Something amazing happened this week. I’ve finally shared my manuscript with my husband. It sounds crazy but I was saving him for that day in the indefinite future when my book will be almost ready to be shared with the world. I was hoping he could do my final edits. Why put him through it twice? Well, I’m pleased to report that I’ve finally let go of that delusion. I came to realise that if I wasn’t able to share the book with my husband, how on earth would I send the whole thing to agents and publishers? It’s one thing to polish a chapter or two and show it to others; it’s entirely different thing to tidy up the manuscript as a whole.
The act of sharing was truly liberating. He surpassed all my expectations by reading it within few days. Although he loves books, he doesn’t have time to read much these days. Yet he stayed up late or woke up early and used every waking moment to read my book on his phone. He even printed it out and bound it nicely. It almost looks like a book already.
Of course, I’ve got to do a lot of editing. For example, apparently, I hover instead of hoovering sometimes. Some chapters resemble short stories, so I may need to connect them better.
But overall, it sustained his attention and he craved for more. This week we spoke about things that were memorable, and I had a chance to ask:
‘So, what do you think about …?’
It’s so great to have a sounding board to discuss the book. I don’t feel lonely anymore. He keeps coming up with book titles now that he’s been immersed into that world.
The fact that he enjoyed it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve written a bestseller. For starters, he is biased. He is not a literature buff. There are few memoirs he’s read. His interest was fuelled by ‘seeing’ my world more closely, including people he has met during our visits to Azerbaijan and places he has visited with me.
It still feels deeply satisfying. I can’t believe it took me so long.
Now I need to get on and have another round of editing.
Earlier this week, I noticed how I became super productive. I wrote three guest blog posts, and started on the fourth one. I offered three 1:1 sessions to support other women’s creative process, as well as processed my mum. I even managed to have a bit of pamper and enjoy a relaxing massage.
When I examined my actions closer, I realised though satisfying, the flurry of activity was driven by my resistance to edit the manuscript. I was willing to do anything but… So I did a bit of inner work to clear the blocks. Some of them were ‘old friends’: fear of exposure, fear of offending loved ones, fear of failure. Underneath, there were more subtle ones: if I succeed, I’d be selling out my people and I’d be profiting from betraying my country. Crazy, right? You just never know what’s really getting in the way of finishing your project.
As soon as I sent loving compassion to the part of myself that’s been secretly struggling, I felt lighter. I realised that sharing my story may draw attention to my country, but ultimately it was for the better, because young girls have been struggling there for decades. It’s time to bring more attention and consciousness to the plight of women in Azerbaijan.
The next day I was overflowing with love. I had more energy for life, for editing, for my family. Another layer is shed. Dear manuscript, I’m on my way. Thank you for being so patient with me.