Pressfield on Fear of Rejection


I planted these on my back patio this last week. If I remember to water them (that is a big if, considering I have a memory like a goldfish), they will fill out nicely. I bet you think I’m going to pull in some analogy about growing as a writer here, just like these tiny herbs that will grow healthy and strong with proper care.


Nope. I just wanted to show off my plants. The end.

Actually, I wanted to encourage you if you have not yet read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, put down whatever book you are currently reading and pick this one up. It will change your life as a writer, artist, creative, etc.

One section in particular that has impacted me in the revision process talks about fear of rejection. It’s one thing to admit to people that you’re working on a novel, but to let them read it? That’s a whole different level of fear for me, and probably for you, as well. Pressfield addresses this fear:

“The professional loves her work. She is invested in it wholeheartedly. But she does not forget that the work is not her. Her artistic self contains many works and many performances. Already the next is percolating inside her. The next will be better, and the one after that better still.”

I am finding as I begin sharing my work with others, the whole idea of what’s coming next in my creative pipeline keeps me from getting discouraged. I want people’s thoughts and opinions, but they do not change the will to push on, the commitment to keep moving forward. I will finish this project, and then its on to the next one. This novel is not my life’s work. Pursuing the writing life is my life’s work. It’s silly, but I have to say this out loud to myself:

My value does not hinge on whether or not people like my novel.

I am writing it because I have to, because it is a story I love and feel compelled to tell. Writing it has enriched me personally, and it may enrich others as well, but I cannot let their response be the driving force that keeps me going. It must be something deeper.

Do you find it hard to distance yourself from your writing? How do you work through the fear of sharing it with others? Also, if you’ve read Pressfield’s book and have a favorite quote, feel free to share it below!





6 thoughts on “Pressfield on Fear of Rejection

  1. Dad

    Good reminders. Do I have to drop the book I am currently reading (The Hole in our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung), and begin reading The War of Art? If so, do you have a copy I can borrow…quick! The end of May is coming soon.

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