Tina Roth Eisenberg's 8 Steps for a Creative Life

Infographic by Sarah Tolzmann based on Swiss Miss talks at Alt NY


  1. It took a long time for me to discover how important it is to "stay away from the people who like to dislike things." Sondheim talks a bit about that in the second volume of his collected lyrics, really making the point that he does require of people that they keep their opinions to themselves at some points (opening night, for instance) or they just can't be his friends anymore as it hurts his process too much. It was hard jettisoning people from my life that saw themselves as professional truthtellers, the first ones to always say that the phone you got isn't as good as some other brand or why you're wrong for liking this book or that movie. But, I'm certainly a happier writer for it.

  2. I learned pretty early on to be clear with friends and family that when I ask for their opinion about creative work, I am looking for their praise. We should seek critical perspectives from professional sources - from those we're close to, we should often only ask for encouragement.

  3. Amen to both of you, and that response. What a great story about Sondheim--it feels like it gives me permission to only ask for certain kinds of feedback. I don't know how many times I've given a story to a friend or family member, and only after they give me all sorts of criticism do I ask: "how much short fiction do you read?"

    The answer, invariably: none.

    The point being that we need to choose our audience as well as our creative companions, I suppose.


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