“No one told me,” I sputtered. Apparently, I wasn’t allowed to reuse the blurbs from my hardcover edition, but I didn’t know. I didn’t know! My pulse quickened and I tried to catch my breath.
“Well, it’s too late now.” Her voice dripped with rage and, even worse, disappointment in me. “It’s going to press with nothing on the cover.”
I tried to speak, but the words would not form. Sweat poured down my face and back. My paperback would surely flop. Who would buy a book with nothing on the cover? My writing career was doomed.
Then I woke up, shaken and sweaty, but oh, so relieved.
It was just a dream.
A wave of relief washed over me as I remembered my paperback doesn’t launch for nine months. I buried my head in my pillow and tried, without success, to go back to sleep.
My writer brain has been in high gear these last few months as I launched my debut novel Waiting for the Night Song. Bookstore events, interviews, Q&As. I’m also working on deadline for my second book. These are good problems to have, but I constantly feel like I’m about to forget something big. That fear manifested into my blurbless paperback dream, which may sound silly, but it really rattled me.
The morning after, I shared my dream with writer friend Sarah Penner (The Lost Apothecary,) who then told me about her dream from the night before. She dreamed that our mutual friend Nancy Johnson (The Kindest Lie) had sent her a new manuscript to beta read. Sarah panicked because she didn’t have time to read Nancy’s book, but Sarah didn’t want to let Nancy down. Sarah, who is working on her own new manuscript, enviously wondered how Nancy could have possibly finished writing a book that she just started working on.
I don’t have any credentials in dream interpretation, but I’m guessing Sarah, like me, was feeling crunched for time, worried about forgetting something, and guilty for not being able to get to everything in a timely manner. And, of course, we always have our eyes on someone else’s paper.
I checked in with some other writer friends and have developed a theory that our brains keep writing (or at least think about writing) when we go to sleep. The resulting dreams usually fall into one of three categories: The Stress Dream, The Flash-of-Brilliance Dream, or the Living-in-Your-Book Dream.
The Stress Dream
Based on my very unscientific poll of some writer friends, the Stress Dream seems to be the most common, which doesn’t surprise me. Writers tend to be high-strung, deep thinkers. We internalize fears and anxieties and stew on them, even while we sleep. [Read more…]