aunts, and dearest friends, my humble apologies).  Only a few close people knew about it, and six years later I am that person who is “writing a novel.”


If I tell people about it, then they will ask me what it’s about.  When I explain what it’s about, the story makes as much sense as if I were talking in my sleep.

I realized that if I don’t believe in my book, then nobody else will.  This is hard to do in the thick of the writing process when so many things can go wrong.  As a creative I am already filled with self-doubt and nagging skepticism.

What if this is garbage and nobody reads it?  What if I spend years working on this and it’s a waste of time?  My god, what if this is a waste of time?

That has been my biggest fear.  It occurred to me that I could spend years writing this thing, and it would never see the light of day.

I finally accepted that whatever happens, happens.  I had to write this story, and I had to finish what I started. An unfinished novel and all that effort down the drain seemed like a bleak future.  Better to say that I did it and failed than to give up and fail anyway.

At a recent blogger meetup, I came out of hiding and told complete strangers about my book.  I only got a few strange looks, but I know that the right reader is out there.

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3 thoughts on “Why Talking About My Book Is Like Talking In My Sleep

  1. It’s amazingly difficult to wear your heart on your sleeve this way. People either ask if you’ve been published or think you’re “cute” and dismiss you. A number of my co-workers have offered to read my book; but I think they’re expecting a rom-com and not gritty fantasy. It’s not for them.

    That said, there are people out there who will love your book and be genuinely interested. Other writers are a great place to start, and if you find folks you can swap manuscripts with so much the better. There’s a massive support system out there.

    1. That’s really good advice. Leaning on other writers is a great means of support. They have been down that road as well and have lessons to learn from. I recently joined a local writer’s group that meets monthly, and I hope to learn from others and share experiences. Thanks for reading!

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