Cultivating Interview 9
You have suggestions at the end of each chapter titled, “Doing what they did.” How do you hope to see readers applying these suggestions?
I wanted to show that the Inklings deserve our attention not only because Lewis and Tolkien were really interesting but also because they were very successful. I didn’t want readers to miss the underlying principles that made them great. That’s why I wrote an application section at the end of each chapter and an epilogue that offers step-by-step suggestions for those who want to create their own network of support.
One of those suggestions says simply, “Start small.” That’s what I’d like readers to consider. Are you working on a story or article? Email it to a colleague and ask for feedback. Feeling discouraged about a long-term project? Set up a coffee time (every Monday afternoon? alternating Thursdays after dinner?) to meet with a friend and check in. Considering a new venture? Gather a few others in the same line of work and see if a monthly problem-solving meeting might energize your efforts. Preparing a sermon for Sunday? Gather a group of friends in your living room on Friday afternoon, present it, and ask for advice.
The most important thing, I think, is to find ways to connect. There’s a chilling tendency in our culture for us to become more and more isolated from one another. That’s not good. We pay a price: our work isn’t the best it can be, our assumptions aren’t challenged, our understanding isn’t expanded, our gifts aren’t discovered, our talents aren’t honed. But you know what? There can be an even bigger price than that. When we withdraw, the price is loneliness and heartache. It’s just not good for us to be so alone.
This question-and-answer is part of a larger interview conducted by Lancia Smith with Dr. Diana Glyer in January 2016 on “Cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.” To read the full interview and gain further insights into creative collaboration, click here.