Today, I choose to highlight the individual awesomeness of Sue Tappenden.
I came home from the office today and found the envelope of Schroedinger’s Feedback. It was brilliant and life affirming and devastating all at the same time, until it was opened. It was from Sue. Her handwritten notes all over the first draft of my book. It arrived on the International Day of Awesomeness.
Sue and I joined Jessica Killingley’s Bookcamp together in the summer of 2018. She was intending to write what I think of as a “proper business book” and I thought of myself from the outset as the odd one in the group, because I was writing a book about grief. Not that I was actually writing anything at that stage, we were planning. Well, we were supposed to be planning, but I was going around in circles.
Jessica took pity on a small number of us who went through her first course and didn’t want to leave but weren’t ready to join the mastermind. It felt like we were the Musketeers. We listened and chipped in for each other, invested ourselves in each other’s work. Sue and Jessica helped me figure out what I was trying to achieve – bloody vital before you write a book!
I wanted to write the book that I wished had existed for somebody to give to me, so that I did not feel alone in my not-the-fairytale-love-story-type-of-widowhood. I wanted to write a book that was honest about the awkward moments, the shitty moments, the ugly crying and the sparkly unicorns-dancing-on-rainbows-recovery that was possible. I wanted to write a book that would help people.
I didn’t have a course to turn into a book, I had my own life experience. It was scary. And as it turned out, writing it was a therapeutic process. Sue and Jessica have held my hands, nudged and shoved me onwards. Sue has been incredibly generous with her diplomatic sanding of my jaggy bits. She may not even know that she’s done it, but Sue has shown me my sharp edges and helped me soften them.
She volunteered to be one of my test readers, and I knew I wanted to hear what she thought of my draft. I decided it was done when I knew I needed to step away and get comments before I re-read it. This period of anticipation – otherwise known as “shitting bricks” – is tough for the author, but I think it is actually much tougher for the trusted confidante who is formulating the feedback. The sense of responsibility is huge. And when the book is as soul baring as mine is, there is an added delicacy to the process.
I will sit down tomorrow, for Wednesdays are my writing days, and read through all of the scribbles and absorb them, and feel the love with which I know they have been penned.
On Thursday I have a feedback meeting with Ann, and on Tuesday a feedback call with Nina. Then I will have three sets of feedback to sit with before I tackle the second draft. I am so blessed to have these phenomenal women to call upon.
Today, International Day of Awesomeness, belongs to you Sue. Thank you for being with me from the first time I opened my mouth to say what I was showing up for, thank you for being so bloody vital to my healing and for all of the hours you have put into helping me with this book. I love you missus xx
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