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https://i1.wp.com/www.plain2013.org/uploads/4/5/8/9/4589105/header_images/1352307258.jpgThis October, come and hear the straight talk from the experts!

Plain Language Association International, the international association of plain-language, document design, literacy and other advocates, will be hosting its 20th Anniversary Conference in Vancouver.

PLAIN logo

The event stands to be a must-attend: You’ll hear from  speakers from all over the world including presenters from Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand,  Belgium, Sweden, Norway, and Britain. And of course, colleagues from Canada and the U.S. (including your humble blogger …).

The conference coincides with PLAIN’s 20th anniversary and International Plain Language Day on October 13.

We have a lot to celebrate! Won’t you join us?

> Learn more on the 2013 PLAIN Conference site, or

> check out the PLAIN website to learn about our work and members.

Joy_Magic_Reading

Turns out that – while I wasn’t looking – Messages entered its fifth year! At an average thousand-plus hits a year, I’m feeling pretty good about Li’l Bloggy.

So I’m celebrating four years of blathering on with another visual that quite plainly speaks for itself, thank you.

(In case you’re not clicking through the image … this comes from a post on the facebook page of Dartmouth Learning Network., shared in a terrific local group I’m part of called Read, Damn You!)

The Rights of the Reader

By Daniel Pennac, Illust. by Quentin Blake.

The other day I came across a link to this gem of a poster. It was linked from a well-known blog I follow called The Happiness Project, which mentioned the 1992 book of the same name (which I can’t wait to get my hands on as well!).

I love its simplicity and universal appeal — whether you’re a non-, weak, online, sometime, or voracious reader, you have these rights and likely recognize some of these behaviours in yourself.

And for those of us who make our living by communicating, I see this as a simple-yet-powerful communication tool: a Ten Commandments of Truths We Must Always Remember before we prepare something that we want (or need) people to read.

If I ever manage to blog more than a few times a month, I figure I have to see how it’s really done by reading what other quite successful bloggers have put out.

Two blogs have stood out and become regular visits – probably because they also help me improve in two quite important arenas of life: stretching our dollars, and surviving gracefully as a parent.

Squawkfox

The first is Squawkfox, a very engaging read about ways to keep the ends meeting, even if we face tougher times (and heck, those with lots of extra – does anyone actually still *know* many people like that?! – will stand a better chance of keeping what they have if they live by this advice.)

Deemed as the place ‘ Where frugal living is sexy, delicious and fun!,’ this blog lives up to its name. And because she’s writing as a consumer living in Canada (Kerry K Taylor lives in Vernon, B.C.), she is writing from a similar consumer experience to mine – making the advice terribly relevant. Plus, she lives up to the phrugal philosophy by giving away several resources for free. In other words – financial literacy in action.

I have a penchant for re-using things, finding really good deals on stuff I need – and a serious hate-on for feeling like corporations are getting the better of me. So I just love reading what the Squawkfox has to say. And of course, she makes no bones about saying what’s on her mind. A woman after my own heart, but who wants to help me put more money in my wallet.

The Happiest Mom

One thing you can very often say of blogs about parenting is that they are very honest, often to the point of being in-your-face.  This to me has several merits to me. Chief among them is that many other parents who struggle with the job – but who don’t naturally express ourselves this way in writing – will find solace that others face much of the same angst about it that they do. Entire new communities and friendships are being built among moms who blog about their experiences.

So from a clarity perspective, there’s no issue. And there is a Mom Blog out there to suit every personality. But so far, I’m digging this one the most.

The Happiest Mom is actually Meagan Francis, mom herself to five kids, blogger and columnist in parenting magazines and several websites. What I like so much about her blog is not what you might expect, given its title: she doesn’t try to sugarcoat the parenting experience and portray herself as the accomplished Uber-Mom (many of us know a few of those already). In fact, quite the opposite. From the About page:

I haven’t always been a happy mom. In fact, there was a time that I was downright miserable. But through the years, I came to learn some secrets, tips and tricks that have helped me tip the scales back toward the happy side.

The other cool thing? She cuts through the shrouds of guilt and self-deprivation that tend to characterize motherhood, instead encouraging the key message that it’s taking care of ourselves that helps us to feel more balanced as parents. But not in a self-centred way. Again, she says it best:

By taking care of our health and well-being, defining our values so we can focus on the things that matter to us (and forget the rest,) nurturing our homes and relationships, and setting reasonable standards for ourselves and everyone around us, moms really can learn to enjoy life…even when it’s chaotic, loud and messy.

Amen to that, sister.

Surfing around to see who else has weighed in on how we define the people we serve as info creators, I found more to provoke our thought on this from none other than Don Norman (half of the Neilsen-Norman Group, and called “The guru of workable technology” by Newsweek): 

Words Matter. Talk About People: Not Customers, Not Consumers, Not Users

Power to the people, everybody 🙂

While we’re referencing other blogs, here’s another well-done post: Write Tight: How to Murder Your Darlings, by Writing Mommies, has excellent advice on how to keep our writing concise in order to keep your readers engaged.

LuAnn: “What’s a food product?”

Peggy: “It’s like food, only cheaper.”

King of the Hill, with more answers to life’s burning questions.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Ricky to Julian,

“Just use normal people words an’ I’ll understand what yer sayin’!”

Gotta love those ultra-logical, in-yo’-face Trailer Park Boys!

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