Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Am I Talking Too Much?

Have you ever been with someone who seems to be talking non-stop, but you’re so tuned out that you don’t even notice that they’re speaking, let alone actually hearing what they’re saying? I hate to say it but at times I am guilty of this. My kids sometimes blabber on and on from the seats behind me in the car as I focus on sharing the highways with other drivers and navigating the roads. Of course I don’t always tune them out. I actually relish the fact that they are willing to tell me stuff! I am certain that as they get older and enter their teen years and beyond, I will need to use a metaphorical pair of pliers to pry information out of them. But yes, I have to admit sometimes I am either so focused on the road or on my own thoughts in my head that I don’t hear a single word that they say.

A favorite Weinstein family story revolves around my brother-in-law when he was a young boy many years ago. It seems that quite often, when the family was riding in the car, he would talk and talk incessantly. It got to the point that in all honesty, no one was actually listening. One such time, he stopped himself mid-sentence to ask, “Am I talking too much?”

Living a life as a writer and in particular one who has her first book coming out, I seem to eat, breathe and sleep “YaYa and YoYo.” Not a day goes by that I’m not, at the very least, thinking about my book. Beyond that, I’m writing, updating my Facebook author page, working on my website, Tweeting about the book and things related and so on. I am often afraid that people are going to think that that is all that I am capable of talking about.

Last night I was helping out at a shiva meal (meal of consolation) for my friend and her family because her father passed away. As is often the case in a shiva home, after the evening service, people stayed to congregate and to schmooze. I had the chance to chat with many friends and acquaintances in the community. Over the course of the evening, several different people came up to me and said such things as, “Hey, I just heard that you’re writing a book!” Or “You’re an author? I had no idea.”

Seriously? On one hand, I thought to myself, “Where have you been? Haven’t you been listening to me all this time?” On the other hand, I was thrilled to know that while it feels to me that I am constantly talking about my stuff to the point of being an annoyance, other people aren’t really bothered by my sharing. Or maybe they just aren’t paying attention and now it's me blathering on from the back seat.

To quote Hillel, the ancient Jewish sage, “If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” Putting that in my own personal context, if I don’t tell people about my work, and share my excitement and joy and let them know about it, then who will? However, if I only think about my own things and remain wrapped up in my personal little bubble, what does that say about me? And of course, if not now, when? takes us back to the old adage, never put off to tomorrow that which you can do today (which is why I’m writing this blog piece right now despite the fact that I have several other things that I’m working on. I had these thoughts and I know that if I don’t do it now, I never will. Just look at my blogging track-record!)
It’s a fine line maintaining the right balance between tooting your own horn and sharing your happy news with the world; marketing your book and not focusing on yourself too much.

So, the big question remains: Am I talking too much?