2011 marks the first year that advocates for clear writing can celebrate today – October 13 is now International Plain Language Day (IPLDay)!International Plain Language Day October 13

The inspiration and wizardry of longtime plain language advocates Cheryl Stephens and Kate Harrison Whiteside have sparked this first-ever IPLDay, and they’ve rallied plain language enthusiasts from across the world to hold events today.

With the rate at which people are demanding clear information – and at which businesses are responding to that demand, we’ve got a lot to celebrate. And, we expect the scale of this event to increase with each year with more cities officially proclaiming the day.

For more on IPLD and events in your area:

Here are some other ways to spend your day October 13 :

  • Sleep late.
  • Read a newspaper with your cup of coffee. Use a red pen to circle tired, trite phrases, mixed metaphors, bafflegab, and other writing offences. Submit those to the collection on LinkedIn.com/PlainLanguageAdvocates.
  • Phone the paper’s editorial offices and advise them to use plain language.
  • Send a message to a friend; review it and rewrite those parts that could be misunderstood.
  • Send another message, to many friends, and ask them to join the largest, international network of Plain Language Advocates, a LinkedIn group.
  • Select an important piece from your morning mail: a consumer contract, a bank statement, a credit card statement, something from an insurance agency or car rental company, or local gym, and actually read every word of it. Call the company and ask them to explain the meaning of each sentence that is not clear and the circumstances under which each sentence would be used.
  • Take time for lunch!
  • Call your local continuing program and ask if they have a course in plain language.
  • If anybody asks, tell them: Plain language is clear, straightforward expression, using only as many words as are necessary… It is not baby talk, nor is it a simplified version of the language. (Robert Eagleson)
  • Post your experiences on Twitter with the hashtag #iplday
  • Order a plain language writing guide online.
  • Check the procedures online and get the scoop on how to have your mayor proclaim next October 13 as International Plain Language Day. Make a note on your calendar to do it.
  • Have a nap. It has been a long day.

(Thanks to Cheryl Stephens for the above list, which also appears on her website.)