On Writing Articles
by Dagonell Collingwood

Recent discussion on the Rialto (an SCA computer bulletin board) has prompted me to write. One poster noted, "Unfortunately, editors can only publish what they receive. But given the level of talent in the SCA, it is a real pity that more of us don't submit stuff." I've been giving this discussion, and others like it, some serious consideration. I'd like to share my conclusions in the hope that it will encourage more people to submit articles.

In my opinion, part of the problem is that people tend to be modest about their abilities and knowledge. It's sort of a spin-off on Cariadoc's maxim about letting the best become the enemy of the good.

Suppose, for example, that you are the very best whatzit-maker in your shire. You have a great interest in making whatzits and you've even written a little how-to article for your shire newsletter for beginners who might like to try their hand at making their own whatzit. BUT, you know that while you are very good for a shire whatzit maker, you are decidedly not as good as the gentle in Big Barony who taught you to make your very first whatzit. And he knows that he's not as good as Master So-and-so who has a Laurel for whatzit making.

So the result is that nobody writes articles, because every one who knows enough to write an article knows someone who is more qualified to write that same article. And someone who is supremely qualified to write articles isn't writing articles because either their nose is buried in dusty tomes at the library researching how historical whazits were made at a particular place and time, or else they're entombed in their workshops designing better whatzits still. Bottom line, no articles get written.

We all have to remember that being Sherlock Holmes may be a wonderful thing, but it's the Dr. Watsons who get everything written down for posterity. ;-) To write articles, we don't have to be the very best the field has to offer, we just have to be someone who's interested in sharing what they've learned with others.

[mailbox] Comments to: salley@niktow.canisius.edu
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