Exciting changes for Write2Help comin’ your way!

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

I want to thank my subscribers for maintaining your subscription even though I’ve not blogged much lately. And I want to tell you what’s coming. In July of this year, I earned my Masters of Arts degree in English from Northern Arizona University. (That’s the reason I haven’t blogged much these last two years–school!) And now I’m launching my own … Read More

A Podcast about Plain Language

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

I’m no longer a podcast plebe! Click the Play button to hear my first-ever podcast. Of course, it’s about plain language (and my dog Gunther)! (If you’re previewing this post, click the post’s title to get to the podcast. Then click the Play button.)  

A Pot Roast in Plain Language: Dinner Is Served

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

In my last two posts I offered a challenge to rewrite a recipe using some plain language techniques, and then I posted my version of the revised recipe. If you’ve paid attention, you’ve noticed that the second version is longer than the first–by over 100 words! So how could rewriting something using plain language make it longer? Isn’t plain language supposed … Read More

The Pot Roast, Revisited

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Yesterday I served up a recipe and asked you to slice and dice it to remove any embedded or hidden steps, as well as the telegraphic writing style, from the instructions. Now that you’ve marinated in the process for 24 hours, it’s time to take the dish out of the oven to see what we’ve cooked up. Here is the new set of instructions. … Read More

Practice Your Procedure Writing with Pot Roast

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

I started cooking in my thirties, and I learned through trial by (actual) fire: My kitchen mistakes include several burnt dinners and one small kitchen fire. The kitchen fire was my fault, but I blame my burnt dinners on the people who write recipes. Here’s what I mean. Recipes use a certain writing style. This style is both telegraphic and … Read More

Adopt the User’s Perspective

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Rolling through Roswell, NM, I saw this ad for a local bank on a billboard: Lending Should Be Easy. We Make Sure It Is. The message contains a fundamental flaw. Can you see it? The message, which is aimed at people who might want a home loan—what the mortgage industry calls “borrowers”— says that lending should be easy. The problem? … Read More

A Task Is a Task Is a…Procedure?

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

The other day, I got to thinking about tasks and procedures. We had just remodeled our kitchen, and I was flipping through the user manual for our new dishwasher, looking for a section that walked me through the process of washing dishes from start to finish. But the user manual in my hands offered no such trajectory. Instead, I found … Read More

On Plain Language and the Death of Robin Williams

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Full disclosure: I have clinical depression. The beast came upon me shortly after puberty; medication is the only thing that keeps me well. That said, I have learned to live with my illness the way anyone who has a chronic illness does. Depression is no welcome guest, but these days, it is less foe than fellow traveler. For that, I … Read More