In the belly of the beast.

Sep 10, 2021
Kemi Nekvapil holding a book

One of the things that is keeping me ‘anchored’ right now is my writing.

I currently have two writing projects on the go; one I look forward to sharing with you next week, creating a new 6-week online program launching in October.

And the other is my third book in partnership with Penguin Random House.

I wanted to work with a traditional publisher on this book because I knew I needed a team to collaborate and support me to birth this book into the world.

I know some people don’t consider books to be babies and shirk at such nonsense; I am not one of those people. Instead, I find it incredibly helpful to use the experience of giving birth to navigating the book writing process.

As someone who experienced undiagnosed prenatal depression in both my pregnancies and had the incredible experience of two homebirths, I understand the highs and lows of birthing something into the world.

After eighteen months of writing, I handed in the first manuscript to my publisher and editor on June 30.

They both had the manuscript for about a month, which was great because I could focus on creating the online program.

I then received twenty-five pages of structural edits. These were not alarming to me; this was part of the collaboration I said yes to.

But after I read the first nine pages, pages that required me to restructure the beginning of the book completely, I began to feel a little overwhelmed and slightly alarmed.

Not because of the edits themselves, they all made sense to me, great suggestions, but I couldn’t mentally grasp how to restructure because the structure of the first two books was evident to me; this process was new to me.

I called some dear author friends and asked them how they do it, and with any creative process, there is more than one way. So I took all of these suggestions into account, spoke to my incredibly talented and discerning editor, and got to work.

Now I am two weeks in, and I am in the belly of the beast. It is not an unpleasant experience, but it is relentless, just like the early stages of labour.

There are waves of excitement when I read parts of the book, and waves of confusion as I delete, re-write, add and move sentences, paragraphs, and concepts around.

I feel it may feel like this for a while, and I’m okay with that; I know there will be a beautiful birth at the end, and sometimes births take time.

Whenever we take on big projects, we reach the belly of the beast at some stage. It is when many people reassess if the process is worth it, which is an excellent question to ask. And the answer to that question may mean that some will choose to walk away, happy with the lessons learned along the way.

(I think this is where the birth metaphor must end because you can’t walk away in the middle of birthing a baby, though one may want to at certain stages!)

Right now, it’s all about trusting the process, which I do 100%. It is a dream to spend so much time (lockdown time) writing and having a committed team to support me.

If you are in the middle of a big project, and you have asked yourself the question “Is it worth it?” and you have decided, “Yes’’, remember the belly of the beast IS part of the process and an indication that whatever the project, it matters to you.

Keep going.

Wishing you a weekend of the long, slow inhale and the long, slow exhale.

Kemi xxx

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