At Lavacon last month I gave two presentations: one traditional and one…Not. We all know that I like to experiment right? TC Camp, TC Dojo, TC Mastermind groups are my most successful and well known. This time, I decided I would write up three skits and let the stories convey the lessons I wanted to get across in my presentation.

I wrote up three skits:

  1. Bookbrains Anonymous meeting
  2. Richard Simmons inspired DITA Fitness informercial
  3. DITA Cult member induction

I told my story about how I adopted a DITA mindset: How I learned to fight bookbrain and love the topic. And, like all good cult members, I gave tips on how you too can convert to the teachings of Guru D.

It was really fun to do — nerve wracking since it was the first time I’d written skits. But I had some help.

I inducted several members of the audience, including Keith Schengili-Roberts and Tom Magliery to testify at the BA Meeting. (They read from scripts.) Thanks to Kit Brown-Hoekstra for joining me in passing out the message of Guru D.

shannon-ditacult

Peppered throughout the presentation, were quotes from actual writers, real people, real situations, that demonstrated the struggle with changing your book-based mindset to topic-based writing. Keys to watch out for if you’re moving to DITA or Topic Based Authoring and have a scared or reluctant staff.

I think the best part was when I listed the 12 Steps to achieving DITA enlightenment. Or maybe it was How to Spot a Bookbrain. We will all have to wait for the reviews to find out.

Everyone who came to my session got a DITA Cult Member button at the end. These were one-of-a-kind buttons that I got requests for all week after they’d been spotted in the wild.

keith-ditacult

If you’ve never been to LavaCon, it should be on your list to try. LavaCon is the one traditional conference where you can do non-traditional things. Thankfully, Jack Molisani agreed to let me try an unusual presentation style to see how it worked. We had such a great time, I will try it again. After all, I can only get better, right?

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