"While the Inklings were quick to praise one another, they were also highly critical. To use a phrase much loved by [C. S.] Lewis, the Inklings were 'hungry for rational opposition.' For what good is a creative group without critique, debate, and the clashing of perspectives?"
Diana Pavlac Glyer
Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings
In case you're wondering, a bandersnatch is a fierce fictional creature from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. How is it relevant here? Famed author C.S. Lewis once wrote in a letter about his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien that "No one ever influenced Tolkien - you might as well try to influence a bandersnatch."
The Inklings were a group of authors who met regularly to discuss their works with each other. Lewis and Tolkien are perhaps the most famous of the group, but all of them were acclaimed and published authors.
What author Diana Pavlac Glyer notes throughout her book is the constant praise and criticism they gave and received, and how influential this group was in developing each author's work. Finished works were not part of the discussion. Rather, ideas and works in progress were shared, shredded, and supported toward an improved product. For example, Tolkien confessed that the Lord of the Rings would have never been completed without the help of C. S. Lewis and this group. Tolkien often got lost in the details and Lewis's pragmatism kept him focused on the story. Even a bandersnatch can be persuaded from time to time!
What's my point here? Over the past few weeks I've been interviewing sports people for FSU COACH Live. One of the consistent themes within these interviews is the value and necessity in finding a support group of people who can help you.
Here's what we need to realize: for growth to occur, there needs to be both encouraging and critical feedback. Your support group shouldn't just consist of those cheering you on, but also those who can question your decisions, provide honest feedback, and make your work better. As Gyler notes, sometimes that feedback hurts. However, that feedback makes our efforts better.
I've had more than 100 peer-reviewed academic journal articles published. Noteworthy is that these works included more than 100 different co-authors. Why? Because I needed the guidance, critical feedback, and support of a group to make my and their work better.
So, let me ask you this: who's in your corner that will push you, encourage you, question you, and tell you what you need to hear rather than what you might want to hear? Do you have that person or people? Reach out if I can help you in any way. It's what I do!
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