My summary: This book is about becoming who you are meant to be and doing what you are meant to do. It’s divided into three parts. The first part looks at Resistance: the thing that stops us from doing what we’re meant to do and can be summed up by one word, fear. The second part looks at how to combat Resistance: by Turning Pro and doing our work. The third part looks at the Muse: the opposite of Resistance. It was a quick and easy read that was packed full of great advice and insights that have helped me in my writing journey. Pressfield doesn’t mess about; he can be blunt and straightforward, giving me the slap I needed to get to work.
What I got out of it as a writer: So much! The biggest thing: to just do the work of sitting down and writing. Some other things: to not fear failure and to fail, because it means you’ve done something; to give the work my best, and then let it go, knowing my job is to work but I’m not my work; to not worry about how people will respond to my work, because as long as I know I gave it my best, I’ll always be okay with it; to write because it’s in me to write and that’s all I have to do. It gives me courage to write, to do the work of giving it my best, and to let my writing be seen. It’s entirely valuable to me, a must-read, but not necessarily one I enjoyed reading. I looked forward to reading it for the practical tips I could get out of it but not to get lost in the writing.
What I got out of it for life: I know now that my only job is to write. That is my work. I don’t have to worry about succeeding or failing as a writer. I don’t have to worry about people loving or hating my writing. I don’t have to worry about getting my worth, identity, or wellbeing from what people say about my writing. All I have to do is write those words that are inside me and want to come out. All I have to do is show up, do the work and give it my best. What happens with my writing after I do the work is not up to me; I don’t control how people respond to it. The only thing that is within my control is doing the work. It’s incredibly freeing to think this way and for that I am thankful for this book.
My recommendation: If you’re a writer or want to be a writer, read it! If you want to pursue a creative vocation, read it. If you want to pursue any vocation, read it.