Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Writing A Good Session Abstract" or "Want To Speak At Connect 2014?"

ICON UK and MWLUG are accepting session abstracts.  Local user groups (DCLUG, NELUG, ATLUG) are always on the prowl for presenters so you are going to have to do a little abstract writing if you want to do some speakin'.

Yesterday I said I would tell you how to write a good session abstract.  Alas...writing session abstracts is one area where, being honest with myself, I am not the equal of others.

In fact, I am the Susan Lucci of Lotusphere.  Sort of.  Worse actually.  You see, unlike Ms. Lucci, who actually did win an award after 19 nominations, I was never actually selected to speak at Lotusphere.

Since the entire time I was submitting Lotusphere abstracts (like ten years worth) I was also a pretty well known View speaker and an award winning Lotus Instructor, in order to keep my personal self worth intact, I have decided to go with the "I just write bad abstracts" explanation for all my years of, what shall we call it, non-acceptance.  But forward...

My plan for today was simple: Link to the other rather more successful abstract writers' blogs.  Kathy Brown beat me to the punch, however, and listed them in a comment to yesterday's post.

Gab Davis on writing an abstract

Paul Mooney on writing an abstract

Kathy Brown on writing an abstract

(Big thanks to Kathy because that saved me quite a bit of Googling!  Kathy and I had quite a chuckle when I told her I was just going to be quoting her after she said she was looking forward to my take on abstracts.)

I actually did get accepted to speak at Connect 2013.  My abstract passed muster.  Yup.  Somehow in late 2012 the spirit of The Bard blessed me with spectacular writing skills and all was right with the world.

Uh, no.  I don't really take credit for my abstracts.  Of course, yes, I actually wrote my abstracts but then I took Wes Morgan up on his public offer to help with people's abstracts.  I sent him my abstracts, he sent me his versions, one got accepted.  Therefore, it is to Wes Morgan that I owe my first (and possibly only) appearance on the Big Stage in Orlando.

Of course, me being abundantly confident in my own writing abilities, I field tested my versions against Wes' version.  The two "field testers" chose Wes' versions over mine.  Both abstracts. Both times.  Russ: 0, Wes: 2.  Yea for me.  So others can possibly benefit from this "creativity in action", I have posted a PDF file with the before and after versions of my abstracts.

So...what's my advice on abstract writing?  Call Wes?  Uh, no.  My advice is use the links above, do your best and get help if you feel you need it.  There are plenty of people who are willing to help if you just ask.  Admittedly the offers of help crank up for Connect but, hey, this is User Group season and the pressure is slightly less so get to writing those abstracts!

It should be painfully obvious by now that sending your abstract to me is not a good plan if you actually want to speak because, apparently, that is something I am NOT as smart as you are, uh, at (did I write that right?)

Tomorrow I am going to riff a bit on the actual speaking part of speaking and I'll make you an offer.