Tag Archives: call for papers

How to Write an Academic Abstract in ten easy steps


You read that Call For Papers from Fussypants Academic Conference Society Association X some time ago.  Months?  Weeks?  Days?  No matter.  That’s was just the starting point.  What’s next?  Glad you asked.

1. Fill the time between your discovery of the CFP and the deadline with consideration, musing, reflection, rumination, cogitating, and contemplation.  Avoid general malaise and anxiety.  Surely you had a moment of inspiration when you read the CFP. You’re not procrastinating by not putting it down on paper; you’re allowing your inspiration to age, to achieve a certain fine vintage.  No shame there.

2. In the hours before deadline, focus carefully on the requirements. Open a new document.  Format your new document.  Whatever font you used for the most recent proposal is probably not good enough for this one; choose wisely.  Take some time.  Is this a Garamond kind of group?  Does the conference emit a kind of Ariel vibe?  A lot depends on these considerations.  Brew another cuppa.

3. No doubt they want a c.v. of some length.  This is an excellent time to revise your resumé.  Perhaps this organization deserves something rather different.  Who knows, you might be more successful with bold-face headings rather than italics.  Better try them out.  What other formatting bells and whistles does your software offer?  Investigate.

4. Everyone knows you can’t write in an unproductive space.  Clean your desk.  Straighten your files.  Remember that picture in Dwell with the shelves arranged by color, so that the books made a rainbow? Give it a whirl!  This might really heighten the productivity of your space, benefitting not just this abstract, but so many in the future.  Investment!

5. Recall PHIL101: Mens sana in corpore sano.  The ancients knew to have a sound mind in a sound body, and who are you, modern academic, to counter their wisdom? Walk the dog.

6. Wonder if the group’s midnight deadline to submit is midnight in their time zone, or yours?  And where are their headquarters, anyway? Find out it’s many hours east of you.  Panic.  Rename your panic as creative juices.  Feel the power.  Discover that the submission process is via an online interface.  Despair.

7. More coffee.

8. Test out some ideas on the paper. Message your friends: are these good ideas?  And how about lunch next week?  Catch up on Twitter.  And just a few minutes of Flappy Bird to clear your mind.

9. Blog.

10. Finally unload a paragraph in 7 minutes flat.  Spend the next 42 minutes–right up to deadline–carving it to meet their word-count limit.  Feel good about the fact that you spent 3 hours sprucing up your c.v. earlier today, since that is already a PDF and ready to go.  Really, you are so good with time management.  Submit paper; celebrate your accomplishment.

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