Two car seats on my back seat

There are two car seats on my back seat.

My youngest child is 16 now, and here I find myself with 2 toddler car seats on the backseat of my car.

My beautiful, late model Mazda CX-5 that I bought for myself BRAND NEW because I could. And because I deserved it.

My beautifully branded car that replaced the people mover I needed when my kids were little and I was always taxiing them and their friends around, so we needed all the seats.

Making plans

This was NOT the plan.

To have toddler car seats again—not one but two—already.

It wasn’t my dream, to be a grandmother at 40. I fought it, hard. (How’s that for a futile battle?)

If you’ve read much of my stuff you’d know that one of my hardest journeys has been parenting and that babies are not my jam.

I struggled when my kids were little. Like, STRUGGLED.

I'm going to open up a bar called "Mommin' Ain't Easy" & name the drinks "I need a shower" "Fuck Laundry" "Mom, mom, mommy, mom" "I ain't your maid" "Please stop growing" & "Why the hell is this wet?!"

And when these beautiful baby grandsons came, earlier than I had expected, it was a shock.

Adjusting our perspective

But the other day I pulled into my garage after dropping them back to their respective homes after a weekend at my house, I looked back at those 2 empty car seats, and I was proud of myself.

Resilience is not about overcoming.  It's about becoming.  ~ Shelly Davies

Proud of the grandmother I’ve become. Proud of my own parenting demons I’ve stared down. Proud of the way I’m contributing to their lives. Proud that I’ve stepped up.

And those two car seats become something I can glance back at and say to myself,

Shelly, you’re doing a good job.

Be brave.  Learn to claim our loud the stuff you're good at!  ~ Shelly Davies

It’s one of the ways I’ve learned to feel compassion for myself – for today me as well as past me. It’s one of the things I mean when I say,

Know yourself, so you can

Love yourself, and that’s how you

Have power, and

Find joy.

What I want for you

I was at a new hairdresser’s today and he asked me what I do, and I explained the rockstar writer-trainer to joyful badass keynote thing… It rolls off my tongue pretty easily these days.

But as I left I realised I could have simply said, I show people how to love themselves so they can be more powerful in their world.

Because I love me. And that feels powerful. And I want you to feel powerful, too.

How can you love yourself more today?

Know yourself, love yourself, have power, find joy.  ~ Shelly Davies

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Need a personal reminder of your worth?

I’m heading your way in November.

Grab your girls and some tickets for the Dairy Women’s Network Roadshow!

Writing for outcomes – Part 3

How to strip back your business writing

OK, so you’ve taken care of your up-front framing, and you’ve started to drill down to the clarity you need to write an amazing, fit-for-purpose document that’s gonna help you take over the universe. Now you’ve got to the real guts of it! How to strip back your business writing so that your message isn’t lost in all that wordy noise. 

Now you’re thinking:  So what do I actually write?

Why is writing so hard?

So here’s the thing. You know your stuff. And that’s both a blessing and a curse, because

  1. you know everything your reader needs to know, but
  2. YOU KNOW FAR MORE THAN YOUR READER NEEDS TO KNOW!

And you really want your reader to know all that, too. 

Which is a mistake.

Because let me be clearthe more words you use, the weaker the message.

Yes, I said it. 

The key to good writing is to write less.

The more words you use—the more text on a page, the more you think in someone’s general direction—the more likely they are to miss your point. 

Your bottom line. 

Your slap in the face. 

Or kick in the ass. 

Or pat-on-the-back (I thought I’d better add in a warm fuzzy—apparently my violent alter-ego is writing today).

Filtering through everything you know and want to say—and stripping back to only the key points—is the real challenge.

A process for stripping back

First of all, read and follow the steps I gave you in part 1. Then part 2.
There’s stuff in there you need to produce before you follow this process.

Once you’ve nailed that, do this:

1 – DUMP: get that shit out of your head. Brain dump.  Sketch, purge, free-write, list, use post-its. Do whatever you need to do, to get your thinking outside of your head. Because outside is where you can work with it.

2 – CHUNK: take that messy dump and group it together into chunks of related info. (If you wanna feel really cool, call this a thematic analysis.)

3 – LABEL: describe each of those chunks of info. But don’t use one-word labels.  Describe the chunk, like ‘How we got here’, ‘What we found’, ‘How we can fix the problem’. These will become your headings. And your readers will L O V E them!

4 – FILTER: using the purpose and the primary reader you identified in part 2, look at each beautifully labelled chunk and ask Does my reader need to know THIS for my document to achieve its purpose? Now here’s the gold (I love this. I’m excited. Can you tell?). If your answer is:

  • Yes – put it in! (Yuss!)
  • No – leave it out. (Duh!)
  • Maybe/I’m not sure/Some readers need it. Then either mention it, summarise it, point the reader to where they can find it outside of the document, or push it to the appendices. When in doubt, go to the appendix. It’s like magic. All the evidence that you know your stuff and you’ve done a shitload of work and you’re worth your weight in gold, without losing your reader.

5 – ORDER: look at the chunks you have left and put them in order based on what’s most important to YOUR READER.

A document is successful if it works for the reader - Shelly Davies

Now you have a plan

Some people might call it an outline. 

But that sends way too many of us back into PTSD-like flashbacks from our university days. 

So let’s just call it a plan. A map, maybe.

That plan means you can now write. With ease and clarity. Without second-guessing yourself and angsting over what to say or what not to say. 

It means you can write fast and that’s good on every level (read here for how good writing saves money).

Your extra set of steak knives

My favourite thing about this process is this: It gives you confidence!

It’s one of the most common comments I get from participants in my trainings:

I feel confident now. I know what I’m doing. I can relax. 

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about. 

Now write!

Hey! Don’t forget to grab your free process infographic!

Access For All: Plain Language is a Civil Right

An unmissable global virtual conference

If you, like me, believe plain language and accessible information is a civil right, and you have the internet, then this virtual event is for you no matter where you are on the globe.

This is the first time that PLAINClarity, and The Centre For Plain Language have joined forces to bring together one amazing global event: Access for all.

These are my peeps guys!

Everything I know, I know from them! And this is THE GATHERING of plain language pioneers and warriors from around the world.

Did I mention it’s timezone friendly?

Each day you’ll see 4 hours broadcast LIVE (like TV not zoom, and recorded so you can watch EVERY TALK, anytime), and ongoing discussions around the clock so you can interact no matter your timezone.

Check out the amazing ways they’re meeting our viewer needs:

  • Every talk/keynote is recorded live both BEFORE and AFTER the event
  • Every live session starts with an online discussion, which, as everyone wakes up in their various time zones, will Just.  Keep.  Going.
  • An unparalleled mix of pre-recorded, and LIVE content with interactive LIVE discussions with keynotes and speakers
  • Every talk/keynote will be available online to attendees until 30 April 2021

Crazy, right?! That’s access to MONTHS worth of #PlainLanguage training and resources for your company!

Access For All is an investment for your team/company

With everything going on in the world today, we need to stop allowing access to information to be something that’s impacted by privilege.  

If you’ve EVER complained about bad documents, forms, notices, legislation, or comms, now is the time to influence change in your organisation.

Hear and engage with a wide range of perspectives on plain language across industries and disciplines. No matter what your work and specialty, there’s something for you, including:

  • our responsibility to ensure access for all
  • Using plain language to improve the criminal justice system
  • Using plain language to protect the rights of vulnerable populations
  • Celebrating when plain language succeeds
  • An international case study: using plain language to affect the outcome of the health crisis COVID-19

Check out all the incredible keynote speakers and presenters!

Ok, so obviously I’m excited!

But what’s really exciting (yes, even more exciting than me being a keynote!), is this global opportunity we have to create necessary, life-changing systems, where we all simply #writelikeahuman and change the world!

Join me?

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The fine print (details and social links)