As the 2020 Season rapidly approaches, many of us are shaking off the winter rust. You might be working through this year’s Winter Warrior Challenge, attending Master’s School, or looking forward to all the fun events that are being announced, All great options, but I want to remind you of a way you can get involved in the group that will not only help you, but it will also help the group and that’s by contributing to the website!
If you have thought about contributing, but haven’t known what you could do, here are 21 ideas of things you can contribute. Click on each one you’re interested in to learn more.
TL;DR If you don’t want to read about all these great ideas, click here to skip to why I think you should get involved.
1. Add a Journal Entry
This one is a classic. Everyone should know about Fencing Journals, but why not add an entry or two to the website? Journal Entries don’t have to be long-winded dissertations and masterworks. It’s your journal and it’s an opportunity to share what you’re learning about and what’s on your mind. It also doesn’t have to be about fencing. Are you working on something awesome in one of the other groups or life in general? Tell us about it! We’re a community of friends. I’d love to hear about what you’ve got going on in your life.
2. Write Lore/Persona Stories
We all know that Terrasylvae is a treasure-trove of lore and stories. Maybe you’ve got an adventure bouncing around your mind and you want to write about your derring-do’s against Blackkoven or your otherworldly encounter with the Fae? Tell us a tale of one of the Woodland Denizens or spin us a yarn about your persona’s life before they came to Woodland. We are joint authors in this shared world. Every new story adds life to that world.
3. Schedule Events
Maybe you’re a leader and you’ve got some awesome events in the works. We’ve been developing a 4-Stage Process to help streamline the event planning process and help leaders be on the same page together. These events are great opportunities to build camaraderie and to experience what the group has to offer which is a community and a family.
4. Make a List
Lists are awesome! They’re easy to digest and can focus on just about anything. Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone made a list of the 7 Best Ways to Survive a Melee? What about 4 Hidden Paths You Didn’t Know in Woodland? If you sit down to make a list I’m sure it won’t take long before your brain is overflowing with ideas.
5. Teach with How-To’s
Terrasylvae loves to promote learning. We are constantly sharing our expertise with one another and learning new skills. Want to learn how to sew? Head over to Company of Broderers. Want to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow? Check out the Rangers. We’ve got people who fence, who fight with sword and shield, who write, who game, who paints, who crafts. The list goes on and on. Every person has some expertise to share, so why not make a How-To? Shay recently did a video tutorial on How to Tape a Sword Tip and it’s a great example of shareable knowledge.
6. Do a Q&A
Do you have a question? Do I have an answer? Maybe? Someone probably does, so let’s find out. If you’ve got a burning question, consider doing a Q&A and recording people’s answers on the website. For example, go ask five people their opinion on fighting with a cloak and see what they say. Write down their answers and share what you can conclude from it. Whatever question you can think of asking, I’m sure someone else has had the same question and would love to know the answers too.
7. Document a Case Study
There are times where people dedicate a lot of time and energy into studying something specific. Maybe you’re studying under a master or making observations on how everyone feels about melee. As you dedicate that time to studying, why not share what you find with others? Just imagine what we could all learn if we compiled all the cool things we studied individually together.
8. Share Quotes
Silly or serious, we all say some pretty cool things. Maybe you’re in the middle of a lesson and your instructor says something profound without even realizing it. Throw that up on the website. Let’s make an archive of quotable Terrasylvan-isms and see what wisdom we can glean from the random words that spew out of our mouths.
9. Conduct an Interview
Terrasylvae is filled with interesting characters. Have you ever sat down and just picked someone’s brain? I can only imagine how fascinating it would be to hear individuals speak about their thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects. Think about someone in the group and think about questions they might have interesting answers to. Go ask them and record what they say. Who would have thought we could add a little journalism into our Woodland Realm!
10. Post a Review
There are a lot of things that you could review in the group. Maybe you want to review the quality of particular equipment or brands. You could easily share your recommendation on things or ideas that people might find useful, but wouldn’t know about. You can be an expert and help people know what is best or share things they should consider.
11. Compare a Thing or Two
What if you compared two seemingly unrelated things? I’ve compared apples to oranges to Ferraris and have walked away enlightened. Could you compare what makes Castille Armory different from Darkwood Armory? What do two different fighters have in common, but also what makes them different? Why would you want to study Capo Ferro instead of Thibualt or vice-versa? We’ll never know until you start comparing them, listing pros and cons, and pointing out what makes them unique.
12. Round-Up Stuff
Similar to lists, a round-up is simply finding a bunch of useful stuff and putting it into one place. If you have some time on your hand, you could round up the best confidence-boosting TED talks and put them on a single article. Now when someone needs a boost of confidence, you’ve already done all the searching for them and they just have to go to one place. How nice of you to do that!
13. Rant about Your Opinions
Now, this is one you could have a lot of fun with. I know you have an opinion about something, so why not share it. Tell me why the movie you saw yesterday was the worst ever. Rant about how finishing each other’s sandwiches is an inexcusable sin in script-writing. Share your opinions with others and spark up a debate. It’s all in good fun because everyone is allowed their opinions, but they’re so much fun to discuss.
14. Share a Success Story
Writing about your recent successes can be really uplifting. As a community, we want to share in your achievements and would love to hear about the amazing things you can accomplish. Share your journey and inspire others to keep going and keep working towards their own successes too. There is nothing wrong with talking about the cool things you do.
15. Share Your Failures and What Not to Do
What if you could help someone avoid some of the mistakes you’ve made? We shouldn’t be afraid of failure because those are some of the greatest learning opportunities you’ll ever find. It may seem counter-intuitive but try writing about things that didn’t work out the way you thought or how things when up in flames. If we all knew that a particular melee strategy didn’t work, maybe we could discuss why and come up with ways to improve it. Together we can take failure and find the silver lining.
16. Set Some Goals
Goals are important. They help us keep track of what we want to do and provide ways to get us there. Since it’s the beginning of the year, what if you set a goal and shared it with the group, and then fill us in on how things are going. Share your victories and defeats. Tell us how you adjusted things that weren’t working and how you feel at the end of it all. Talk about your journey and I know others will learn from your example.
17. Publish your Research
Part of learning is doing research. Seeking out what others have learned and putting them together in your own way. Dubhglas, for example, has published some of his own research into Thibault and his teachings. As you research leadership, crafting techniques, books, fencing styles, or whatever, consider putting what you find up on the website so others can see it too.
18. Draw a Diagram or Chart
If not writing, what about drawing? Have you ever considered making a diagram of a particular Melee Strategy or charting out all the fencers and their preferred choice of weapons? What could you learn when you chart out bits of information into a visually digestible format? Maybe the more visual learners in us all will finally grasp a concept that has only been written about.
19. Post Photos/Videos
Speaking of visual things, why not share some photos or videos? We’ve all got phones, some of which have better cameras than professional photographers do. When you are sitting down at practice, why not snap a few pictures or film a short video and share them? Ja’ika has a ton of excellent videos that he has posted to YouTube and man, are they fun to watch. So much to glean from and enjoy.
20. Show off your Handwritten Notes, Sketches, Brainstorms or Art
What about people who prefer the feel of pen and paper and abhor the keyboard? There is nothing stopping you from taking notes, doodling a few sketches, and scribbling a brainstorm before posting it up on the website. If you’ve got a scanner, you could scan in those pages or just take a picture. I find it a lot of fun to see how people think in their own handwriting and it’s a great way to document stuff so there isn’t a fear of losing your precious pieces of paper.
21. Chronicle the Group History
Finally, why not jot down a few details from some of the events you attend? You’ll find that just a few dates, times, and some of the cool details bring back a lot of memories when we have a chance to be nostalgic. If you’re anything like me, you can’t remember much after a few weeks have gone by, but when someone writes down the details I have a much easier time bringing things to mind.
How This Will Help You and the Group
What a bunch of cool ideas, right?! The possibilities are endless and it’s as easy as just picking one of them that sounded interesting. But how is this going to help you and the group?
Well, I understand that the website is unfamiliar territory for many people and seems inaccessible. Even the thought of sitting down to write an article can be scary and anxiety-inducing. I get it, but I have found that when you take the time to contribute back into the group, you get more out of it. As you ponder on your amazing chosen subject(s), you’ll spend more time thinking about the group and you’ll generate new thoughts. You’ll learn more and you’ll feel more deeply about what this group has to offer. It will stop being just something you do on the weekends, but a venue to express yourself and to grow. It has helped me and I know it will help you too.
Additionally, the more people who contribute to the group’s pool of collective knowledge, the richer and more vibrant the group will become. Variety is the spice of life, as they say. Terrasylvae is a community of people and thrives when there are many different voices joining in. Things get awfully bland when only one person is talking. So if you want to help the group, add your voice. Speak up. Get involved. You know more than you think and there is so much the group can learn from you specifically.